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Young Collectors

Beginning Collectors     Link from hope page
Where do I Start?    Internal page go to link
What minerals should a new rock and mineral collectors watch for?
You are the one who decides what you want to collect.
You may collect a rock or mineral because:

  • Of its beauty.
  • It interests you.
  • You can see or tell an interesting story.
  • You need a set as samples to help identify the minerals you find.
  • You understand its history or how it formed.

The following minerals are an excellent first group to acquire. They can be used of to compare with the minerals forming the rock you encounter every day. At this stage it is best to collect representative pieces showing how the mineral breaks. Flat breaks are called cleavages and uneven or bumpy breaks are called fractures. Crystals are difficult to find, are expensive and are easily damaged.  

  • Quartz (very hard and glassy transparent to milky white or grey).
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  • Feldspar (hard and white, orange-pink, grey or green).
  • Mica (flakey cleavages and black biotite mica, silvery muscovite mica or brownish phlogopite mica).
  • Calcite (transparent to opaque white, sometimes grey or tan colored).
  • Dolomite (similar to calcite opaque white, pink to grey).

These minerals come in various colors and appearances and a reference selection should have representatives of the different colors and appearances. It is natural to have pure representative mineral samples and samples of the host rock. 

What Do I Collect Next?    Internal page go to link
Your mineral collection can be expanded to include representative samples of the following common rock forming minerals.
• Quartz SiO2
• Clear quartz called rock crystal
• White quartz called bull quartz
• Smokey quartz
• Rose quartz
• Feldspar
• Alkali Feldspars
o Microcline Feldspar (K,Na)[AlSi3O8]
o Orthoclase Feldspar (K,Na)[AlSi3O8]
• Plagioclase Na[AlSi3O8] to CaA2lSi2O8
o Albite Feldspar NaAlSi3O8
o Labradorite feldspar CaA2lSi2O8
• Nepheline Na3[Na,K)[Al6Si4O16]
• Sodalite Na2[Al6Si6O24]Cl2
• Mica
• Biotite: black mica
• Phlogopite Mica: brown mica
• Muscovite Mica: silver colored mica 
• Amphibole Group Minerals
o Tremolite
o Actinolite
o Hornblende
• Diopside Group Minerals
o Diopside
o Augite
o Aegirine
• Tourmaline
• Beryl (includes the gems emerald and aquamarine ) 
• Corundum (includes the gemstone ruby and sapphire)
• Apatite

Carbonate Minerals
• Calcite CaCO3 - Trigonal crystal structure 
• Aragonite CaCO3 – Orthorhombic crystal structure 
• Dolomite CaMg(CO3)2 - Trigonal crystal structure
Metamorphic Minerals
• Kyanite
• Staurolite
• Epidote
• Garnet Group 
• Almandine Garnet
• Grossularite Garnet
• Andradite Garnet
Sulphides (sulphides should be stored in a dry location)
• Pyrite
• Sphalerite
• Galena
• Molybdenite 
• Magnetite
• Spinel
• Franklinite
Native Minerals
• Gold Au
• Silver Ag 
• Graphite C
• Diamond C 

Should my Mineral Collection Contain Rocks? Internal page go to link
Having a collection of rocks that contain the common rock forming minerals is both interesting and informative. Almost all rock forming minerals are formed with other specific minerals that form that rock type. Knowing this association and their relationship will spur you on to learn about other rocks and the minerals that compose these rocks.
The minerals in your average rock specimen will likely by smaller than your pure mineral sample. Having collected or purchased an identified large, pure mineral specimen may make is much easier to identify these minerals in your rock specimens.    
Where do I Store my Minerals? Internal page go to link
When you start collecting you will probably store your minerals in a box or bag stored in a place of your parent(s) approval. If your parents like an uncluttered house you can store them in your favorite outside place such as a fort or other secret place that will not be disturbed.

How Do I Store My Minerals?    Internal page go to link
As you progress in collecting you should consider protecting your samples from scratching and other damage. The easiest and cheapest sample box is an egg cartoon. A transparent plastic (one level) fishing tackle box, sewing box or small parts box is also excellent. Remember you samples have to be small enough to fit.
Any flat box can also be used with smaller boxes to hold individual specimens. This is how I store my rocks and minerals.
Over the last 45 years I have been making my own 2x3”, 3x4” and 4x4” (1” 1.5” and 2” high) boxes to store and protect individual specimens in large boxes call flats. A 22x28” Bristol board sheet will make 16 2x3” fold up boxes. This is $0.50 a sheet from Dollarama and $0.67 from Staples. Mineralogical Research Co (  ) sells these boxes and has a template sample template on their web site. They also sell other useful accessories.

A waxed 1.89 liter almond milk and coconut milk boxes can be cut and stapled to form a 4x6” and a 4x7.5” sample box or two 4x6” sample boxes. Heavy duty sheers are required to do this safely. The alternative is to cut the base out of the carton with regular scissors to form a 4x4’ sample box. 

One liter milk bags are the best storage bags I have found for mid-size specimens. Inexpensive zip lock bags from the Dollarama are also excellent storage bags for individual specimens. Many individually protected samples can be safely protected and stored in flats. 

How Big Should My Samples Be?    Internal page go to link
If you are collecting pure mineral specimens the sample should be 1” (2.5 cm) minimum size and the specimen should demonstrate as many characteristics of the mineral as possible. Some minerals tend to be small and only smaller pieces will be available. Rock specimens should be 11/2 inches (3.8 cm) or larger to show as many mineral relationships and rock features as possible. 
Small mineral specimens are commonly more perfect that large samples. Larger samples, particularly rock samples show features better. Selecting sample size is often controlled by the size of your storage containers. In the end you make your decision on what you like and can deal with.  

Where Do I Acquire My Minerals?    Internal page go to link
In the mineral sales (Link to Sales for Mineral specimens for Beginners) we are trying to assemble a selection of type mineral specimens geared to beginning collectors looking for typical mineral samples that display the critical features of the mineral. 
Every place you see small rocks is a potential location to find mineral and rock specimens. Gravel drive ways, gravelly beaches, in the soil, fence bottoms etc. The trick is finding attractive, representative pieces and identifying them. That is why we recommended a list of minerals that can be purchased from persons that know their mineral and rocks. After you have a set of identified rocks it is much easier to identify your specimens.       
Consider acquiring pure sample of the mineral and several typical rock containing that mineral mixed with its associated rock forming minerals.
Parting Words.    Internal page go to link

We wish you well in selecting your own special collection of typical mineral specimens to learn the characteristic features of the our mineral world.