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Valuable References for Mineral Collectors, Part 2

by John Betts, All Rights Reserved

Other References Worth Considering

There are other references that are very handy to have available. The previous list are resources that I use once per week, the following resources I may use once per month:

1. An Index of Mineral Species and Varieties Arranged Chemically (with Appendix I & II)

2. Mineral Names, What do They Mean

3. Gems and Precious Stones of North America

4. Gemstones of North America, Volume I, II, III

5. Back Issues of Periodicals

6. Local Mineralogies

An Index of Mineral Species and Varieties Arranged Chemically (with Appendix I & II)

By Max H. Hey (1962 - though a later edition may exist) Published by the British Museum, London.

Commonly referred to as "Hey’s Index" this book is a good alternative to the 6th edition of Dana’s System on Mineralogy.

Minerals are organized into chemical groupings and each species has a number designation. For example:

3 Sulfides (Major Group)

3.1 Sulfides of Copper (Component Group)

3.1.1 Chalcocite Cu2S (Mineral Species)

Each mineral entry also lists the chemical formula too.

The feature that makes this reference noteworthy, and is a major feature of Dada’s is the listing of mineral varieties and discredited mineral names. An entire section in the back third of the book is a very complete list of these synonyms and the citation where the name was used. Many cite Dana as the source, but about 15% are from other sources making this reference arguably better than Dana’s 6th edition. Foreign language mineral names are part of this section. A few examples:
Scheelspath Scheelite Dana 6th ed.
Nickelspiessglazerz Ullmanite Dana 6th ed.

If you regularly encounter old mineral specimens, or specimens from European localities then it is worth adding Hey’s Index to your library to help decipher outdated mineral names and varieties.

Mineral Names, What do They Mean

By Richard S. Mitchell (1979) Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY ISBN 0-442-24593-9

This is the best reference to basic biographical information of the people a mineral was named for. Do you want information on Frederick Canfield? Look up Canfieldite and find out he lived from 1849 to 1926, resided in Dover, New Jersey and was a mining engineer and noted mineral collector. This book is surprisingly complete for noteworthy mineral personalities and is valuable, especially if you have historic mineral specimens from these same collectors.

This book may be out of print, but is readily found among used mineral book dealers at a reasonable price around $20.

Gems and Precious Stones of North America

By George F. Kunz (1892) Reprinted in 1968 by Dover Publications Inc. ISBN 0-486-21855-4

This book is an overview of the important gem and mineral occurrences known prior to 1892. Excellent descriptions of many now-classic finds are described, including Mt. Mica, Maine; Haddam, Connecticut; Hidden, North Carolina; Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado and many more.

The book is divided by mineral or gem with chapters on diamonds, turquoise, quartz, topaz, etc. Each chapter reviews the important finds in North America of each of the minerals and are grouped by state. Mexican and Canadian occurrences are included. This book is commonly used to research lost localities and help guide freelance miners at locating or opening prospects.

The original edition was illustrated with high quality chromalith color illustration, the state-of-the-art at the time. Gemstones and gem crystals from many famous occurrences are illustrated.

A first edition of this classic references would be too expensive to add this book to your working library. Fortunately, the book has been reprinted by Dover in a soft-bound version and available readily.

Gemstones of North America, Volume I, II, III

By John Sinkankas

Volume I (1959) Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY. Libr. Of Congress #59-13853

Volume II (1976) Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY ISBN 0-442-27627-3

Volume II (1976) Published by Geoscience Press, Tucson. ISBN 0-945005-22-9

In this series, John Sinkankas has attempted to continue the task of documenting important gem and mineral finds in North America that was started by Kunz in Gems and Precious Stones of North America.

It is organized in exactly the same way as the Kunz book, in a species-by-species review of the significant finds in North America. Much of the rumor and anecdotal stories around a particular find are clarified with solid facts, photographs and illustrations. Historic finds are included as background information to recent finds. And in general each mineral occurrence is more thoroughly discussed than the Kunz book. In addition to a mineral-by-mineral listing of important finds there is a Geographic Locality Index for locating all the minerals discussed from each locality.

These volumes are not inexpensive. But they are loaded with great information and documentation. I suppose they should be in the section of regional mineralogies below, but their importance to mineral collectors warrants their inclusion in every mineral library.

Back Issues of Periodicals

The more you learn about minerals, the more you realize the need for good references. Though the books and software mentioned in this article are valuable, you will find many references to magazine articles that you will want to pursue. I recommend building a collection of back issues of magazines for this reason.

For mineral collectors, a set of Mineralogical Record (MR) is most important. A set of Rocks & Minerals is fairly easy to assemble and probably as valuable as MR, especially for mineral finds prior to 1970 when MR began. The publishers of Mineral News and of Matrix both sell complete sets of back issues. And some magazines like the Mineral Collector have been reprinted in their entirety.

If you decide to collect back issue, remember that you will pay a premium to buy an "instant" set. A complete set of Mineralogical Record back issues can be found for $600 to $1500. By haunting mineral clubs and mineral shows you can build a collection easily and less expensively, though not as fast. I collected my Rocks & Minerals set that way and was able to build a set from 1926 to today for about $.50 an issue. Often you can trade minerals for magazines too. Senior members of mineral clubs frequently are a good source of old periodicals, as they no longer use their sets, and are often looking for an appreciative novice to pass them along to.

Local Mineralogies

The references cited above are "general" references - not specific to any locality. However your working library will probably need specific references to your area of interest. A few excellent references that I highly recommend:

Mineralogy of Maine (1994) by King, Vandall T., Foord, Eugene E., et al. (This book sets the standard for all regional mineralogies. Few others compare to the thoroughness of this reference.)

Mineralogy of New York (1842) by Beck, Lewis C. (Rochester Min. Symposium Reprint)

Mineralogy of Pennsylvania (1959) by Gordon, Samuel G.

Mineralogy of Pennsylvania, 1922-1965 (1969) by Montgomery, Arthur

Mineralogy of Pennsylvania, 1966-1975 (1978) by Smith III, Robert C.

Mineralogy of Arizona (1995) by Anthony, John W., Williams, Sidney A., et al.

Mineralogy of Connecticut (1961) by Schooner, Richard

Minerals of New York City and It's Environs (1931) by Manchester, James G.

Pegmatite Investigations 1942-45 New England (1954) by Cameron, Eugene N., et al

Pegmatites of the Middletown Area, Connecticut (1958) by Stugard, Frederick jr.

Minerals of California (1966) by Murdoch, Joseph, Webb, Robert Wallace, et al.

Minerals of Mexico (1987) by Panczer, William D.

As you can see this list is mostly for the region I regularly collect in. But there are similar references for any place you are looking for. Typically they are out of print, but can be easily found in catalogs or on the Internet from used book dealers, often at very reasonable prices.


Magazine Back Issues

Used Book Dealers

Peri Lithon

John & Marjorie Sinkankas

5371 Van Nuys Court

San Diego, CA 92109


Rocks of Ages

John & Linda Stimson

P.O. Box 3503

Tustin, CA 92681


FAX 714-730-1644

Ed Rogers

P.O. Box 455

Poncha Springs, CO 81242


FAX 719-539-4542

Frederick Blake, Bookseller

11 Oakway Drive

Stony Brook, NY 11790


Michael Dennis Cohan, Bookseller

502-West Alder Street

Missoula, Montana 59802


Donald E. Hahn, Natural History Books

P.O. Box 1004

Cottonwood, AZ 86326


Fax: 520-634-1217

© 2000 by John H. Betts - All Rights Reserved

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