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Mineral Name Origin and Classification

 

Mineral Name

Name Origin

Class

Acanthite

Greek “akantha” = thorn

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Acmite

Greek “akme" = point

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Actinolite

Greek “aktinos” = ray

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Adamite

Gilbert-Joseph Adam (1795-1881), mineralogist

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Albite

Latin “albus” = white

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Almandine Garnet

Albanda, town in ancient Asia Minor

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Amblygonite

Greek “amblygonios” = blunt angle

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Analcime

Greek “an” = not + “alkimos” = strong

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Andalusite

Andalusia, a Spanish province

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Andesine

Source at Andes Mountains

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Andradite Garnet

J. B. de Andrada e Silva (1763-1838), geologist

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Anglesite

Source at Isle of Anglesey, Wales

Sulfates

Anhydrite

Greek, means “without water”

Sulfates

Anorthite

Greek “an” = not + “orthos” = upright

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Antimony

Medieval Latin “antimonium” = stibnite

Native Elements

Apatite

Greek “apate” = deceit

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Apophyllite

Greek “apo” = off + “phyllon" = leaf

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Aragonite

Source at Aragon Province, Spain

Carbonates

Arsenopyrite

Contraction of “arsenical pyrites”

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Augite

Greek “augites” = brightness

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Aurichalcite

Greek “oreichalkon” = copper

Carbonates

Austinite

Austin F. Rogers (1877-1957), mineralogist

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Autunite

Source at Autun, Saône-et-Loire, France

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Axinite

Greek “axine” = ax

Cyclosilicates (Ring Silicates)

Azurite

Azure-blue color

Carbonates

Babingtonite

William Babington (1757-1833), mineralogist

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Barite

Greek “barys” = heavy

Sulfates

Bauxite

Source at Baux, France

Hydroxides

Benitoite

Source at San Benito Co., California

Cyclosilicates (Ring Silicates)

Beryl

Greek “beryllos” = green gemstone

Cyclosilicates (Ring Silicates)

Biotite

J. B. Biot (1774-1862), physicist, etc.

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Bismuth

German “wismut” = bismuth

Native Elements

Bismuthanite

Bismuth content

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Bixbyite

Maynard Bixby

Simple Oxides

Borax

Arabic “buraq” = borax or niter

Bornites

Bornite

Ignaz von Born (1742-1791), mineralogist

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Boulangerite

C. L. Boulanger (1810-1849), mining engineer

Sulfosalts

Bournonite

Count J. L. de Bournon (1751-1825), chrystallographer

Sulfosalts

Brochantite

A. T. M. Brochant de Villiers (1731-1840), mineralogist

Sulfates

Brucite

Archibald Bruce (1777-1818), mineralogist

Hydroxides

Bytownite

Source at Bytown, now Ottawa, Canada

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Calaverite

Source at Calavaras Co., California

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Calcite

Greek “chalx” = lime

Carbonates

Carnotite

Marie-Adolfe Carnot (1839-1920), engineer and chemist

Vanadium Oxysalts

Cassiterite

Greek “kassiteros” = tin

Simple Oxides

Celestite

Latin “Caelestis” = of the sky

Sulfates

Cerussite

Latin “cerussa” = ceruse (white lead pigment)

Carbonates

Chabazite

Greek “chabazios” = stones

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Chalcanthite

Greek “chalcos” = copper + “anthos” = flower

Sulfates

Chalcedony

Chalcedon, ancient Greek city

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Chalcocite

Greek “chalcos” = copper

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Chalcopyrite

Greek “chalcos” = copper + “pyrites” = fury

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Chlorargyrite

Chlorine content + Greek “argyros” = silver

Halite

Chlorite

Greek “chloros” = green

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Chondrodite

Greek “chondros” = grain

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Chromite

Chromium content

Multiple Oxides

Chrysoberyl

Greek “chrysos” = yellow + “beryllos” = beryl

Multiple Oxides

Chrysocolla

Greek “chrysos” = gold + “kolla" = glue

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Cinnabar

India?

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Clinozoisite

Greek “klinein” = to incline + English “zoisite”

Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)

Cobaltite

German “Kolbold” = underground spirit

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Colemanite

William T. Coleman, merchant & mine owner

Bornites

Columbite

Columbium (niobium) content

Multiple Oxides

Conichalcite

Greek “konis” = powder + “chalx” = lime

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Cordierite

P. L. A. Cordier (1777-1861), geologist

Cyclosilicates (Ring Silicates)

Corundum

Tamil “kuruntam” from Sanskrit “kuruvinda” = ruby

Simple Oxides

Covellite

Niccolò Covelli (1790-18290, mineralogist

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Crocoite

Greek “krokos” = saffron

Chromates

Cryolite

Greek “kryos” = frost + “lithos” = stone

Halite

Cuprite

Latin “cuprum” = copper

Simple Oxides

Cyanotrichite

Greek “kyanos” = blue + “thrix” = hair

Sulfates

Danburite

Source at Danbury, Connecticut

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Datolite

Greek “dateisthai” = to divide

Silicates of Complex Structure

Descloizite

Alfred L. O. L. Des Cloizeau (1817-1897), mineralogist

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Diopside

Greek “di” = two + “opisis” = appearance

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Dolomite

Deodat de Dolomieu (1750-1801), mineralogist

Carbonates

Dumortierite

Eugene Dumortier, paleontologist

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Enargite

Greek “enargos” = visible

Sulfosalts

Epidote

Greek “epi” = over + “didonai” = to give

Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)

Epsomite

Source at Epsom, England

Sulfates

Erythrite

Greek “erythros” = red

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Fluorite

Latin “fluere” = to flow

Halite

Franklinite

Source at Franklin and Sterling Hill, Sussex Co., NJ

Multiple Oxides

Galena

Latin “galena” = lead ore

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Glauberite

Johann Rudolf Glauber (1604-1668), chemist

Sulfates

Glaucophane

Greek “glaukos” = bluish gray + “phainelein” = to appear

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Goethite

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), poet, etc.

Hydroxides

Gold

Anglo-Saxon

Native Elements

Graphite

Greek “graphein” = to write

Native Elements

Grossular Garnet

Latin “grossularia” = gooseberry

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Gummite

From ‘gum-like’ properties?

Simple Oxides

Gypsum

Greek “gypsos” = gypsum or plaster

Sulfates

Halite

Greek “hals” = salt

Halite

Hedenbergite

Ludwig Hedenberg, chemist

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Hematite

Greek “haimatites” = bloodlike

Simple Oxides

Hemimorphite

Greek “hemi” = half + “morphe” = form

Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)

Heulandite

Henry Heuland, mineralogist

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Hornblende

German “horn” = horn-colored + “blenden” = to deceive

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Howlite

Henry How (?-1879), chemist

Bornites

Hypersthene

Greek “hyper” = over + “sthenos” = strength

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Ilmenite

Source at Ilman Mts., USSR

Simple Oxides

Inesite

Greek “ines” = fibers

Silicates of Complex Structure

Jadeite

Spanish “piedra de ijada” = stone of the side

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Jamesonite

Robert Jameson (1774-1854)

Sulfosalts

Jarosite

Source at Jaroso Ravine, Sierra Almagrera, Spain

Sulfates

Kaolinite

Source at Kaoling, a Chinese mountain

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Kernite

Source at Kern Co., California

Bornites

Kyanite

Greek “kyanos” = dark blue

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Labradorite

Source at Labrador

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Laumontite

Gillette de Laumont (1747-1834), mineralogist

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Lawsonite

Professor Andrew C. Lawson (1861-1952)

Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)

Lazulite

Old Arabic “lazaward” = heaven

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Lazurite

Arabic “lazaward” = heaven

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Legrandite

Legrand, a Belgian mine manager

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Lepidolite

Greek “lepidos” = scale

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Leucite

Greek “leukois” = white

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Limonite

Greek “leimons” = meadow

Hydroxides

Linarite

Source at Linares, Jaen province, Spain

Sulfates

Magnesite

Magnesium content

Carbonates

Magnetite

Source at Magnesia

Multiple Oxides

Malachite

Greek “moloche” = mallow

Carbonates

Manganite

Manganese content

Hydroxides

Marcasite

Arabic?

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Melanterite

Greek “melanteria” = black metallic pigment

Sulfates

Mesolite

Greek “mesos” = middle + “lithos” = stone

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Millerite

W. H. Miller (1801-1880), mineralogist

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Mimetite

Greek “mimetes” = imitator

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Molybdenite

Greek “molybdos” = lead

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Monazite

Greek “monazein” = to be alone

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Muscovite

English “Muscovy glass,” from use as glass in Russia

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Natrolite

Greek “nitron” = niter + “lithos” = stone

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Nepheline

Greek “nephele” = clouded

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Neptunite

Neptunus, Roman sea god

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Nickeline

Latin “nicolum” = nickel

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Oligoclase

Greek “oligos” = little + “klasis” = fracture

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Olivenite

German “olivenerz” = olive ore

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Olivine

Olive-green color

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Opal

Sanskrit “upala” = precious stone

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Orpiment

Latin “auripigmentum” = “gold pigment”

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Orthoclase

Greek “orthos” = upright + “klasis” = fracture

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Pargasite

Source at Pargas, Finland

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Pectolite

Greek “pektos” = compact

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Pentlandite

J. B. Pentland (? – 1873), scientist

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Phenakite

Greek “phenakos” = to deceive

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Phlogopite

Greek “phlogopos” = fiery-looking

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Platinum

Spanish “plata”= silver

Native Elements

Prehnite

Colonal van Prehn

Silicates of Complex Structure

Proustite

Joseph Louis Proust (1754-1826), chemist

Sulfosalts

Psilomelane

Greek “psilos” = smooth + “melas” = black

Hydroxides

Pumpellyite

Raphael Pumpelly (1837-1923), geologist

Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)

Pyrargyrite

Greek “pyr” = fire + “argyros” = silver

Sulfosalts

Pyrite

Greek “pyr” = fire

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Pyrolusite

Greek “pyr” = fire + “louien” = to wash

Simple Oxides

Pyromorphite

Greek “pyr” = fire + “morphe” = form

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Pyrope Garnet

Greek “pyropos” = fire-eyed

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Pyrophyllite

Greek “pyr” = fire + “phyllon” = leaf

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Pyrrhotite

Greek “pyrrhotes” = redness

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Quartz

German “quarz”

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Realgar

Arabic “rahj al-ghar” = “powder of the mine”

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Rhodochrosite

Greek “rhodon” = rose + “chros” = color

Carbonates

Rhodonite

Greek “rhodon” = rose

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Riebeckite

Emil Riebeck (?-1885), explorer, mineralogist

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Rutile

Latin “rutilus” = reddish

Simple Oxides

Scapolite

Greek “scapos” = shaft

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Scheelite

Karl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786), chemist

Molybdates and Tungstates

Serpentine

English “serpent”

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Shattuckite

Source at Shattuck Mine, Arizona

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Siderite

Greek “sideros” = iron

Carbonates

Sillimanite

Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864), mineralogy professor

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Silver

Anglo-Saxon

Native Elements

Skutterudite

Source at Skutterud, Norway

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Smithsonite

James Smithson (1765-1829), philanthropist

Carbonates

Sodalite

Sodium content

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Spessartine Garnet

Source at Spessart District, Bavaria, Germany

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Sphalerite

Greek “sphaleros” = treacherous

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Spinel

Latin “spina” = thorn

Multiple Oxides

Spodumene

Greek “spodoumenos” = burnt to ash

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Staurolite

Greek “stauros” = cross

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Stephanite

Archduke Stephen (?-1867), Mining Director

Sulfosalts

Stibnite

Greek “stibi” = antimony

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Stilbite

Greek “stilbein” = to glitter

Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)

Strontianite

Source at Strontian, Argyll, Scotland

Carbonates

Sulfur

Latin “sulfur” = sulfur

Native Elements

Sylvanite

Source at Transylvania

Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides

Talc

Arabic “talq” = mica

Phyllodilicates (Sheet Silicates)

Tantalite

Tantalum content

Multiple Oxides

Tephroite

Greek “tephros” = ash-colored

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Tetrahedrite

English “tetrahedron”

Sulfosalts

Thenardite

Louis Thenard (1777-1857), chemist

Sulfates

Titanite

Titanium content

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Topaz

Greek “topazos” = gemstone of lost identity

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Torbernite

Torbern Bergmann (1735-1784), chemist

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Tourmaline

Singhalese “touramalli” = mixed colored stones

Cyclosilicates (Ring Silicates)

Tremolite

Source at Val Tremolo, Swiss Alps

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Triphylite

Greek “tri” = three + “phylon” = tribe

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Turquoise

French “turquoise” = Turkish

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Ulexite

Georg Ludwig Ulex (1811-1883), chemist

Bornites

Uraninite

Uranium content

Simple Oxides

Uvarovite Garnet

Count S. S. Uvarov (1785-1855), statesman

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Vanadinite

Vanadium content

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Variscite

Source at Variscia, Germany

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Vesuvianite

Source at Mt. Vesuvias, Italy

Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)

Vivianite

J. G. Vivian, mineralogist

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Wavellite

William Wavell (?-1829), physician

Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates

Willemite

Willem I (1772-1843), king of the Netherlands

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Witherite

W. Withering (1741-1799), mineralogist

Carbonates

Wolframite

“volf” = wolf + “rahm” = cream

Molybdates and Tungstates

Wollastonite

W. H. Wollaston (1766-1828), chemist, mineralogist

Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)

Wulfenite

Franz Xaver von Wulfen (1728-1805), mineralogist

Molybdates and Tungstates

Zincite

Zinc content

Simple Oxides

Zircon

Persian “zargun” = gold-colored

Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)

Zoisite

Baron S. Zois van Edelstein (1747-1819)

Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)

Source: National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, by Charles W. Chesterman ©1979 Chanticleer Press, Inc.

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