User Tip #1

You can access Webmineral's extensive mineral help files by clicking on this () icon on the mineral species pages. 

When this icon appears, they link directly to the particular topic (eg. Help on  Dana Class: Dana Class:).


Factoid #2

The Mineralogical Society of American (MSA) was founded in 1919. "Membership in the Society is open to any person interested in mineralogy and related sciences regardless of residence or citizenship." If you are interested in joining,  just follow the instructions on this link.


User Tip #3

Many short-cut features are offered on alphabetical (A to Z) index of mineral species.

This: Sound files Icon links a pronunciation example (.WAV file) of the mineral name courtesy of The Photo-Atlas of Minerals. Most mineral entries have a sound file.


User Tip #4

Many short-cut features are offered on alphabetical (A to Z) index of mineral species.

This: Java Crystal Forms Icon links a Java crystal form for the mineral, created with the program JCrystal, which can be manipulated and rotated.


User Tip #5

Many short-cut features are offered on alphabetical (A to Z) index of mineral species.

This: Image files Icon links a copyright  image or picture of the mineral in the database which may be viewed.

This: Gallery of Images Icon links to a picture gallery of images for that particular mineral. The full listing of mineral images is accessed from this link.


Factoid #6

Sulfur, a common industrial chemical, is produced as a by-product from the desulfurization of petroleum products such as crude oils or natural gas.

The mining of primary sulfur deposits is no longer the most important source of this element.


Factoid #7

The 4 largest mineral shows in the world are:
Tucson Gem & Mineral
Mineralientage Mnchen
Sainte-Marie aux Mines
Denver Gem & Mineral
Thousands of mineral collectors visit these shows and numerous local mineral shows to purchase mineral specimens.


User Tip #8

Webmineral can be machine translated into many different languages (eg. Spanish, German, French, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) using the links on this index page. Translation services provided by Babel Fish and InterTran.


Factoid #9

Gladstone-Dale Relationship

The relationship between chemical composition, density, and refractive index was proposed as a means of examining gasses and solutions (Gladstone, Dale(1863), Phil. Trans, 153, 317).  This relationship is as follows:

(n - 1) / D = constant 

    n = mean index of refraction
    D = density
    constant = Gladstone-Dale constant

Mandarino, in his review of the Gladstone-Dale relationship in minerals (Can, Min, (1981), Vol 19, pp 441-450) proposed the concept of the Compatibility Index in comparing the physical and optical properties of minerals. This compatibility index is a required calculation for approval as a new mineral species (see IMA guidelines).


Factoid #10

All hard (Mohs > 4), non-conductive minerals that lack a crystallographic center-of-symmetry exhibit the property of piezoelectricity.

This property is responsible for quartz oscillator crystals, navel sonar, and barbeque flame igniters. 


Search Tip #11

For the best results when searching for chemical elements using Webmineral's search engine, follow these rules:

1. Use element names and not compound names (eg. sulfur not sulfate, carbon not carbonate).

2. Do not use the elemental symbols (eg. Na, Ca, etc) because they give false positive hits.


Factoid #12

At last count, Webmineral has identified at least 85 minerals named after women.

See the help files on "Name Origins" for this listing and other interesting facts on the origins of mineral names.


Factoid #13

New minerals are discovered at the rate of about 60 per year.

This number represents those new minerals which have survived the IMA process created for the approval of  mineral names. See the 2007 list, 2008 list, or 2009 list.


Factoid #14

Need a quick and easy mineral label for your collection? Go to the species page for the mineral of interest. Scroll down to the "See Also" section and print the label which has been already filled out with necessary data. Spaces have been added to fill out additional data for location and remarks.


Factoid #15

Aluminum metal was so hard to refine from it's ores that Emperor Napoleon III of France reserved the use of aluminum cutlery for state banquets; thereby, relegating gold and silver forks and spoons to his lesser guests.

The invention of the Hall-Héroult process (1886) of electrolytic decomposition to elemental aluminum effectively replaced the expensive Wöhler process. This eliminated the metal as a rare commodity.

On December 6, 1884 the largest aluminum casting in the world (at that time) was affixed to the apex of the Washington Monument in Washington DC


Factoid #16

Silicon metal used in the semiconductor industry is purified to 99.9999999%. This impurity level is equivalent to 100 parts per billion (1x10-7).

Using this ultra pure material, single silicon crystals up to 18 inches in diameter are grown. Slices of this starting material form the substrate on which CPU cores are fabricated.


User Tip #17

The mineral specimen image library on Webmineral contains pictures of over 3,700 different species.

This represents 78% of all known minerals and is the most comprehensive image library on the web. The image library can be viewed by alphabetical listing or by copyright holder of the images.


Factoid #18

All the gold mined in the past 6,000 years in the whole world would fit inside a baseball diamond (84'x84'x84') or (25.6m,25.6m,25.6m)and would weigh 145,000 metric tonnes.

This of amount of gold could make 3,836,043,358.8 one troy ounce gold coins if the gold was 24 karat pure.


User Tip #19

Need copies of's data on a CD-ROM? The Photographic Guide to Mineral Species - 2nd Edition contains all pages of species data along with thousands of common, rare, and unusual mineral pictures.


Factoid #20

What do the minerals Aegirine, Neptunite, Quetzalcoatlite, and Watatsumiite all have in common?

Answer, in order, they were all named after sea gods (Teutonic, Roman, Toltec, Japanese).


User Tip #21

Many short-cut features are offered on alphabetical (A to Z) index of mineral species.

This: American Mineralogist Structure Files Icon links to a sample of the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database files that have been converted to web display files by jPOWD for viewing a mineral's crystal structure. The full listing of mineral structures is accessed from this link.


Factoid #20 uses a reverse chemical analysis method to calculate the chemical composition of each element.

The chemical composition of each mineral is calculated by taking the published empirical formula to deconstruct the elemental composition. The derived analysis is compared to the published values to insure the empirical formula is correct and the elemental valences match the published values. This reverse look-up has spotted errors in 5% of all published data.


Factoid #21

Violent mergers of neutron stars in binary solar systems likely are the main sources of the heaviest chemical elements in the universe.

In detailed numerical simulations, the ejected matter from  merging neutron stars provides ideal conditions for the relevant reactions of atomic nuclei to take place, producing the heaviest elements in the correct abundances. From

On top of all this, we have the Late Heavy Bombardment, a period of time approximately 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago (Ga), during which a large number of asteroids and icy comets impacted Earth.  It is this event that added significant amounts of r-process-derived heavy elements to the Earth's crust and, probably, the Earth's oceans.

It looks like we owe the lead in our car batteries and gold rings on our fingers to:
1. Neutron star mergers that took place long before our solar system was formed.
2. Fortuitous addition of these elements to the heavily depleted crust left over after these elements migrated to the Earth's iron core.