The Value of Crystal Forms in Mineral Collecting

The first photo shows a closeup view of  the mineral azurite. It’s a pretty dark blue and desirable in any rock containing it. What makes it even more desirable is the mineral in  its crystal form or when arranged in a beautiful composition.


This second photo is of azurite and malachite from the USGS photo library of minerals. Can you see what drives mineral collectors to pursue such specimens? Although only affordable to rich collectors and museums, these examples vividly demonstrate the difference between the common and the rare. Personally, I’d enjoy any hunk of azurite I’d find.

From the USGS:

(Credit: Carlin Green, USGS. Public domain.)

Detailed Description

A sample of azurite, the blue mineral, and malachite, the green mineral. Both azurite and malachite are copper minerals that were once used as pigments but are now mostly valued as collectors minerals. They do serve as good indicators of copper deposits that can be developed. Read more information about copper here.

Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Milpillas Mine, Mexico, and is 6.6cm in size.

Mining Activity Clues

This terrain could be anywhere, Uniformly even but steep ground rises to abrupt cliffs. No unusual features to these regular slopes. Except this mound, in the middle of nowhere.

Visible from quite a distance, the mound up close reveals itself to be twenty-five to thirty-five feet wide with a height of eight feet or so. A trail runs across the top of it, presumably from mountain bikers using it as a jump.

At the base of the mound, and running for fifty yards or so, is a gully or a draw, obviously dug out by heavy equipment. The arrow indicates it. The spoils are the mound. Someone was digging here. It’s not the start or end of a road. It just exists. Someone was looking for something.

This area has a history of gypsum mining and perhaps that’s all the former prospectors were looking for. But any prospector today should look over the mound and draw with care. Detection is the first part of discovery.

Take Location Photographs!

It’s not enough to note a find or a mine with its GPS coordinates, you have to mark its position with location photographs.

Consumer grade GPS equipment isn’t often accurate enough to point you to a specific rock upon attempting a return. You may instead be directed to a location several hundred feet in area.

The solution is to take location photographs to refresh your memory and perhaps add arrows later to help your recall.