Mineral Search

Try to use several independent descriptive words, since "very heavy" will also match "heavy" and "very soft". Also, don't use negatives (such as "not transparent"). A Glossary of Terms below which describes the consistent set of terms used in this mineral database, and offers suggestions for effective searching.

Enter your keywords, followed by the Enter key.

Search Hints & Glossary of Terms

How the Mineral Full Text Search works:

The search program takes the list of words and retrieves the HTML documents that contain any of the words in the list. There are no logical operators such as AND or OR or NOT. Documents are assigned a value based upon
  1. How many times the words appear in the document.
  2. How frequently the words occur (words that only appear in a few documents are more valuable).
  3. Capitalized phrases (such as Calcium Carbonate) are also compared as matching word pairs and are assigned a high value.
All words do not need to match, but more matches result in a higher score. At most 40 documents are retrieved.

Search Hints

Use our descriptive words (see below) such as vitreous or perfect (meaning vitreous luster or perfect cleavage)
Use capitalized word pairs when possible and applicable (such as Elmwood, Tennessee).
Words that appear in all mineral descriptions (such as luster or cleavage) are useless, except when used as capitalized word pairs (Botryoidal Habit).
At present, phrases with numeric values do not work well (such as "hardness 6"), and ranges do not work at all. We hope to improve this behavior in the future.

Glossary of Terms

This section describes the various mineral terms as we use them in the Physical Characteristics section of each mineral description. Using our definitions will improve searching success!
Luster
silky
greasy
vitreous
pearly
metallic
dull
Transparency
opaque
translucent
transparent
Crystal System
monoclinic
cubic
tetragonal
orthorhombic
triclinic
trigonal
hexagonal
Crystal Habits
any of the following may be curved or distorted
prismatic
dendritic
acicular
tabular
botryoidal
mammilary
granular
massive
Cleavage
perfect
distinct
indistinct
absent
Fracture
uneven
conchoidal
hackly
splintery
Hardness
1 - Talc
2 - Gypsum
3 - Calcite
4 - Fluorite
5 - Apatite
6 - Orthoclase
7 - Quartz
8 - Topaz
9 - Corundum
10 - Diamond
Specific Gravity
light
average
heavy
very heavy

OTHER:

  • It may help to name associated minerals such as quartz or pyrite
  • It may help to identify the host rock, such as pegmatite or schist
  • It may help to identify where it was found or mined, such as North Carolina
  • It may help to list any likely elements in the chemical name, such as lithium or sulfide (possibly guessed from density or associations)
  • Do not name negatives ("no cleavage") - it doesn't work
  • Do name any known unusual characteristics, such as "radioactive" or "fluorescent"

EXAMPLES:

  • yellow orthorhombic transparent prismatic
  • silky translucent botryoidal green
  • metallic blue sulfide
  • radioactive opaque green
  • heavy red hexagonal North Carolina
Classes of Minerals
CARBONATES
ELEMENTS
GEMSTONES
HALIDES
MINERALOIDS
OXIDES
PHOSPHATES
SILICATES
SULFATES
SULFIDES
 

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