Unlike the usual practice in botany or zoology, the naming of minerals follows no set rules. The large number of about 6000 mineral names, while not even close to the number of species in either the plant or animal kingdom, results from the unfortunate fact that there may be more than one name in use for one and the same mineral - often superfluous and obselete synonyms. Most are names for color variations in the same mineral and over hundreds of years of usage have become deeply entrenched. The red variety of the mineral corundum (preferred name) is ruby, while the blue variety is known as sapphire. Water clear, colorless quartz is called rock crystal and the colored varieties are amethyst (violet), rose quartz (pink), smoky quartz (brown), and citrine (yellow). Similar examples can be found in numerous other cases.
KeywordsArsenic Hexagonal Calcite Magnetite Pyrite
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