Gems & Minerals

The following includes some great

links with lots of information, photos and reference material.


A mineral is a naturally occurring solid formed through geological processes that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. A rock, by comparison, is an aggregate of minerals and need not have a specific chemical composition. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms.[1] The study of minerals is called mineralogy. []

The Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom
A free, interactive, educational guide to rocks, minerals and gemstones. Extensive information has been researched and categorized. The content is geared for both amateurs and

Oregon Department of Geology
Gems and Minerals in Oregon [more]


A gemstone or gem, also called a precious or semi-precious stone, is a piece of attractive mineral, which — when cut and polished — is used to make jewelry or other adornments.[1] However certain rocks, (such as lapis-lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone. [source:]

Gemology Institute of America (GIA)
GIA is the world’s largest and most respected nonprofit institute of gemological research and learning. Conceived 75 years ago in the grand tradition of Europe’s most respected institutes, GIA discovers (through GIA Research), imparts (through GIA Education), and applies (through the GIA Laboratory and GIA Instruments) gemological knowledge to ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry. [more]

Smithstonian Education
Minerals, Crystals & Gems – Stepping Stone to Inquiry