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.

Feldspar and Quartz Crystals

Just started photographing small specimens. This is a far greater challenge than taking pictures of hand sized rocks and minerals. Although I am not happy with the shot below, it is interesting.

Feldspar and quartz are the two most common minerals on the planet. The photograph shows feldspar with its “blocky crystal habit” and smoky quartz, with its six sided crystal form. Feldspar doesn’t get much love because its color isn’t exciting and because it is so common.

A mineral’s outward crystal expression is the manifestation of its inward atomic structure. If we were to peer inside feldspar at high magnification, we would see that feldspar’s atoms were arranged in the same blocky pattern that is exhibited on the outside. Provided one important thing.

Conditions must be right for crystals to develop into the shape you see here. Under poorer conditions, a lack of room for example, feldspar crystals would not express themselves and this specimen would be just another lump of dun colored rock. Quartz is often associated with feldspar.

More good information here: