Mineral Identification Resources

Lindsay Christensen
Club Geologist

Here are some resources to help you in developing your mineral identification skills:

Mineral Identification Kit
1. copper penny (minted before 1982)
2. glass scratch plate
3. small quartz crystal
4. streak plate of white unglazed porcelain for minerals with a dark streak
5. streak plate of black unglazed porcelain for minerals with a white or light streak
6. pocket knife or nail
7. magnet
8. hand lens or magnifying glass
9. dropper bottle of hydrochloric (muriatic) acid for testing carbonate minerals–vinegar works too, but the reaction is not as pronounced.

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Suppliers of Mineral Testing Equipment
Ward’s Natural Science
Miners, Incorporated
Amazon.com–various suppliers listed under Industrial and Scientific

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Introductory Books
Minerals: Identifying, Classifying and Collecting Them, Rupert Hochleitner,
A Barron’s Nature Guide. An excellent guide to identification, minerals are grouped by two of their physical properties: streak and hardness.
Rock and Gem, Ronald Louis Bonewitz, A Smithsonian Book. Great photographs.
Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Rocks and Minerals, Edited by Martin Prinz, George Harlow, & Joseph Peters

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Advanced Books
Mineral Identification: A Practical Guide for the Amateur Mineralogist, Donald B. Peck. Published by the Mineralogical Record, can be ordered online at MineralogicalRecord.com. Goes beyond basic physical properties into crystalography, chemical analysis and optical mineralogy. Includes instructions on how to make your own mineral identification instruments and comes with mineral identification software on CD.
Manual of Mineralogy (after Jame D. Dana), Cornelius S. Hurlbut, Jr. and Cornelis Klein. John Wiley & Sons. A standard mineralogy text. My copy is the 19th edition used in my mineralogy class thirty years ago.
Dana’s System of Mineralogy, Sixth Edition by Edward Salisbury Dana, John Wiley & Sons, 1898. The classic mineralogy reference. My copy is from 1914 and is marked with notes and scribblings from the previous owners.

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