How Atoms are
Arranged in Minerals
To imagine what it is like inside a
mineral crystal, you can think of "rooms"
formed by the crystal's atoms.
Why Some Minerals
The Mohs Hardness Scale
forms when silica in solution
seeps into a cavity in lava and hardens in successive
layers. Its chemical formula is SiO2.
is the fossilized resin of pine trees that grew millions
of years ago. It often contains insects or
other small animals, feathers, plant materials, etc. that
were trapped as the resins flowed from the trees, and
some pieces even contain air bubbles. Known as inclusions,
these "imperfections" often increase the value
of a piece of amber.
is a transparent to translucent mineral which is found in
several colored -- white, blue, red, yellow, green,
brown, purple, and pink -- as well as in colorless forms.
Chemically it is alumina, or aluminum oxide, Al2O2.
The largest clear white diamond ever found, the Cullinan
weighed an astonishing 3,106.75 carats before being cut
into 9 major (the largest of which weighs 530.2 carats)
and 96 minor individual diamonds.
Premier Rose Diamond
In March 1978 the Premier Mine in
South Africa, the mine that produced the 3,106-carat
Cullinan Diamond, yielded a triangular-shaped cleavage
diamond of the finest color, weighing 353.9 carats.