Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems

Systematic Collections

Over 3,000 different species of mineral are now recognized. To bring order to this great number of minerals, mineralogists found it necessary to make a systematic classification of them. Over the years, several different systems have been proposed. The most generally recognized system classifies minerals on the basis of the negatively charged chemical group, or anion, present in atoms of the mineral.

According to this system, the major classes and subclasses recognized are:

  • Native elements
  • Sulfides
  • Sulfosalts, Arsenides, Tellurides, Antimonides
  • Halides
  • Oxides, Hydroxides
  • Carbonates
  • Silicates
  • Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates
  • Sulfates, Borates, Nitrates
  • Tungstates, Molybdates, Chromates, Niobates, Tantalates

Each of these classes is well represented in Hillman Hall. This organization of minerals provides information about chemical composition and crystal structure of the minerals. It is a changeable and expandable system. Thus, as the structure of minerals becomes better known and new minerals are discovered, they can be accommodated by the system.

Click on photos to see larger version in a new window. Photos by Debra Wilson unless otherwise noted.

Carrollite
Carrollite
Congo
Photo: Jeff Scovil
Brazilianite
Brazilianite
Brazil
Poldervaartite
Elbaite
Brazil
     
Copper
Copper
Michigan
Ferroaxinite
Topaz
Russia
Ferroaxinite
Ferroaxinite
Russia
     
Rhodonite
Rhodonite
Peru
Orpiment
Orpiment
Nevada
Poldervaartite
Poldervaartite
South Africa
     

Gold
Gold
Russia

Silver
Silver on acanthite
Czech Republic

Beryl
Beryl variety emerald
Zambia
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