This site provides searchable, dynamic lists of IMA approved mineral names and varieties sorted either alphabetically or arranged systematically. Images of uncommon minerals are included along with links, scientific shareware and bibliographic data. Site is continuously updated. The true value of this site (http://athena.unige.ch/athena/mineral/search.html) is a search function that allows users to input known elements of a mineral as well as elements known to be absent from the mineral, and all of the minerals will be listed that contain the known elements, but do not contain the elements known to be missing.
Central Canadian Federation of Mineralogical Societies (CCFMS)
The CCFMS site keeps the mineral collecting public updated on shows, federation field trips and other federation club websites, while offering a location where collecting information can be posted. Its jurisdiction is primarily Ontario and Western Quebec, but it includes many links to dealers and North American clubs and museums.
The 'Handbook' is a five volume set with a publication price of $588.00 U.S. It is the most recent print publication, and probably the last ever to be printed. It contains comprehensive information on all known minerals at the times of publication (the volumes were published at different times).
The entire publication, one full page per mineral, is available online thanks to the Mineralogical Society of America. Furthermore, the list of included minerals is being updated by the addition over time of minerals approved since each of the volumes was published.
The Friends of Mineralogy
The Friends of Mineralogy (FM) is an organization devoted to the advancement of serious interest in minerals and related activities. It consists of mineral collectors, professional mineralogists and curators of public and private collections. FM was formed in 1970 in Tucson, Arizona. An initial project was the establishment of The Mineralogical Record. The FM has had a close and continuing association with The Mineralogical Record and with Rocks & Minerals Magazine. One of the organization's important activities has been support of the two magazines as vehicles for the preservation and dissemination of mineralogical information.
Mindat has become almost an all inclusive site for mineral information. Users can search on a mineral topic or a mineral name and/or a mineral location. A search on a mineral name will result in the mineral's basic description as well as all of the world-wide locations from which that mineral has been reported. A list - often huge - of viewable photographs of that mineral is also provided. A search on a location will result in a list of all of the minerals that have been reported from that location. Such a list of minerals will indicate what, if any, minerals for which the site is the type location. It will also indicate the minerals for which Mindat has photographs from that specific site. Another useful feature of the site is that a partial location name, or a variant of the location name, will result in suggestions of the correct name or a list of names for which the site has been known. This is particularly useful for foreign sites that have incurred differences in translation as well as sites that have been mined in different eras under different names.
This mineral database contains 4,714 individual mineral species descriptions with links and a comprehensive image library. It includes a section on crystallography in which individual crystal forms can be manipulated in 3-space. It is an excellent site with descriptions of physical characteristics and technical information on all listed minerals. Regrettably, it has not been updated since 2012 (there are now over 5,000 valid species) so the most recently approved minerals will not be listed. For most collectors, this will not be much of a limitation.
Ontario Geological Survey
The Ontario Geological Survey, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, consists of a Geoscience Program and a Resident Geologist Program. The Geoscience Program, based out of Sudbury, is responsible primarily for the collection, interpretation and dissemination of geological, geochemical and geophysical data. As well as contributing to the Geoscience Program, the Resident Geologist Program provides comprehensive geoscience information, publications, library and advisory services to the public through a network of offices strategically located throughout the province.
This site is managed by the University of Arizona. In addition to technical information such as X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Raman patterns, it is a link to the official list of International Mineralogical Association (IMA) approved minerals. If the mineral name that you want to research is not on this list, it has not been approved by the IMA and, hence, is not a legitimate mineral (at least, not of that name).
Additionally, a mineral name search can reveal a large number of publications that are normally only available to subscribers of mineralogical magazines or by payment to online scientific information publishers.
There are many good mineral books and most can be found second-hand. The following is a short list of suggestions, organized by type.
A field Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Frederick H. Pough - published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This is published as one of The Peterson Field Guide Series. The most recent edition was published in 1998. It contains the most commonly encountered minerals with numerous photographs and line drawings, as well as being a convenient size to take on collecting trips.
There are many used textbooks available. Most of these are produced for beginning mineralogy classes in geology or earth science degree programs. They are most useful in describing characteristics of minerals, including chemistry and structure. The following is an especially thorough text.
Dana's Textbook of Mineralogy by Edward Salisbury Dana, revised and enlarged by William E. Ford - published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This text is quite old (the fourth edition was published in 1932) and the list of minerals is anything but current but its presentation of mineralogical principles combined with descriptions of most of the known minerals at the time of publication, makes this a classic, and still an extremely useful book to have.
Mineral Identification - A Practical Guide for the Amateur Mineralogist y Donald B. Peck - published by the Mineralogical Record, Inc. This is a fairly recent publication (2007) and presents an amazing amount of information and techniques for identifying minerals, explained in plain language. It is written for amateurs, not professional mineralogists, and is readily available at the Mineralogical Record at a very reasonable price. In addition to the analytical information, the book includes a CD with several programs including one which provides descriptive information on over 4,000 minerals. This program allows the user to search on known properties of a mineral with the program providing a list of minerals that satisfy the search properties.
Official IMA list of minerals
Periodically, a list of the official mineral names as approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) is updated.
Fleischer's Glossary of Mineral Species, originally prepared by Michael Fleischer of the U.S. Geological Survey and most recently compiled by Malcolm E. Back (Royal Ontario Museum - retired) is published by the Mineralogical Record. The most recent version is 2014. This publication contains the names, formulas, type locality, primary reference, and relationships with other minerals (if any). All group names and minerals in such groups are shown in a separate section.
The IMA is constantly adding newly discovered and approved minerals as well as examining existing minerals; sometimes making name changes as well as deleting names of minerals found to be inadequately described. Changes in mineral relationships are reasonably frequently encountered, so it useful to have the most current version of this publication.