Rock Picking

Sep 12, 2016 | Rock collecting

The Process of Picking Stones

We are so fortunate that our business is located near Spokane.  A quick four hour road trip east lands us in western Montana where our Montana River Rainbow rock is quarried and selected for engraving.  With some of the most alluring colors and variety Montana River Rainbow stone is a rock engravers best choice and most suitable for creating your engraved keepsake.

Lake McDonald, MT

Lake McDonald, MT


The picture (left) is one of the best for featuring the magnificent color variation found in the river rock we select.  While we don’t pull rocks from the lakes or rivers, the stones we select are from a stone quarry near Polson, Montana, and just as beautiful as those found in Montana’s fabulous scenic waterways. While rock picking is a very laborious process it is also rewarding and fun for us.  While theoretically it is travel for business, it is really more like vacation for Linda and I to get out of the office\shop in search of the perfect stones for engraving.  Typically, the trip is made two to three times a year with around two tons of rock in tow back to our shop in Spokane.  The sheer beauty of the Mission Mountain back drop and the gateway to the Bob Marshal Wilderness area makes it a trip we look forward to every time we need more river rock for engraving.



Collecting rock is not for the faint of heart, and it normally ends up with one of use smashing a finger or toe as we sift through the pile of stones in search of those destined to become the perfect memorial or keepsake.  After four to five hours of hard work we are normally loaded and ready to head back west with our new found gems to their new temporary home.



We look for beautiful colors, with a smooth surface area for engraving while selecting stones which can be a bit of a challenge given many look uniform in color and dusty as they lie in the quarry.  However, once they are cleaned up the true beauty that lies beneath is quickly revealed illustrating the full potential of each stone (see below).




Beyond engraving river stones we also engrave granite and to a lesser extent flagstone for special occasions.  Our selection process for that process will be the subject of the next blog.

Jeff Greene,

Rock Carver

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