One of the most common questions when it comes to mineral and crystal collecting is, "where do I even begin?" This is why we've decided to outline a few basic, must-have, and necessary minerals along with their mineral families in order to help you begin your rockin' collection!
The Silicate Family
Not only is quartz made up of the most abundant elements on Earth, which makes it easy to find in just about any part of the world, but it is also one of the most diverse mineral families! There are over 50 different known quartz variations. Quartz is a must-have to any mineral collection. It's durable (harder than glass), aesthetically pleasing (can be druzy or have perfect crystal structure), and it is also one of the most utilized minerals in society!
Below are some of the most common quartz variations:
Amethyst- The purple variety of quartz. It receives it's striking hues from levels of irradiation and iron impurities.
Aventurine - The green variety of quartz. It receives it's green sheen from inclusions of muscovite mica.
Citrine- The orange to yellow variety of quartz. It receives it's range of orange hues from levels of irradiation and aluminium.
Rose Quartz- The pink variety of quartz. It receives it's dainty pink tone from microscopic inclusions of pink dumortierite and other mineral inclusions.
Smokey Quartz- The smokey gray to black variety of quartz. It receives it's dark hues from levels of irradiation and aluminium.
The Feldspar Family
Feldspar is a quirky yet quintessential addition to any mineral collection, whether novice or a seasoned collector. Because of the way feldspar forms, it often has a recognizable vitreous sheen. It also makes up 50% of the Earth's crust, and can be found in a variety of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks!
Below are some of the most common feldspar variations:
Labradorite- The most colorful variety of feldspar. The play of light and color produced by this feldspar variety is known as labradorescence, due to inter-grown layers of albite and plagioclase. When light enters these inter-grown layers, it produces a spectrum of colors and patterns.
Moonstone- The white variety of feldspar that forms microscopic layers of feldspar, that produce a light effect known as "adularesence". This occurs when light passes through the layers of feldspar.
Sunstone- This peachy orange variety of feldspar receives it's shimmer, known as "aventurescence" from flakes of hematite, copper, and mica that have been included within the feldspar.
Amazonite- The light green variety of microcline feldspar that receives it's color from trace amounts of lead. Is often found growing alongside smokey quartz.
The Copper Family
Copper doubles as an essential element and resourceful mineral! In the U.S., Arizona is known as the largest national producer of this native element. Because of it's ability to conduct electricity, copper is one of the most commonly mined minerals. Copper deposits rely on a wide range of variables, thus allowing for a variety of copper based minerals to form. There are over 160 known copper-bearing minerals!
Below are some of the most common copper mineral variations:
Chalcopyrite-An ore of copper that gives off a brassy-yellow metallic luster. Can be treated with acid to give it more of a rainbow hue.
Turquoise- A hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum, often with iron inclusions. It's known for it's striking hues and implementation in jewelry.
Malachite- A copper carbonate known for its dramatic green hues and striking bands and patterns. Can be ground to a powder to make pigment, and is not light sensitive.
Azurite- A copper carbonate, similar to malachite and often found growing with it. The finest azurite specimens are characterized by perfect crystallization.
Chrysocolla- A copper phyllosilicate. It's hardness is determined by how much silica is present within the mineral. It's similar to turquoise with it's teal hues.
This is just a small yet comprehensive list of the most common and easily available minerals that are a must-have to any mineral or crystal collection!