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Identifying Crystals and Minerals

It's impossible to put a How to Identify Crystals and Minerals page up and keep it reasonable brief. There are over 3,000 basic minerals and an endless combination of same. Add in impurites, which bring about color and other changes, and the list grows far larger. Rough stones will look very different from polished or cut stones of the same variety. Most of us would have a hard time identifying a rough diamond, for example, especially one embedded in its native rock.

What's that red gem you have? Is it a Garnet? Ruby? Spinel? Red Zircon?

What I'm going to do here is link out to a bunch of pages that look like useful guides to getting your stone identified. Scroll down for stuff on metaphysical gems

So What Is That Rock/Gem Anyway?

Mineral and Location Database: " is the largest mineral database and mineralogical reference website on the internet. This site contains worldwide data on minerals, mineral collecting, mineral localities and other mineralogical information." This looks like a killer place to start if you're into rocks and minerals. They also have a mineral forum which might be a very good place to get your stone identified.

Google it: If you have an idea of what your stone might be then try Google Images. Enter the name of your stone/gem/mineral and see what comes up.

Gems 101: Lots of gems info here. Their forum has some good stuff, too.

Identification of Minerals: Once you get past the awful color scheme you'll find a ton of good info here. The author provides lots of info on identifying specific minerals, terms used, and how minerals are described between the experts. You might not be able to identify your stone here, especially since no pics are included, but you'll probably be able to describe it more accurately to your expert.

Gem Stone Identification: Similar to the above page, less detail, but much easier to read. It probably won't help you identify the exact stone or gem that you have, but it will give you a good start.

Identify Beads: This page has a nice color pic of 83 polished stones. If you mouse over the row it gives you the name of each stone in the row.

How to tell a real diamond from a fake: We once bought two stone ring from an Estate Jewelry dealer. The gems, we were told, were a zircon and a diamond. Turns out the diamond was a fake. Wish I'd read this article before the purchase! Here's a similar article on

Precious Stones Guide: Lots of articles on identifying gems and minerals. The articles are a bit hit and miss, though, as far as readability and info are concerned.

Agates: An article on identifying various forms of Agate.

Gem identification: This page covers a version of the Hodgkinson method of gem identification, which is a way of identifying gems with just your eyes.


Metaphysical Gems

Identify Your Stone Allies: To quote from the page - "The way they can help us most is by enabling us to discover our inner 'light' that connects us with the Light that is the source-center of All That Is. So crystals are primarily allies for self-transformation."