Mineral Identification Guides
How to Identify Minerals
First steps in learning to identify minerals.
Identification Key for the Rock-Forming Minerals
Quick identification table for the minerals that form the majority of rocks.
The Acid Test
The definitive field test for limestone and dolomite.
The various forms that minerals take in rocks.
Mineral Hardness: The Mohs Scale
A key attribute of minerals is their hardness. This is the standard hardness scale.
The Mohs Hardness of Coins
Experiments with using coins in your Mohs hardness kit.
Gallery of this key attribute of minerals: how they reflect light.
About this simple but effective field technique for mineral identification.
Common and significant black minerals.
Blue and Purple Minerals
The most common and significant ones.
Common and significant brown minerals.
Common and significant green minerals.
Common and significant minerals with metallic luster.
Red and Pink Minerals
Common and significant red and pink minerals.
Common and significant yellow minerals.
Minerals that form during the consolidation of a rock from sediment.
Minerals that form by precipitation out of concentrated solutions.
Hydrothermal Vein Minerals
Minerals formed during injection of deep hot fluids and pegmatite formation.
Minerals forming in solid rocks under prolonged heat and pressure.
Minerals that form during the solidification of a melt.
mindat.org Mineralogy Database
The best site on the Web for finding data on, localities for and pictures of minerals. The quizzes are difficult, though.
Mineral Identification for Kids
Sponsored by the Mineralogical Society of America, mineralogy4kids.org covers the most common rock-forming minerals in a way that's easy for grownups as well as kids. Start at "Mineral Properties."
Advanced Mineral Key
This key, hosted by the Mineralogical Society of America, goes deeper than most.
Mineral Identification Project
This easy-to-use site, by Hugh Danaher, will take you a long way toward naming any of about 300 minerals. Just make a few observations and enter them into the form.
GeoMan's Mineral ID Tests
GeoMan is Oregon geology instructor Mike Strickler. His site is uniquely useful in dividing the world of minerals into hardness classes based on the fingernail, the penny, glass or steel, and quartz.
Steven Dutch of the University of Wisconsin focuses on the most important criteria and the most likely minerals. His watchword is "when you see hoof prints, think horses, not zebras." An excellent set of rules of thumb.
Quick Assays in Mineral Identification
Prof. Walter Franke of the Freie Universität Berlin produced this thorough guide (PDF) to something they don't teach at college any more: quick tests of minerals using blowpipe and simple chemistry-lab supplies.