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  Author   Comment  
Genya A.

I am newbie rock/mineral collector. Recently got several minerals and rock from flea-market in Statefair Grounds in Raleigh.  Person who sold them knew nothing about mineralogy. Among those pieces of rocks and minerals there were three I was not identify.
1.Green flat slab. Pictures taken dry and wet piece to see change in color.
2. Brown/pale glossy.
3. Brown, small but heavy with rusty color. It feels like it some kind of ore.
Maybe somebody knows what they are.

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Harry Polly

Sample #1 appears to be a copper mineral consisting of malachite, chrysocolla, or turquoise, or a combination of all three.  #2 is an orbicular jasper or agate, and #3 is limonite, probably pseudomorph after pyrite.  Unless I am purchasing material for lapidary purposes, I always be sure the specimen has a label identifying what it is and where it came from.  Without this information, a specimen usually  has very little value to a collector.
Genya A.
Thank you for information, Harry.
As probably many newbies I was excited to be able to get something for my collection. It looks like I got leftovers of someone's rock/minerals collection since some pieces had small stickers on them (with type of mineral/rocks) but no mention of location where they were collected. I will be more selective in the future. Those I have will work well for my son's show and tell in school
Don Peck
Genya,  that is good advice from Harry.   If you are just starting as a collector, you should buy a rock and mineral handbook.  The best, in my opinion, are "A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals" by Fredrick Pough and Simon and Schuster's "Rocks and Minerals".  You might also find a rock and mineral club in your area and join it.  The members can be a great help and in most clubs help you to build your collection.  You might also go to the bottom of this page and click on the link to The Mineral Key.  It can help you learn the process of identification.  Best of luck, and keep asking questions.
Genya A.
Thank you, Don. I will contact club in Raleigh and look at the books. Today I had my first collecting "field trip" to Garnet Hill on Rt.98 in Wake Forest, NC. I got some garnets there. There is nothing to brag about but I am glad I had such opportunity to find "my own" specimens for collection.

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Al O
Hello Genya,

Now that you have some specimens and have gone on a field trip you should consider the problem of labeling specimens. Labels sometimes have a nasty habit of disappearing. You should consider a backup system. I started collecting long before personal computers were science fiction. So I started out using 3X5 index cards as back-ups for labels kept with the specimens. Make a card for each specimen with the name of the mineral, rock, or fossil on it along with all the locality information you have. You can also include any personal notes you want as reminders and memories of acquiring the specimen. This should include the name of the mine, quarry, or locality the specimen came from along with the name of the nearest town, state, and country. The cards can be consecutively numbered and the number attached to the specimen.

As to attaching a number, I use good old fashioned typewriter white-out. Even with computers replacing typewriters, white-out is still avalable. On the backside or inconspicuous spot on the specimen, place a small spot of white-out. After it dries, use a very fine tip permanent ink marker pen to write the number on the spot. Some specimens don't lend themselves well to putting a number on them. I keep all my specimes in some kind of cardboard or plastic box. I sometimes put the number on the box and always return the specimen to the right box quickly if I remove it for any reason. A number of small specimens like the garnets you just collected can be kept together under one label and card. This may sound like a lot of work but it saves any confusion later on. I have been collecting over 45 years now and all those labels and cards I have made through the years are a valuable documentation of my collection. If you choose to document your collection with a computer, make sure you have a backup system in case your computer crashes.

The books Don mentioned are good. I have used the book "Mineralogy" by John Sinkankas for years. It is now out of print but you might be able to to find a used copy. It is a bit dated, has no color pictures, but has lots of information on many minerals. Through the years I have worn out two of the paperback copies and the third paperback one is getting really shabby. Several years ago a retired college professor gave me his hardbound first edition. That one resides on the bookshelf and only comes out for special events. With those years of history I think you can understand why those books are tops on my list.

Don will not self promote or advertise himself on the board here but he recently wrote a book about minerals. I believe copies are still available from the Mineralogical Record. Just google search Mineralogical Record and look for the books they sell. You want "Mineral Identification" by Donald B. Peck. And that mineral identification link he mentioned at the bottom of the page, you get your own cd of that identification key with the book. This book is something a beginner will have to grow into but it is very well written and dedicated to the amateur collector. So if you want to learn some science about minerals, try it and see.

Best Regards,
Al O
Genya your second rock might me peanut wood from Australia. Google peanut wood pictures and see what you think. Peanut wood is a petrified wood with worm holes later filled by chalcedony.
Genya A.
Thank you Al for great information and suggestions. I saw "Mineralogy" book you mention on Amazon. I will check the other book also. Embarrassing for me but I took couple of semesters of geology (with some mineralogy) 25-30 years ago and remember very little of what I learned.  Those books should help.   I already started to make cards for each specimen but did not think about labeling each specimen.  Great idea! I will do it from now. 

Jaybates, I goggled up the peanut wood photos and #2 specimen does not look like them. The color and the pattern are different. The strange thing about this specimen that in spite that it quite thin (1/8'' to 1/2'' at the "bubble hole") it has each side in different color - mostly pale on one side and mostly brown on the other. It maybe some sort of polished agate but it does not resemble it very close due to very strange shape?
Genya A.
I think I found one photo that resemble specimen # 2 (at least one side of it): Look almost exactly like the brown side.
Another good book is one that deals with minerals but is a journal inside where you can put down the name, hardness, specific gravity,rarity, and notes like the locality you got it from. I have this journal and need to fill it.
krystal lynn hund
Another good way to label/document your collection (finds or buys) is to take a picture or few of it and label the file with the date, specimen, and other pertinent details. There is also a way in most pics to add a narrative(like GPS co-ords), but I find that when searching for a pic its easier to include keywords and names in the file name. Back up your files to another disk and don't worry about labels falling off or forgetting where you found it, etc.

fwiw, I date by so 1pm today would be " in TN".
Number one is a copper based mineral and is Malachite mixed with a small amount of turquoise. The second looks to me to be more of a jasper then agate. The last does look like an ore but it doesn't look like any Limonite I've seen and I have a piece of said mineral. The Simon mineral book is a good one although hard to
find a current edition. Another two good books are smithsonian rocks and minerals and collecting rocks,
gems, and minerals by Patti Polk
Number 2 looks like a shell of some sort or hard coral I am no expert but it looks oceanic, my two cents
Can anyone help me ID these items I found in a southern CA mine?
Help me identify my rock?Anyone?
Mike Streeter

I and perhaps other would be happy to help but would need to see some pics.

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