Where are minerals used

Mineral - Minerals - Minerals

Mineralogy is the study of the origin and use of minerals. While the term minerals is common in the scientific context, the term minerals is used colloquially.

Definition mineral

The term mineral (plural minerals or minerals) summarizes solids with a uniform material composition that have arisen naturally.

The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) deals with the registration of all minerals occurring worldwide. According to the IMA, there are currently over 5400 different minerals.

Mineral and rock

Minerals and rocks are often used as synonyms. In fact, there is an essential difference between the two terms insofar as rocks are aggregates of minerals - i.e., the The building blocks of rocks are minerals.

Based on the mineral components of rocks, rocks are in monomineral and polymineral rocks differentiated, While monomineral rocks such as quartzite, sandstone or marble are mainly composed of one mineral, a multitude of different minerals are present in polymineral rocks such as lapis lazuli, granite, gneiss or larvikite.

In addition, in the case of rocks, the absolute amount of minerals in the rock is considered, so that the following is differentiated:

  • Main issues: predominant part of minerals
  • Side effects: up to 5% involved in the composition of the rock
  • Accessories: less than 1% present

Minerals - Precious Stones - Semi-Precious Stones - Gemstones

Above all in trade, one comes across the terms precious stone, semi-precious stone and gemstone.

The term gemstone is understood to mean minerals that are characterized by the following characteristics:

The criteria Mohs hardness and rarity can be clearly identified or can be determined via the number of occurrences of a mineral. When it comes to the beauty of minerals in the sense of precious stones, the Color, purity and the shine considered. Is the color evenly distributed or does it look spotty? Has color correction or intensification been made? Is the color of a mineral natural or the result of a treatment? Is the mineral flawless? Do inclusions of gases, liquids or other minerals disturb the transparency? All of these factors flow into the valuation of gemstones and not only determine the price of a gemstone, but also how it is used. Only high quality stones are processed into jewelry or offered as an investment. Poor quality stones are used for other purposes (e.g. industrial minerals).

The list of gemstones is long; The most famous gemstones include diamond, corundum (ruby, sapphire, leukospahir), spinel, topaz, alexandrite, musgravite, heliodor, morganite, bixbit, painite, goshenite, phenakite, aquamarine, cordierite, chrysoberyl and danburite.

All other minerals that do not meet the criteria of the gemstone definition were called semi-precious stones in the past. Due to the depreciating image of the term semi-precious stone Non-precious stones nowadays as gem stones titled. A term that nevertheless causes confusion; Gemstones set in jewelry are also referred to as gemstones.

Minerals and minerals

In common parlance, the name minerals is understood to mean inorganic nutrients which have to be supplied through food and / or food supplements because the human body cannot produce them itself and which are of great importance for human health.

The correct term would be minerals, which include iron, selenium, iodine, copper, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and sulfur.

Properties of minerals

The properties of minerals are an essential prerequisite for the determination of minerals. With some minerals, the shape of the crystals and their color is unique and obvious (e.g. cavansite, amethyst, vanadinite) that identification is easy. Other minerals look so similar - especially as coarse masses, e.g. rose quartz and morganite, aquamarine and blue topaz - that it is necessary to consider the mineral-typical properties for the determination.

property description
colour colorless, white, yellow, orange, red, pink, violet, blue, green, turquoise, brown, gray, black, mixed
Line color white or colored
shine glass-like, greasy, diamonds, matt, metallic, silky, mother-of-pearl, waxy
transparency transparent, opaque / opaque, translucent
fracture Shell-like, uneven, smooth, earthy, splintery, fibrous, hooked
Cleavage very perfect, perfect, good, clear, not fissile
Mohs hardness 1 to 10
density very easy to very difficult
Tenacity brittle, mild, cuttable, pliable, elastic / inelastic, pliable
composition chemical formula / classification of minerals
fluorescence available, unavailable
Pleochroism not available / available
radioactivity available, unavailable

The test is carried out by means of observation (determination of gloss, color, transparency, cleavage, breakage); In the case of other properties, the use of utensils is necessary to determine the flame color, the behavior in the flame, acids and alkalis, the line color on the marking board. In addition, the Mohs scale, UV lamps, hydrostatic scales, microscopes, magnets and Geiger counters are used to determine minerals.

Minerals - Our recommendations *

The formation of minerals

Minerals are divided into primary and secondary minerals according to their origin.

Primary minerals are minerals that crystallize from igneous solutions and are among the first minerals to be formed.

Secondary minerals are minerals that result from the weathering or metamorphosis of primary minerals.

Accordingly, minerals are further subdivided according to their origin into igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary minerals.

Rare minerals

Not all minerals are found worldwide. The minerals tanzanite, merelaniite, putnisite, painite, ichnusaite, minguzzite, charoite and larimar, for example, are only found in one place around the world.

In some cases, however, the yield or the amount of crystals is high enough that mining is profitable. The stones are still very rare compared to others and are sold at high prices, with the minerals musgravite, jeremejevite, poudretteite and serendibite being among the particularly exquisite specimens.

Other mineral rarities are of great scientific importance (e.g. Nevadite).

Common minerals

With a share of over 50%, the minerals of the feldspar group (including orthoclase, microcline, sanidine, adulara, moonstone, amazonite, albite, anorthite, oligoclase, labradorite, andesine and bytownite) are the most common minerals worldwide.

Followed by the representatives of quartz (including rock crystal, amethyst, citrine, tiger's eye, prasem, opal, agate, smoky quartz, milk quartz and rose quartz).

Expensive minerals

The price of minerals is often associated with the predicate gemstone. A calcite will never achieve the monetary value of a diamond - even if, in direct comparison, a calcite crystal may weigh many times more carats (1 carat = 0.2 g) on ​​the fine balance.

Added to this is the rarity factor. Rare gemstones are sold at astronomical prices and are definitely an interesting investment for the future. Due to the clarity of the mining sites and the finite nature of resources, the price of certain minerals increases with increasing scarcity.

An example of this are tanzanites, which are only mined in the Merelani Hills in Tanzania. The heyday of the intensely blue stones is over and experts reckon that the supplies will be exhausted in the next 20 years.

It is similar with fancy diamonds. Colored diamonds. Colored diamonds are a rarity with a share of 0.1% of the total output of all diamonds. Of this proportion, in turn, 80% of all colored diamonds are yellow and brown diamonds. Red, pink, blue, green, and purple diamonds are some of the rarest diamonds. The majority of pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine in Australia, which will cease operations in 2019 due to depletion of resources.

Also interesting:
⇒ Gemstones and minerals as an investment
⇒ Hildegard von Bingen and the healing stones
⇒ The quality of minerals and precious stones: A, AA and AAA

⇒ Bauer, J .; Tvrz, F. (1993): The Cosmos Mineral Guide. Minerals rocks precious stones. An identification book with 576 color photos. Gondrom Verlag GmbH Bindlach
⇒ Medenbach, O .; Sussieck-Fornefeld, C .; Steinbach, G. (1996): Steinbach's natural guide minerals. 223 species descriptions, 362 color photos, 250 drawings and 30 pages of identification tables. Mosaik Verlag Munich
⇒ Pellant, C. (1994): Stones and Minerals. Ravensburger nature guide. Ravensburger Buchverlag Otto Maier GmbH
⇒ Schumann, W. (1991): Minerals rocks - characteristics, occurrence and use. FSVO nature guide. BLV Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Munich
⇒ Schumann, W. (1992): Precious and precious stones: all precious and precious stones in the world; 1500 unique pieces. BLV determination book, BLV Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Munich
- http://nrmima.nrm.se - The New IMA List of Minerals - A Work in Progress - Updated: September 2018

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Last updated: February 16, 2021

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