What are minerals?
The majority of metals, chemicals and industrial products that are now considered essential to modern life come from minerals. Farming and forestry for instance depend upon the soil, which is heavy in minerals.
The most visible examples of minerals are stones and rocks. With notable exception of mercury, minerals are heavy, hard and compact. They are solid masses that form shapes called crystals.
A crystal is a substance that has a constant, regular shape. This means that even when the mineral crystals are ground down into tiny particles, each individual particle still retains the shape of the original crystal it came from. This is how minerals are identified.
Apart from mercury, no other minerals are found as liquids. Mercury, which is also known as 'quick silwer' because of its rapid movement and brilliant silver colouring, turns to liquid at room temperature.
How many minerals are there?
At present there are nearly 3000 different types of named minerals. Their number is always increasing - in fact, 30 more new minerals are discovered every year.
What are gemstones?
Gemstones are rare/precious minerals like diamonds, rubys and emeralds. More specifically they have a hardness of more than 7 on the Mohs scale.
Back to main page