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Full text of "Mineralogy & Crystallography: On the History of these Sciences through 1919"

Mineralogy & Crystallography 

On The History Of These Sciences 
From Beginnings Through 1919 


Curtis P. Schuh 

( Rough Notes 

Tucson, Arizona 

Mineralogy Sz Crystallography: A Biobibliography &; History 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

IBM-PC is a trademark of International Business Machines. 
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Schuh, Curtis Paul, 1959- . 

Mineralogy and crystallography: on the history of these sciences 
from beginnings through 1919 / Curtis P. Schuh. 
v. p. cm. 
Includes bibliographical references. 

1. Mineralogy-history 2. Crystallography-history 

ZQ???.??.?? 2007 

Copyright © 2005-2007 by Curtis P. Schuh 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or 
transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, 
without the prior written permission of the author. Printed in the United States of America on acid-free 


Mineralogy &l Crystallography: A Biobibliography & History 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

Edition Note 

Internet Issue 
( 2007 ) 

The files listed on the internet do not contain 
the complete and final versions of Mineralogy 
& Crystallography: a Biobibliography or the 
companion book, Mineralogy & Crystallogra- 
phy: On the History of these Sciences. Rather 
these are intermediate presentations of a por- 
tion of the computerized database being cre- 
ated to output a final version as printed books. 
However, even in this incomplete state these 
works give a substanial history of mineralogy 
and crystallography together with exhaustive 
descriptions of the major books. These files 
are being made available to the general public 
because of numerous requests for access to the 
information and the benefit to the compiler in 
the feedback he recieves from the readers. Al- 
though it is a work in progress with errors and 
formatting problems, these intermediate files 
are still a very useable reference sources. 

The Biobibliography and the History are 
companion works ultimately intended to each 
stand complete in itself, but to never the less 
complement each other, with information from 
one feeding into the other. This is particularly 
true of the section labeled "Regional Histo- 
ries" in the History, which describes the devel- 
opment of mineralogy in individual countries. 
While gathering information for the History, an 
ever increasing number of additional titles are 
necessarily being added to the Biobibliography. 
Happily however, there is finally an end in sight 
to the project. It was not possible to create the 
History without having first compiled the Bio- 
bibliography, and now that it is being written, 
work on both books is steadily drawing to a 
point where the text to both can be given a 
final edit, and be made ready for actual publi- 
cation as physical books. However, in advance 
of that future date, these files are being placed 
on the internet so that researchers and scholars 
may reference them. 

For this project, the TjjX program devel- 
oped by Donald Knuth professor emeritus of 
Stanford University has been used to format 

the database text and elegantly typeset the vol- 
umes directly into the user friendly file format 
of PDF (Postscript Document Format) devel- 
oped by Adobe Software. The PDF file format 
has many advantages, especially since these 
files can be viewed and printed through the 
Adobe Reader software, which is readily avail- 
able. By this method it is possible to distribute 
electronic versions of the Biobibliography and 
History at a very cheap cost. Paper versions of 
the files can also be created by those individuals 
who prefer physical copy in their hands. Sev- 
eral paths are available to accomplish this goal. 
First download the files to your local computer 
and use either a home computer with a printer 
to output the over 2,000 pages or take the files 
to the local copy bureau and have them print 
the works double-sided and bound into three 

The text of the Biobibliography and His- 
tory are of course subject to change (sometimes 
radical) in the future. In particular, reference 
numbers for the individual titles listed in the 
Biobibliography unfortunately change because 
additions and deletions to entries in the source 
database cause these numbers to increase or de- 
crease, respectively. The files placed on the in- 
ternet were created in January 2007 in antici- 
pation of the forthcoming 53st Annual Tucson 
Gem & Mineral Society Show to be held in Tuc- 
son, Arizona on February 8-11, 2007. 

Since this is a work in progress, comments 
and suggestions about the content, format or 
missing entries are welcome by the compiler. 
The intention is to bring the work to comple- 
tion with in the the next few years, so that it 
can finally be printed as actual physical books. 
If you wish to contact the compiler, he may be 
reached through email at the address provided 

Curtis P. Schuh 
Tucson, Arizona 


Mineralogy & Crystallography: A Biobibliography & History 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: August 24, 2007 

Mineralogy & Crystallography: A Biobibliography & History 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: August 24, 2007 


1.0 Introduction 

2.0 Ancient Studies 

2.1 Egypt 

2.1.1 Ebers Papyrus 

2.1.2 Ley den & Stockholm Papyrus 

2.2 Babylonia & Assyria 

2.3 The jEgean (Crete) 

2.4 Troy (Hissarlik) 

2.5 Asia Minor. 
2.5.1 The Hittites 

2.6 Persian Empire 

2.9 Palastine 

2.10 Ancient China 

2.11 Ancient India 

2.12 Ancient Greece 

2.12.1 Aristotle 

2.12.2 Theophrastus 

2.12.3 Agatharchides 

2.12.4 Damigeron 

2.12.5 Diodorus Siculus 

2.12.6 Dioscorides 

2.12.7 Strabo 

2.12.8 Physiologos 

2.12.20 Xenocrates 

2.12.21 Galen 

2.14 The Roman Period 

2.14.1 Lucretius 

2.14.2 Vitruvius 

2.14.4 Seneca 

2.14.5 Cato 
2.14.7 Pliny 

2.14.8 Suetonius 

2.14.9 Solinus 

3.0 Medieval Mineralogy 

3.1 Islamic Influences 

3.1.1 Islamic Mineralogy 

3.1.2 Jabir ibn Hayyan [Latin, GEBER] 

3.1.3 pseudo- Aristotle 

3.1.4 al-Katib 

3.1.5 Masawaih [Latin, MESUE THE ELDER] 

3.1.6 al-Kindl [Latin, ALKINDUS] 

3.1.7 al-Jahiz 

3.1.8 ad-DimisqT 

3.1.9 al-Dmawari 

3.1.10 al-RazT [Latin, RHAZES] 

3.1.11 Ikhwan al-Safa 3 or "Brothers of Purity" 

3.1.12 Ibn Slna [Latin, AviCENNA] 

3.1.13 al-Blrum 

3.1.14 al-Kamili 

3.1.15 al- c Arabi 

3.1.17 al-TifasT 

3.1.18 NasTr al-DTn al-TusT 

3.1.19 al-Qazwml 

3.1.20 al-Qibjaql 

3.1.21 As-SuwaidT 

3.1.22 al-Qasanl 

3.1.23 al-DimasqT 

3.1.24 Ibn Ahf Bakr MustaufT al-Qazwml 

3.1.25 al-Jildakl 

3.1.26 al-Akfanl 

3.1.27 al-Majrltl 

3.1.28 Mansur 

3.1.29 al-Jazaril 

3.1.30 al-Gaffari 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 


3.1.31 al-Maqrizi 

3.1.32 al-Wardl 

3.1.33 STrazT 

3.1.34 al-Baihaql 

3.1.35 al-Mubarak Qazwml 

3.1.36 al-Maghribl 


3.2.1 Lapidaries Scientific Lapidaries Marbode (1035-1123) Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) Bartholomaeus de Ripa Romea Mandeville Camillus Leonardus (1502) Ludovico Dolce (1508-1568) Martin Steinpreis (cl510) Erasmus Stella (1517) Alexandrian Lapidaries Kyranides a-Plutarch a-Orpheus Christian Lapidaries Epiphanius Bede Volmar (cl252-1254) Alfonso X (1221-1284) Byzantine Mineralogy 

3.2.2 Herbals 

3.2.3 Pharmaceutical Mineralogy 

3.2.4 Mineral Poisons & Cures 

3.3 Encyclopedias 

3.3.1 Isidore of Seville (6th Century) 

3.3.2 Theophilus the Monk 

3.3.3 Alexander Neckam (1157-1217) 

3.3.4 Bartholomaeus Anglicus (cl200-1247) 

3.3.5 Thomas Cantimpre (1200-1270) 

3.3.6 Vincent of Beauvais (1190-1264) 

3.3.7 Lumen Animae (cl300) 

3.3.8 Konrad von Megenberg (7-1374) 

3.3.9 Domenico Bandini (cl335-1418) 

3.3.10 Gregor Reisch (cl467-1525) 

3.3.11 Arnoldus Saxo (cl225) 
3.3.15 Hrabanus Maurus 

3.4 Books of Secrets 

3.4.1 The Literature of "Secrets" 


4.1 Mining in Saxony 
4.1.1 The Renaissance 

4.2 Technological Heritage 

4.2.1 Bergbuchlein (cl505) 

4.2.2 Probirbuchlein (cl510) 

4.2.3 Biringuccio (1540) 

4.3 Georgius Agricola 

4.4 The Influence of Agricola 

5.0 Physical Properties 

5.1 Color 
5.1.1 Streak 

5.2 Specific Gravity and Density 

5.3 Cleavage 

5.4 Luminescence 

5.4.1 Phosphorescence The Bologna Stone 

5.4.2 Fluorescence 

5.5 Hardness 

5.6 Optical Properties 

5.6.1 Double Refraction 

5.6.2 Basis of Optical Mineralogy 

5.6.3 Rotatory Polarization 

5.6.4 Optical Properties and Heat 

5.6.5 Pleochroism & Absorption 

5.6.6 Optical Anomalies 

5.6.7 Reflection 

5.6.8 Infrared Optics 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

5.7.1 Pyroelectricity 

5.7.2 Conductivity 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 


5.7.3 Piezoelectricity 

5.7.4 Thermoelectricity 

5.7.5 Dielectric Property 

5.8 Magnetism 

5.9 Elasticity 

6.0 Chemical Mineralogy 

6.1 Technological Background 

6.1.1 The Housecleaning 

6.1.2 The Chemical Revolution 

6.1.4 Science of Chemistry 

6.1.5 Nineteenth Century 

6.2 Mineral Analysis & Analysts 

6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 
6.5 Isomorphism & Dimorphism 

6.7 Pseudomorphs 

6.8 Par agenesis 

7.0 Experimental Mineralogy 

7.1 Origin of Minerals 
7.1.1 Fluid Inclusion Studies 

7.2 Artificial Minerals 

8.0 Crystallography 

8.1 Geometrical Crystallography 

8.1.1 Seventeenth Century 

8.1.2 Eighteenth Century 

8.1.3 Nineteenth Century 

8.1.4 Twentieth Century 

8.1.5 Twinned Crystals 

8.1.6 Epitaxial Crystal Growth 

8.2 Crystal Structure 

8.2.1 Early Theories about Structure 

8.2.2 Theory of Haiiy 

8.2.3 Later Structural Studies 

8.3 X-Ray Crystallography 

8.4 Etch Figures 

8.5 Liquid Crystals 

9.0 Systematic Mineralogy 

9.1 Concept of Species 

9.1.1 Derivation of 'Mineral' 

9.1.2 Minerals and Species 

9.2 Classical Sources 

9.3 Medieval Ideas 

9.3.1 Avicenna 

9.3.2 Albertus Magnus 

9.4 The Renaissance 

9.4.1 Stella 

9.4.2 Agricola 

9.4.3 Gesner 
9.4.3 Kentmann 
9.4.9 Caesalpinus 

9.5 The Seventeenth Century 

9.5.15 Boetius de Boodt 

9.5.16 Aldrovandi 

9.5.17 Jonston 

9.5.19 Bockenhoffer 
9.5.21 Becher 
9.5.23 Hiarne 

9.6 The Eighteenth Century 

9.6.20 Woodward 

9.6.21 Henckel 
9.6.23 Pott 

9.6.25 Bromell 

9.6.26 Linne 
9.6.34 Wallerius 

9.6.34 Woltersdorff 

9.6.35 Cronstedt 

9.6.36 Bergman 

9.6.37 Kirwan 
9.6.45 Rome de LTsle 
9.6.80 Werner 

9.7 The Ninteenth Century 
9.7.1 Haiiy 

9.7.3 Berzelius 

9.7.3 Mohs 

9.7.4 Nordenskiold 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 


9.7.5 Breithaupt 
9.7.7 Beudant 
9.7.9 Shepard 
9.7.11 Dufrenoy 
9.7.11 Pansner 
9.7.41 Haidinger 

9.7.44 Hausmann 

9.7.45 Rose 
9.7.50 Dana 
9.7.61 Kobell 
9.7.75 Hunt 
9.7.77 Weisbach 
9.7.81 Knop 

9.7.99 Conclusion: 19th Century 

10.0 Nomenclature 

10.1 Ancient Names 

10.2 Middle Ages 

10.4 Scientific Nomenclature Develops 

10.4.2 Werner and his School 

10.4.3 Reflections of Chemical Reform 

10.4.4 Nomenclature Reformation 

10.4.5 Physical Properties 

10.4.6 Localities 

10.4.7 Personal Names 

10.4.8 Dictionaries 

11.0 Regional Histories 

11.1 General (Worldwide) 

11.2 Europe 

11.2.1 United Kingdom England Scotland Wales Ireland 

11.2.2 Iberian Peninsula Spain (Espana) Portugual Canary Islands 

11.2.3 Central Austria (Osterreich) France Germany (Deutschland) Hungary (Magyarorszag) Switzerland (Helvetia) Italy (Italia) 

11.2.4 Low Countries Belgium Luxemburg (Luxembourg) The Netherlands (Holland) 

11.2.6 Eastern Albania Armenia Belarus Bulgaria (BtJirapHfl) Estonia Latvia (Latvija) Lithuania (Lietuva) Romania (Romania) Poland (Polska) Russia (Poccufl) Russia (18th Century) Russia (19th Century) Russia (20th Century to 1917) Slovakia (Slovenska) Yugoslavia Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatia (Hrvatska) Macedonia Serbia (Srbija) Slovenia (Slovenija) 

11.2.7 Northern Islands Iceland (Island) Greenland (Gr0nland) 

11.2.8 Scandinavia Sweden (Sverige) Finland Norway (Norge) Denmark (Danmarks) Faroe Islands (Fser0e Islands) 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 


11.2.9 Eastern Mediterranean Greece ('EUoto) Cyprus 

11.3 Asia 

11.3.1 Far East China Japan Korea (Chosen) Taiwan 

11.3.2 Central Asia Siberia Transcaucausia 

11.3.7 Subcontinent India Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Nepal Pakistan 

11.3.8 Southeast Asia Burma Cambodia Indonesia Laos Malaysia Philippines Thailand Vietnam 

11.3.9 Middle East Afganistan Iran Palestine & Israel Syria Turkey 

11.4 Africa 
11.4.1 Algeria 
11.4.1 Cameroun 
11.4.1 Comoros 
11.4.1 Congo 
11.4.1 East Africa 
11.4.1 Egypt 
11.4.1 Ghana 

11.4.1 Katanga 

11.4.1 Madagascar 

11.4.1 Morocco 

11.4.1 Nambia 

11.4.1 Reunion Islands 

11.4.1 Senegal 

11.4.1 Somalia 

11.4.1 South Africa 

11.4.1 Sudan 

11.4.1 Tunisia 

11.4.1 West Africa 

11.4.1 Zambia 

11.4.1 Zimbabwa (Rhodesia) 

11.5 North America 

11.5.1 Canada 

11.5.2 United States 

11.5.3 Mexico 

11.5.4 Cuba 

11.5.5 Costa Rica 

11.5.6 Guatemala 

11.5.7 Puerto Rico 

11.5.8 Jamaica 
11.5.10 Honduras 
11.5.12 El Slavador 

11.6 South America 
11.6.1 Argentina 
11.6.1 Bolivia 

11.6.1 Chile 

11.6.1 Colombia 

11.6.1 French Guiana 

11.6.1 Guyana (formerly British Guiana) 

11.6.1 Paraguay 

11.6.1 Peru 

11.6.1 Uruguay 

11.6.1 Venezuela Brazil (Brasil) 

11.7 Australasia 
11.7.1 Australia 
11.7.1 New Caledonia 
11.7.1 New Guinea 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

14.6 Optical Instruments 

11.7.1 New Zealand 
11.7.1 Palau Islands 
11.7.1 Tasmania 

12.0 Collectors & Dealers 

12.1 Collectors 

12.2 Dealers 

12.3 Collections 

12.4 The Golden Age (1876-1909) 
12.9.1 Austria (Osterreich) 

12.9.1 Belgium 
12.9.1 Denmark 
12.9.1 England 
12.9.1 France 
12.9.1 Hungary 
12.9.1 Italy 
12.9.1 Russia 
12.9.1 Sweden 
12.9.1 United States 

13.0 Instruction 

13.1 Mining Academies 

13.3 Textbooks 

13.4 mlneralogical societies & clubs 

13.5 Journals & Periodicals 

14.0 Instrumentation 

14.1 Analytical Balances 

14.2 Blowpipes 

14.2.1 Portable Laboratories 

14.2.2 Laboratory Blowpipes 

14.3 Specific Gravity Measurement 

14.3.1 Hydrostatic Balances 

14.3.2 Hydrometers 

14.3.3 Pycnometer 

14.3.4 Heavy Liquids 

14.4 scler.ometer. (hardness) 

14.5 Goniometers 

14.6 Optical Instruments 

14.6.1 Microscopes Petrographic Microscopes 

14.6.2 Refractometers 

14.6.3 Dichroscopes 

14.6.4 Polarized Light Measurment Polarimeter Polariscope Tourmaline Tongs Conoscopes Stauroscopes Wollaston Prisms Nicol Prism 

14.7 Crystallographic Projections 

14.8 Crystal Drawings 

14.9 Crystal Models 

14.9.1 Crystal Model Making Apparatus 

15.0 Illustrated Works 

15.1 Rendering Minerals 

15.2 Black and White Illustrations 
15.2.1 Printing from Actual Specimens 

15.3 Minerals Illuminated in Colors 
15.3.99 Rumpf 

15.3.99 Richter 

15.3.99 Seba 

15.3.99 Hebenstreit 

15.3.99 Hill 

15.3.99 Schmiedel 

15.3.99 Knorr 

15.3.99 Wirsing 

15.3.99 Stieglitz 

15.3.99 Der Naturforscher 

15.3.99 Ledermuller 

15.3.99 Gmelin 

15.3.99 Hamilton 

15.3.99 Guettard 

15.3.99 Heinitz 

15.3.99 Houttuyn 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

15.3.99 Gautier d'Agoty 
15.3.99 Uibelaker 
15.3.99 Wiinsch 
15.3.99 Buc'hoz 
15.3.99 Wulfen 
15.3.99 Klaproth 
15.3.99 Karsten 
15.3.99 Spalowsky 
15.3.99 Bertuch 
15.3.99 Baumeister 
15.3.99 Lenz 
15.3.99 Rashleigh 
15.3.99 Patrin 
15.3.99 Sowerby 
15.3.99 Egypt 
15.3.99 Mawe 
15.3.99 Stephenson 
15.3.99 Wilhelm 
15.3.99 Schriften 
15.3.99 Oken 
15.3.99 Schmidt 
15.3.99 Sowerby 
15.3.99 Kurr 
15.3.99 Reynaud 
15.3.99 Simonin 
15.3.99 Weber 
15.3.99 Hamlin 
15.3.99 Kunz 
15.3.99 Brauns 
15.3.99 Sauer 
15.3.99 Spencer 
15.3.99 Pogue 

16.0 Petrology 
17.0 Meteoritics 
18.0 Study of Caves 
References Consulted 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

Mineralogy & Crystallography: 
On Their History 

1.0 Introduction 

The purpose of the present text is to provide 
a concise survey of the history of mineralogy 
and crystallography through the year 1919. 
Hopefully, it reflects this rich area of study 
showing the development of these important 
scientific endeavors from simple origins through 
a maturity, which today some might regard 
as no more than technical art. This is 
mirrored in the fact that few people now would 
claim mineralogy as a science balanced on 
the edge of significant discovery, but that was 
not the case in the past. Then, mineralogy 
and its companion study crystallography, 
were important investigations with each new 
discovery being widely publicized and debated. 
Many researchers, some of whom may be 
counted among the greatest geniuses of the 
human race, explored, contemplated, and 
wrote about minerals and crystals. This 
history tries in some measure to spotlight 
these people and their discoveries. It is also 
written as a companion work to Mineralogy 
and Crystallography : A Biobibliography, which 
fully describes many of the books relevant to 
these studies across the same time period. 

This is a derivative study with little or 
no attempt to synthesis the motivations and 
discoveries it presents into a picture that a 
true historian would write. The intent instead 
is to provide a general overall view showing 
how the research and discoveries interlocked 
to create these important sciences from the 
simplest of beginnings. Since very broad topics 
are described, this text necessarily and heavily 
relies on the many articles and books previously 
published in the history of these sciences to 
give its account. To some degree this has 
caused in several sections a disjointed story 
to emerge. Hopefully, in the future, further 
research will allow a rewriting of these sections 

and thereby smooth out the issues. Sources 
used in compiling any given section are fully 
listed in the citations, and the interested reader 
may consult them for further information. 

Pre-History of Mineralogy 

Mineralogy in its most rudimentary form has 
probably existed since humans developed tools. 
In the hard, natural life of our ancestors, a 
case could be argued that it was the junction 
when man first made flint arrowheads and other 
stone tools that the first mineralogical studies 
began. Flint is a rock composed entirely of 
microscopic quartz crystals, and the ancient 
tool makers would doubtless had experience 
in distinguishing hard flint from softer stones. 
This event may have occurred as long as 25,000 
years ago. If it is too much of a stretch to call 
that moment the beginning of mineralogy, then 
certainly by the time of the first purposeful 
recovery of native metals like gold, silver, 
and copper, man had developed a practical 
working knowledge of mineral resources. This 
event probably occurred about 9,000 years ago. 
Somewhere between those bracketing dates, 
still well into prehistoric times, must lie the 
very start of our study. 

It is not difficult to imagine the awe 
that early man would feel in the unexpected 
discovery of a hard, clear quartz crystal, with 
its geometric six-sided form clearly displayed. 
It must have been a remarkable event, and 
one which early humans would not have been 
equipped to easily explain. To help, inventions 
of a divine powers were created to account 
for the remarkable things of the world. This 
eventually led man to explain many aspects 
of the natural world in terms of supernatural 
powers interacting with the physical world. 
From this world conception, at an early date, 
mystical and occult properties were attached to 
gems, stones, minerals, and metals. Eventually 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

2.1 Egypt 

this blossomed into a far reaching propaganda 
that was widely believed. 

Later, as civilizations developed, and 
distinct economic classes separated, those in 
the upper stratum had time to contemplate the 
surrounding world. Among the hypothesizes 
set forth were that minerals and gems contained 
curative/ preventive medical powers. For 

example, diamond the hardest of all substances, 
was early on believed to increase strength 
(in later millennia, the Romans would give 
diamond other powers). A key link in 
developing the science was started. Man began 
to hypothesis about the character of minerals. 
Of course, true scientific mineralogy requires 
the unbiased testing of hypothesizes rather 
than assumed correctness, but the first step, 
the philosophy had started. 

Undoubtedly, mineralogical knowledge 
must have become reasonably sophisticated, 
but as the early civilizations were devoured by 
invading armies or suffered in the environment, 
and those individuals possessing the necessary 
knowledge met premature ends, the possibil- 
ity of significant increases in knowledge ap- 
proached impossibility. It requires not only 
a theoretical philosophy but also a means of 
preserving knowledge for the future to insure 
a working science. This happened about 1250 
B.C.E. somewhere in the Near East (probably 
Babylon) with the invention of writing. From 
that time on, the ideas and discoveries of the 
current generation would be passed to the fu- 
ture, where they could be reviewed, tested and 
modified, and as necessary ultimately be ac- 
cepted or denied. 

2.0 Ancient Studies 

Like all science, the study of minerals grew 
out of practical experience encountered during 
daily life. Determining which stone could best 
be broken to a hard, sharp edge for use as a 
weapon or tool, for example. Grouped together 
these experiences accumulated into the first 
tangible beginnings of what today would be 
called mineralogy. Thus, the study of minerals 
certainly must rank as one of the oldest studies 
of humankind. Daily living would have brought 
early humans throughout their lives into 

contact with stones, and more rarely natural 
crystals and native metals. Consequently, a 
large body of practical knowledge about the 
mineral world developed in the prehistoric 
cultures of antiquity, and well before the 
first records were written. Then when the 
great civilizations of Egypt, India, and China 
began to flourish, evidence of widespread 
mineral knowledge became apparent. In 
particular, a variety of minerals were thought 
to have magical or curative properties, that 
would be bestowed to the human subject 
if it were worn or ingested. Due to the 
rarity of some varieties of metals and stones 
they were further described as "precious" and 
command expensive prices. Finally during 
this time, serious attempts were made to 
copy or produce good fakes of these precious 
substances, and as a consequence, much was 
learned about the physical properties and the 
chemical composition of these materials by the 

2.1 Egypt! 1 ! 

The dynastic period of old Egypt can generally 
be divided into the Old Kingdom, the Middle 
Kingdom, and the New Kingdom. At the 
beginning of the Old Kindgom cooper, gold, 
electrum (a natural alloy of gold and silver) 
were relatively scarce items, used mostly for 
ornaments. Vases of rock crystal and colored 
stone with wrappings of gold leaf tied with 
string are known. In addition, jewellery 
of gold, lapis lazuli, carnelian, amethyst, 
and turquoise have also been recovered from 
archaelogical sites. The Old Kingdom was 
largely agricultural in structure, but granite 
quarries at the First Cataract of the Nile 

^ J For further reading see: S. Aufrere., L'univers mineral 
dans la pensee Egyptienne. Cairo, Institut Francais 

d'Archeologie Orientale, 1991. 2 vols. li, 835 p., 
notes. [Published as: Bibliotheque d'Etude, no. 105]. 
• M. Clagett., Ancient Egyptian science: A source book. 
Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1989. 2 vols, 
xv, 863 p., illus, biblio., index. [Published as: Memoirs of the 
American Philosophical Society, no. 184]. • J.R. Partington., 
Origins And Development Of Applied Chemistry. London, 
Longmans, Green and Co., 1935. 597 p. [Provides a 
concise, well referenced account of the sources, production 
and uses of materials in Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria, Asia 
Minor, Persia, Syria and Palestine from the earliest times 
to the end of the Bronze Age]. 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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2.1 Egypt 

were begun, followed by the extraction of huge 
blocks of sandstone at Silsileh. Harder and finer 
stones were obtained from the areas between 
Coptos and the Red Sea. By the end of the Old 
Kingdom, limestone was recovered from many 
areas, with the blocks being cut with tubular 
copper drills and notched copper saws with 
sand used as an abrasive. Mouth blowpipes 
were probably a hollow reed tipped in clay as 
shown in the tomb of Beni Hasan and for a long 
time mistaken to be for glass blowing. Bronze 
was at the time unknown, and iron was not 
yet used for cutting stone, although perhaps 
used in a small extent for other tools. It is 
clear, however, that from the earliest times, the 
Egyptians possessed considerable knowledge of 
the technical arts and of minerals. 

The Middle Kingdom is associated with 
the rise to prominence of the city of Thebes. 
During this period, mines of gold, silver, 
electrum, copper were activily prospected and 
worked with slave labor. For example, the 
output of the Nubian gold mines was improved 
and the working of the copper mines in Sinai 
were reorganized to be worked throughout the 
year, where previously they had only been 
worked in the cool months. Each mine had 
a foreman, and there were periodic visits by 
officials from the treasury. Bronze, an alloy 
of copper and tin, came into common use, 
and there was extensive commerce with Egypts 
neighboring civilizations. This activity built up 
considerable wealth within Egypt. 

The New Kingdom brought the widespread 
acceptance of gold and silver as items of value 
used in commerce. Conqured nations such as 
the Syrians paid tribute to Egypt in silver, lapis 
lazuli, malachite, turquoise, precious stones, 
bars of lead, copper, tin and bronze. Fine gold, 
ivory, ebony, precious red stone and precious 
yellow stone were obtained from the Nubians. 
Metal work and jewellry creation during this 
period shows a high quality. Precious stones 
were shaped and polished, and high temper- 
ature annealing and soldering is seen in the 
goldwork of the time, and may have been influ- 
enced by Minoan originals. Some tomb paint- 
ings show the weighing of precious materials, 
bars of metals, bronze, lapis, malachite, etc. in- 
dicating an extensive trade in minerals between 

Egypt and the outlying countires perhaps as far 
east as India. The fabulous objects found in the 
tomb of Tutankhamen who ruled towards the 
end of this period, contain finely worked gold 
items inlaid with glass and stone, as well as 
statues made from copper, bronze, alabaster, 
turquoise, malachite, etc. 

2.1.1 Ebers Papyrus PI 

The Ebers Papyrus, said to have been 
discovered in a terra-cotta jar between the 
legs of a mummy buried 10 feet deep at 
Thebes about 1900 B.C., is 20 meters long 
and 30 cm wide. The content of its 39 
small treatises provide some of the earliest 
accounts of medical and chemical preparations 
that have been preserved from antiquity, and 
many of these have probably been compiled 
from still earlier sources (perhaps centuries 
older). Its subject matter would indicate that 
it is a collection of prescriptions and reciepes 
used by physcians, cosmetitians, hair-dyes, hair 
restorers, pest exterminators, etc. Most of the 
concoctions described are of organic, especially 
vegetable, origin, showing that the Egyptians 
were familiar with a large number of plants, 
but some are mineral in nature, such as copper 
sulfate, salt, natron and aner sopdu (Memphite 
stone). PI The prescriptions described in 

the papyrus closely resemble the structure of 
those found in the medical and receipe books 
published in Europe in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth century. 

2.1.2 Leyden & Stockholm Papyrus! 4 ! 

I- J Other studies include: C.P. Bryan., Ancient Egyptian 
medicine: the Papyrus Ebers. Translated from the German 
version by C.P. Bryan, with an introduction by G.E. 
Smith. Chicago, Ares Publishers, 1932 [Reprinted, 1974]. 
xl, 167 p., plates, illus. • H.L.E. Luring. , Die uber 
die medicinischen Kenntnisse der alten Agypter berichtenden 
Papyri: verglichen mit den medicinischen Schriften griechischer 
und romischer Autoren. Leipzig, 1888. 170 p. • J.F. 
Nunn., Ancient Egyptian medicine. Norman, University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1996. 240 p., illus., map. 

[ 3 ] Berthelot [p. 185] 

I- -I Other information may be found in: R. Halleux., Les 
alchimistes grecs. 1: Papyrus de Leyde, papyrus de Stockholm, 
fragments et recettes. Texte etabli et traduit par Robert 
Halleux. Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1981. 235 p. (84- 
151 double), biblio., index. • ibid., Indices chemicorum 
graecorum. I: Papyrus Leidensis, Papyrus Holmiensis. Roma, 
Ateneo, 1983. xxv, 135 p. [Published as: Lessico 
Intellettuale Europeo, no. 31] 

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2.2 Babylonia & Assyria 

It is recorded that around 290 C.E. the 
Egyptian emporer Diocletian fearing the art 
of alchemy decreed that all works and ancient 
books describing the alchemical arts or gold 
and silver be destroyed. This caused the 
disappearance of a mass body of literature 
that doubtless would have provided a great 
insight into the ancient ideas about the 
history of chemistry and the knowledge of 
minerals. The previously mentioned Ebers 
papyrus escaped destruction as did two other 
early Egyptian Papyrus that deal with chemical 
and mineralogical matters. These were most 
probably recorvered from the tomb of a high 
ranking apothecary who died in Thebes before 
290 C.E. and are known today as the Papyrus 
X of Leyden and the Stockholm Papyrus. They 
are important for shouwing numerous chemical 
processes and recipes for alloys, metal working, 
dyeing, making imitation precious stones and 
similar arts. Based on their content they are 
thought to be mid-Third Century copies of a 
work first writtin in the First Century B.C.E. 
In addition, both the Leyden and Stockholm 
papyrus are apparently derived from the same, 
now lost, work. 

The Leyden papyrus comprises about 
seventy-five reciepes several of which have 
been extracted from the Materia Medica of 
Dioscorides. Methods for writing in gold or 
silver are given as are descriptions of how to 
dye the surface of metals. Lists of materials 
required are presented. The Stockholm 

papyrus contains about 150 reciepes. The two 
manuscripts practically duplicate each other 
with some rearrangement and reworking of the 
same reciepes. The parts describing metals are 
largely concerned with the trasmution of gold, 
silver or electrum from cheaper materials, or 
giving an artificial color to the cheaper material 
to convey a preciousness. The nomenclature of 
the materials is essentially that of Dioscorides 
with few changes in the meaning of his terms, 
although in some cases the Latin equivalents of 
Vitriuvius and Pliny are used. 

2.2 Babylonia & Assyria 

Mesopotamia located between the Tigris and 
Euphrates rivers and rising in the mountains 
of Asia Minor and extending to the Persian 

Gulf was the site of an ancient civilization 
that riveled in many ways Egypt. While the 
earliest remains probably go back to 4000-3500 
B.C.E., the earliest dated sites are from 3100- 
3000 B.C.E. The earliest civilization in the area 
was agricultural, however, as villages became 
towns, craftsmanship and knowledge of the 
mineral world expanded. Graves from this 
early period contain stone bowls, gold, silver, 
copper pots, as well as jewellry inlaid with lapis 
lazuli, mother-of-pearl and other stones. From 
the earliest period, the Sumerians one group 
who occupied the land were familiar with the 
use and sale of gold, silver, copper and certain 
precious stones. They also worshipped gods 
related to metallurgy, and like the Egyptians 
they regarded the setting sun as passing 
through the lower hemisphere as the god of the 
treasurers of the underworld.! 5 ! 

Metal working and related crafts were 
apparently known from the earliest times 
in Babylonia and Assyria; however, there 
appears to have been no local source material 
in Babylonia and the deposits of copper, 
lead, silver, antimony and salt were probably 
not worked by the Assyrians. Instead, the 
merchants of these regions bartered with 
other countries, most probably Egypt for 
raw material that could be worked by local 
craftsmen. The bellows was employed to 
generate high temperatures in the furnace 
and on the anvil. There was none the less 
a large knowledge of metals, minerals and 
precious stones, so much so that a modern 
dictionary of terms was compiled for this 
ancient civilization.! 6 ] Thus gold was known 
and used for jewellerry of rings, neckleaces, 
buttons, studs, bracelets and earings, usually 
inlaid with other materials like glass or precious 
stones. Electrum (gold alloyed with silver), 
silver, copper, tin, lead, iron and antimony 
were all known. In addition, the first Bronze 

1 1 M.Levey., Chemistry and chemical technology in ancient 
Mesopotamia. Amsterdam, New York, Elsevier Pub. Co., 
1959. xi, 242 p., illus., map (on lining papers). • 
A. Leo Oppenheim., "Man and nature in Mesopotamian 
civilization" (15, pp. 634-666) in: C.C. Gillispie, ed., 
Dictionary of Scientific Biography. • Partington, Origins, 
1936, , p. 216. 

1 1 Thomson, R.C., Dictionary of Assyrian chemistry 
and geology. Oxford, 1936. 

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2.3 The tEgean (Crete) 

Age objects dating to about 3500-3000 B.C.E. 
were found in this region, with occurances 
throughout the history of the civilizations, 
indicating a sophisticated knowledge of copper 
and tin alloying. Polished haematite was used 
for making small objects such as weights, 
cylinder seals, rings, bracelets, bangles, studs 
and personal ornaments. But iron in this state 
was costly and rare. Iron of meteoric origin also 
seems to have been available in small quantities 
to the Babylonians. Interestingly, the long 
held association of certain planet gods with 
specific metals seems to have originated with 
the Sumerians. For example, silver is related 
to the moon, gold to the sun, lead to Saturn, 

Stone for building purposes was quarried 
and consisted of diorite, alabaster, dolomite, 
limestone, breccia and basalt. It was used 
to erect temples, palaces and more permanent 
structures. In addition, stones used for 
utilitarian purposes such as mill stones were 
quarried within the region. Bitumen or asphalt 
is known in several locations in Mesopotamia. 
It was used in creating mortar for cementing 
limestone blocks or bricks together, as well as 
water proofing reed baskets and the hulls of 
boats, medicinal salves, and incendiary bombs 
during periods of war. Naptha or petroleum 
could usually be found at the bitumen deposits 
and this was used for lamps in the homes and 
temples. It may have also been poured on the 
heads of attackers of the cities and set alight. 

Gemstones were known and appreciated 
from the earliest period by the Sumerians, who 
had access through trade to many types and 
varieties. Cutting of the gems and jewellry 
creation was an early industry, and through 
trade stones from Susiana, Arabia, the Pamiers, 
Eastern Asia, Egypt, Nubia and India were 
known. Agates, beryls and sardonyx from 
Choaspes, amethysts from near Petra, and 
alabaster from Damascus, jasper from near 
Zenovia on the Euphrates have been identified 
from archaeological sites. Bead necklaces of 
roughly chipped rock-crystal, carnelian, lapis 
lazuli, jasper, garnet, chalcedony, obsidian and 
shell are also known. Colored glass, perhaps 
used to imitate natural stones, has also been 
found in the region. 

There was a strong belief in the curative 
and magical powers of metals and certain 
stones. Together with herbs, seeds, woods, 
milk, cream, butter, copper, silver, gold, 
stones and gems could be added to water 
and prescribed by the medical professionals as 
a curative for many ills. Pure things such 
as copper, gold and silver were thought to 
benefitial when handled or touched. Hundreds 
of tablets describing medical treatments and 
prescriptions are preserved in the British 
MuseumJ 7 ! Methods of perparing various 

cures is preserved. Included is the notion that 
the smell of copper dust is enough to cure some 
diseases. Plants and minerals are thought of in 
terms of female and male. The male gender 
is often stronger and darker that the female 
type. Partington (1936) provides a useful list 
of mineral drugs listed in Assyrian texts. I 8 1 

2.3 The ^gean (Crete) 

After the Egyptians, a choice of material is 
available for further consideration. The regions 
of present day Greece, and the lands of Asia 
Minor and the Middle East all developed 
considerable civilizations. Following their 
developmental sequence in time, the next early 
people to appear were on Crete at Knossos, 
which would be the center of the whole iEgean 
culture. The first settlement of man in the 
iEgean region was probably at Knossos in the 
later (Neolithic) Stone Age. Other ancient sites 
exist in Crete and the Phylakopi in Melos is 
also an old site, but not as old as Knossos. Few 
remnants of the Stone Age society exist. Their 
Bronze Age, was characterized by advanced 
metal work and pottery glazed with different 
colors. Although attempts were sometimes 
made to regarded it as a prehistoric Greek 
civilization, the iEgean culture is more related 
to Egypt than to the European Greeks, who 
were of a different race. 

Relations between early, perhaps Predy- 
nastic, Egypt and the iEgean were intimate. 
Like that well-known society, builders and ar- 
tisans in the iEgean developed a well crafted 

^ 1 A useful account has been compiled by: Kiichler, 
Beitrage zur Kenntniss der assyrisch-babylonischen Medi- 
zin. Leipzig, 1904. 

I 8 1 Partington, Origins, 1936, , p. 316-317. 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
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2.4 Troy (Hissarlik) 

technology that included stone axes, serpen- 
tine maces, obsidian knives, and stone and clay 
spindle whorls, but the only trace of metal was 
one copper axe, perhaps imported from Egypt. 
Ceramics were decorated from a very early pe- 
riod with no break indicated between the Stone 
and Bronze Ages. 

Although there is little or no indication 
that metals were mined in Crete in ancient 
times, the island had the reputation of being 
peopled by skilled metallurgists. Gold, silver 
and copper objects, both utilitarian and 
ceremonially, have been found at all of the 
jEgean sites. The goldsmith's work was very 
similar to the very fine silver work recovered 
at Troy in Asia Minor. Based on analysis 
most of this metal came mostly from Nubia by 
way of Egypt, perhaps through Libya, where 
there were one or two Minoan settlements and 
an established intercommunication. Silver was 
also used in large quantities, and is found 
in pottery, jewelry, and coins of the society. 
Weapons of copper including daggers, spear- 
heads and axes, have been recovered, with the 
metal having been imported, probably from 

Seal cylinders of agate, steatite, jasper, 
magnetite, and hematite dated from about 
c2000 b.c.e. have been found, showing that the 
lapidaries of Crete were highly skilled in their 
craft. Other engraved gems and stones of 
various dates include deep purple amethyst, 
transparent paste onyx, carnelian, bloodstone, 
iridescent glass, hyacinth, sard, yellow and 
red jasper, sardonyx, agate, garnet, spinel, 
greenstone, basalt, and colored glass. Some 
ornamental objects as well as beads made from 
lapis lazuli are also known. Pliny said that 
diamonds could be found in Crete but these 
are not true diamonds, but probably sapphires 
or rock crystal. Other gemstones mentioned 
as originating from Crete include amethyst, 
emerald (probably chrysoprase?), aquamarine, 
opal, agate, jasper, and coral. Dioscurides 
mentions asbestos, which has been mined in 
Cyprus in modern times. 

The Bronze Age also came to Knossos and 
Crete with vases and basins, with the necks or 
rims soldered on, have been found at Knossos. 
Other bronze objects including vases, cups and 

utensils became common and with weapons 
finally appearing in great numbers. 

Legends preserved by Hellenistic authors 
also say Crete was the supposed home of 
mythological beings. At the root of these fables 
are perhaps the many and varied fossil bones 
that are found in the Jurassic stratum of the 
land. Another ancient legend may have at its 
roots the events that occurred on one island 
of the jEgean civilization, Santarini. It has 
been shown that this island was once home 
to an advanced, ancient civilization, that was 
destroyed when the island's volcano erupted in 
prehistoric times. This extinction may be at 
the root of the fabled legend of Atlantis. In 
any event after the catastrophic tsunamis that 
followed the eruption spread throughout the 
Mediterranean, this ancient society noticeably 

2.4 Troy (Hissarlik) 

Troy and the Troj an Wars are given full colorful 
decriptions in Homer's masterful works, the 
Illiad and the Odessy. These tales, thought 
for milennia to be a work of imagination, were 
shown through the excavations by Schliemann 
in 1870-1890 to have decribed an actual 
prehistoric city. This is Hissarlik, the ancient 
citadel of Troy. It is located on a what is 
now a large plain, but in its time was a broad 
shaped peninsula, near the the mouth of the 
Dardanelles. Its location rises from the level of 
the plain to a low spur, 50 feet in height, which 
is covered with layers of ruins dating back to 
probably c2000 b.c.e.. 

The walls of the city are made from 
a porous limestone, while other building of 
various times are made from sun dried bricks. 
In several instances marble and other stone 
was used. Also clay earth and chalk, perhaps 
imported from other lands, were used. Many 
objects of metal, stone, and gems have been 
recovered from the locality. Gold, silver, 
copper, bronze, and lead, were worked with 
great skill. Ivory and jade, imported from 
Africa and perhaps as far away as India have 
been found. Mica-schist and granite moulds 
used in the casting of metals using an oper 
hearth have been recovered. Other crucibles 
and funnels of clay used in metal work are also 


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2.6 Persian Empire 

known. Ornamental jewelry fashioned from 
gold, silver, and copper that contains rock 
crystal, amethyst, jasper, coral, and similar 
material has been found in the burial tombs 
of the ancient citizens. 

2.5 Asia Minor Pi 

One of the great crossroads of ancient 
civilizations is a broad peninsula that lies 
between the Black and Mediterranean seas. 
Called "Asia Minor" (Lesser Asia) by the 
Romans, the land today forms the greater 
part of modern Turkey. It lies across the 
Aegean Sea to the east of Greece and is usually 
known by its Greek name Anatolia. The 
land of Asia Minor is among the first cradles 
of human civilization. Some of the earliest 
Neolithic settlements discovered in the Middle 
East have been found in Asia Minor. It was the 
original location of the kingdom of the Hittites 
(cl900-1200 B.C.E.), with the west coast being 
settled by the Greeks (1000-750 B.C.E.). It 
was conquered by the Persians in 546 B.C.E., 
and remained under Persian rule until the 4th 
century B.C.E., when it became a Macedonian 
territory ruled by Alexander the Great. Under 
Alexander's successors, the land was divided 
and redivided many times by many rulers. It 
was slowly taken over by the Romans. In 395, 
after the division of the Roman Empire the land 
became a center piece of the Byzantine Empire. 
It was overrun in the 7th century by the Arabs, 
and in the 11th century the Turks set up a 

2.5.1 The Hittites! 10 ! 

Records of the Egyptians and Mesopotamians 
cite the Hittites as one of the peoples inhabiting 
Asia Minor. They probably migrated to the 
region by way of the Caucasus around 2000 
B.C.E.. Archae logical evidence supports the 
fact that like the Egyptians, they early on 
developed a written language, and based on 
these records and those of other surrounding 

1 1 Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg and Amelie Kuhrt, eds., 
Asia Minor & Egypt: Old Cultures in a New Empire. Leiden, 
Eisenbrauns, 1991. xviii, 367 p. 

I 10 ! J.G. MacQueen., Tile Hittites: And Their Contempo- 
raries in Asia Minor. Revised edition. London, Thames & 
Hudson, 1996. 176 p. 

civilizations they expanded their territory 
through many wars. 

The Hittites and related tribes of Asia 
Minor worked their land for minerals from an 
early period. They operated mines in the area 
providing nearly every kind of mineral and 
exporting metals to the ancient world. Even 
during the Roman period, even though some 
deposits had been worked out, others were still 
profitably exploited. 

The Hittites mined vast quantities of 
silver and developed metallurgical techniques 
to refine and alloy it. In their language 
silver was called "khattus" . Several locations 
were important including one town called 
'Boghazkoi' that means "town of silver" . 
Artifacts of pure silver have been recovered. 
These are objects of ceremonial and decorative 

Copper and bronze were also developed 
in Asia Minor. Swords, spears, and other 
weapons, house hold items, and decorative 
objects with inlaid rock crystal, jasper, 
carnelian, lapis lazuli, and shell have been 
recovered. Lead in the form of galena was 
mined, smelted, and exported to other lands. 
Mercury in the form of cinnabar was also 
recovered at some of the richest mines of the 
ancient world. Sulfides of arsenic in the form 
of orpiment and realgar were like wise mined. 

2.6 Persian Empire 

The Persian Empire was a series of historical 
empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau and 
the adjacent lands. The political entity which 
was ruled by these kingdoms is the country of 
Iran (literally "Land of Aryans"). Generally, 
the earliest entity considered a part of the 
Persian Empire is Persia's Achaemenid dynasty 
(648-330 B.C.E.), a united Aryan-indigenous 
kingdom that originated in the region now 
known as Fars and was formed under Cyrus the 
Great. Successive states in the region of Iran 
prior to 1935 are collectively called the Persian 
Empire by Western historians. 

The Iranian plateau has given up very 
old remains of civilizations dating to about 
3000 B.C.E.. The earliest of these settlements 
show no metal but contain crudely formed 
pottery. Later remains include objects of 


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2.9 Palastine 

bronze, copper, gold, and silver. Copper 
implements include narrow chisels, needles and 
mirrors. Because the copper contains trace 
quantities of antimony, arsenic and lead, it is 
suspected that the copper originally came from 
central Asia. Ornamental objects including 
beads made from carnelian, lapis, shell, jasper, 
and finger rings have also been recovered. 

An Iranian civilization probably existed 
from a very early period, but little is known of it 
before about 550 B.C.E.. They were influenced 
heavily by the Assyrians, particularly in their 
language, but they developed their own unique 
civilization. Early Persian authors say much 
about the early battles between the Iranian 
people and surrounding tribes, but much 
else about their early history is shrouded 
in mystery. Their country formed a bridge 
between the civilizations of Asia and the 
Mediterranean, and consequently, it reflects the 
influences of both the east and west. 

At its height the Persian Empire was a 
territory of enormous extent embracing the 
whole of today's Middle East and parts of 
western Asia. IT was also a very wealthy 
civilization. Many objects including statues 
and household items made of bronze, copper, 
silver, and gold have been recovered. The 
Persians made much use of pearls, emeralds, 
rubies, sapphires, diamonds, laps, agates, 
amethyst, hematite, quartz and other stones in 
many objects including jewelry. They recovered 
minerals from many mines scattered through 
out their territory, and produced most of the 
metals used by the ancient civilizations. 

2.9 Palastine!"] 

An ancient country, called the Pelesheth in the 
Bible, and popularly known by it Greek name 
Palestine is a long broad strip of land located at 
the eastern end of the Mediterranean. Roman 
and Greek authors meant the whole region of 
the Jews, east and west of the River Jordan, 
and what is known to Christians as the Holy 

t > Other historical information may be found in: Im- 
manuel Low., Fauna und Minerahen der Juden. Heraus- 
gegeben und mit einem Vorwort und Anmerkung versehen 
von Alexander Scheiber. Hildesheim, G. Olms, 1969. xiii, 
282, [11] p., portrait. [Describes the animals and minerals 
in rabbinical literature and the Old Testement. 1 

Land. However, in prehistoric times, it was 
occuppied by the Semites, the oldest branch 
known as the Canaanites, which first appear 
about 2500 b.c.e.. 

The early peoples of Palestine were 
influenced by Egypt, Babylonia, and the 
Aegean cultures. Early trade with Egypt shows 
that gold, silver, copper, lead, and ivory were 
sent from Palestine abouth 1500 B.C.E., but 
the region at the time also incorporated the 
whole of Syria and a large portion of Asia 
Minor. Amulets that had inlaid precious stones 
worked as magical talismans were imported 
from Egypt. 

The old Hebrew tribes known collectively 
as the Israelites first appear about 1250 
B.C.E. and settled the region by the 14th 
century. They orignally spoke Aramaic and 
probably adopted the Hebrew language from 
the Canaaites. The famous Exodus is an 
obscure event with the best known refrence in 
the Old Testement. 

Paleolitic cultures are associated in Pales- 
tine with crudely chipped flints found through- 
out the region. Rudimentary pottery devel- 
oped into sophisticated clay ware that were 
highly decorated objects, with designs made 
with glazes derived from copper, lead, and 
other minerals. Glasses, tinted with mineral 
salts are known from 2500 B.C.E., and show 
Babylonian, Egyptian, Cyprian, and Creatian 

Metals used in Palestine were gold, copper, 
silver, bronze, brass, lead, and iron. Gold was 
however, rare, and was not much used. Bronze 
was probably imported as ingots and worked by 
the local craftsmen. Objects of silver including 
jewelry and household objects date from 1100 
B.C.E.. Copper, bronze, brass was also used 
from the same time and made into knives, 
chisels, daggers, axes, saws, spoons, statues, 

The Bible 

The old testement of the Bible as an historical 
document provides information on ancient 
Palestine. The precious stone (yeqarah) was 
early in use and several kinds are frequently 
named in the Old Testament, although their 
identification is very uncertain. It mentions 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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2.10 Ancient China 

an astonishing totat of 1,704 references to 
gemstones and minerals under 124 Greek and 
Hebrew names. These contain descriptions 
probably based on information based on Greek 
knowledge. Their identification is, however, 
like those of other classical authors and very 
conjectual. For example, the twelve stones 
of Aaron's Breast Plate has been variously 
described.! 12 ] The usual identification of the 
stones is given as: 






Lapis Lazuli 

Rock Crystal 


Blue Sapphire 


Yellow Jasper 



Stones of the High Priest's Breastplate 

2.10 Ancient China! 13 ] 

That huge region today called China and 
occupying a prominent place from central 
Asia to the Pacific coast was the home of 
an early civilization. Early on the Chinese 
possessed a high degree of artistic quality in 
their decorative arts. This included creating 
fabulous carvings in jade and other stones! 14 ! 

! 1 For further historical information, see: William 
Frederick Collins., Mineral enterprise in China. London, W. 
Heinemann, [1918]. xi, [1], 308 p., maps (partly folding). 
[Mines and mineral resources of China.] • Ch'iao-p'ing 
Li., The chemical arts of old China. Foreword by Tenney 
L. Davis. Easton, Pennsylvania, Journal of Chemical 
Education, 1948. viii, 215 p., 83 b/w illustrations, 
pictorial endpapers, appendices. • J. Needham., Science 
and civilization in China. Cambridge [England], University 
Press, 1954. [See volume 3, sections 23 (geology) and 25 

! 1 S.C. Nott, Chinese jade throughout the ages. Second 
edition. • Berthold Laufer., Jade. A Study in Chinese 
Archaeology and Religion. Chicago, Field Museum of 
Natural History, Publication 154, Anthropological Series 
Vol. X, Chicago, 1912 (reprinted in China, 1941). xiv, 
370 p., 68 plates, text illus. [In the history of Chinese 
mineralogy the work of Keng Hsin Yu Tshe of the Ming 
Dynasty on jade is important.] 

that date from the period ( 

B.C.E.). Gemstones such as diamond imported 
from India were also very important.! 15 ] Ei 
early Chinese writings on mineralogy, stones 
and rocks were differentiated from metals and 
alloys, and further characterized by color and 
other physical properties. 

The most remarkable of these writings 
were a series of pharmacopoeias that included 
descriptions of plants, animals, and minerals, 
together with commentary on their therapeu- 
tic values. Like the herbals of western tradi- 
tion, these Chinese counterparts were highly 
popular, and many variations appeared. The 
Chi Ni Tzu that may date from the fourth cen- 
tury B.C.E. includes a list of twenty-four inor- 
ganic substances. The first century Shen Nung 
Pen Tshao Ching (Pharmacopoeia of the Heav- 
enly Husbandman) that once was a separate 
work, became incorporated with the commen- 
taries of the later Pen Tshao books (1596). It 
describes forty-six mineral substances, arrang- 
ing them into three categories based on their 
value as therapeutics. 

All subsequent appearances of the Pen 
Tshao began with sections describing minerals 
substances, though some treat them more 
fully than others. Thus, 215 minerals 

are treated in the Cheng Lei Pen Tshao 
(Recognized Pharmacopoeia) edited by Thang 
Shen- Wei around 1115 C.E., but only two or 
three appear in the 670 C.E. Shih Liao Pen 
Tshao (Nutritional Medicine Pharmacopoeia) 
of Meng Shen. An elaborate treatment of 
217 minerals occurs in the culmination of 
the series, Pen Tshao Kang Mu (The Great 
Pharmacopoeia) of Li Shih-Chen written about 
1596. These minerals are well described 
because a collection labeled specimens to those 
described corresponding to those mentioned by 
Li Shih-Chen were transported from China to 
Europe in the eighteenth century. There they 
were analyzed in the following century and fully 

! 1 Berthold Laufer., The Diamond: a Study in Chinese and 
Hellenistic Folk-Lore. Chicago, Chicago Field Museum of 
Natural History, 1915. 75 p. [Published as: Field Museum 
of Natural History Publication 184, Anthropological Series, 
15, no. 1.] • T. Wada., "Schmuck und Edelsteine bei den 
Chinesen," Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft fur Natur- 
und Volkerkunde Ostasiens, Tokyo, 10 (1904), p. 1-16. 

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2.11 Ancient India 

described by BiotI 16 ] and MelyJ 17 ! In 1878, 
Geerts using a Japanese commentary of the 
Pen Tshao Kang Mu also made a study of its 
section on minerals,! 18 ! and it was the source 
for another valuable descriptive catalog. I 19 l 

Outside of pharmacy, Chinese literature 
contains other mineralogical works. In the 
Thang dynasty about 818 C.E. the important 
treatise Shih Yao Erh Ya (Synoptic Dictionary 
of Minerals and Drugs) was prepared by Mei 
Piao. This is a remarkable glossary of terms 
used by Thang dynasty alchemists, listing 335 
synonyms for sixty-two chemical and mineral 
substances. Scientific writings came to the 
fore during the Sung dynasty and several 
books devoted to minerals appeared. One 
of the earliest was the Yiiyang Kung Shih 
Phu (Treatise on Stones by the Venerable 
Mr Yiiyang) written in the eleventh century, 
but little remains of the work. About 1120 
the Szechuanese monk Tsu-Khao prepared the 
Hsiian-Ho Shih Phu (Hsiian-Ho Reign Period 
Treatise on Stones), which described sixty- 
three different stones, but only the table of 
contents is extant. Perhaps the most important 
work of the era is the Yiin Lin Shih Phu (Cloud 
Forest Lapidary) authored by Tu Wan that 
dates to about 1133. I 20 ! It describes 110 stones 
and minerals. 

During the Ming and Chhing periods 
scientific writings tapered off considerably. The 
handful of mineralogical works that appeared 
include the 1617 Shih Phin (Hierarchy of 
Stones) that was written by Yu Chiin, the 
smaller 1665 Kuai Shih Tsan (Strange Rocks) 
by Sung Lo, and the 1668 Kuan Shih Lu (On 
Looking at Stones) by Kao Chao. 

[16] ???? 

I 17 l Mely, Les Lapidaires Grecs, 1898-1902, 1, p. 11-11 

^ ' A.J.C. Geerts, Les Produits de la Nature Japonaise et 
Chinoise. Yokohama, 1878-83. 2 parts. [8], xi, [1], 294, [2] 
p., 15 plates.; [4], [295J-662 p., 8 plates 

I 19 l Bernard E. Read and Phu Chu-Ping Pak. "A 
compendium of minerals and stones used in Chinese 
medicine, from Pen Tshao Kang Mu, Li-Shih-Chen, 1597 
A.D.," Peking-, Society of Natural History Bulletin, 3 (1928, 
no. 2, [i]-vii, [1]-120 p. [Revised and reissued separately, 
French Bookstore, Peiping, 1936, 2nd edition.] 

1 20 J English transl., Wan Tu., Stone catalogue of Cloudy 
Forest. A commentary and synopsis by Edward H. Schafer. 
Berkeley, University of California Press, 1961. 116 p., illus. 

2.11 Ancient India! 21 ! 

The Indian subcontinent including the present 
days countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh was 
the incubator of ancient civilizations. Evidence 
suggests that parts of the region were settled as 
early as 8000 B.C.E. Remains of the Paleolithic 
and Neolithic age contain stone tools made of 
flint. There is also evidence at prehistoric sites 
that minerals were used as coloring agents in 
potteries. I 22 ! Although rare, ornamental 

beads of agate and other stones, as well as 
implements and jewelry made from copper 
have been dated to the earliest period. India 
is rich in metals, minerals, and especially 
gemstones that were easily recovered from 
alluvial deposits along the rivers, so it is 
not suprising that early on a good practical 
knowledge of metals and minerals developed. 

In the Indus valley the Harappan civiliza- 
tion developed in prehistoric times and flour- 
ished to about 1500 B.C.E. when earthquakes 
caused some channels of the river to dry up and 
large populations to relocate. The archaeology 
sites show evidence of a wide use of minerals. 
Highly decorated clay pottery and glass colored 
by mineral pigments are known. Metallic ob- 
jects made of gold, silver, lead, and copper have 
been recovered. Beads and other ornamental 

t > Other information may be found in: A.K. Biswas., 
Minerals and metals in ancient India. Report on sponsored 
work (1987-91) submitted to Indian National Science 
Academy, New Delhi. New Delhi, D.K. Printword Pvt. 
Ltd, 1996. 2 vols. (I: 524 p.; II: 259 p., plates, biblio., 
index). [Volume I 'Travellers' accounts and archaeological 
evidences'; volume II 'Literary Evidences.'] • ibid., "Gems 
and minerals in ancient India," (1, 401-467) in: A.K. 
Bag, ed., History of Technology in India. New Delhi, 
Indian National Science Academy, 1997. 2 vols. (I: From 
Antiquity to cl200 A.D., xl, 717p.; II: From 1801 to 1947, 
A.D., xix, 1036 p.) • R. Krishnamurthy. , "Gemmology 
in ancient India," Indian Journal of History of Science, 27 
(1992), p. 251-60. * K. Muthulekshmi., The history of Indian 
chemistry. Paper presented at the National Seminar on 
Scientific Heritage of India at the University of Calicut, 
Kerala from July 1-4, 2000. [internet citation]. • M. Ray, 
"Minerals and gems in Indian alchemy," Indian Journal 
for the History of Science, 26 (1991), p. 133-54. • Moriz 
Winternitz., A history of Indian literature. Translated from 
the original German by S. Ketkar, and revised by the 
author. New York, Russell & Russell, 1927-31. 2 vols. 
[History and criticism of Sanskrit literature indigenous to 
India.; Reprinted, 1971.] 

t ' Prafulla Ray, History of chemistry in ancient and 
medieval India incorporating the history of Hindu chemistry. 
Calcutta, Indian Chemical Society, 1956. 494 p., illus. 


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objects made of local stones and imported lapis 
lazuli and turquoise have been discovered. The 
remnants of high temperature furnaces and fir- 
ing pots are also known. 

Probably during the Vedic period (3000 
- 600 B.C.E.) precious stones were identified 
as jewels (mani) and separated from more 
common materials. The fine polish given to 
rocks, minerals, and gems of the period show 
that the technical art of polishing had reached 
a high level. The process involved garnet and 
corundum grit of decreasing size used to flatten, 
smooth, and finally polish the stones surface. 
Iron and a bronze like alloy of copper and tin 
were discovered late in the period. 

The Harappans developed extensive trade 
within and outside of India. Like the ancient 
cultures of the Middle East they made many 
articles out of metals, semiprecious stones and 
other minerals. India was linked by land 
and sea routes to central Asia, Afghanistan, 
and Iran and is evidenced by the discovery of 
tin, lapis lazuli, turquoise and other minerals 
not native to the Harappan culture at various 
archaelogical sites. 

Indian medicine consisted mainly of drugs 
made from native plants. However, other 
medications employed minerals. Sanskrit texts 
mention the use of bitumen, rock salt, yellow 
orpiment, chalk, alum, bismuth, calamine, 
realgar, stibnite, saltpeter, cinnabar, arsenic, 
sulfur, yellow and red ochre, black sand, and 
red clay in prescriptions. Among the metals 
used were gold, silver, copper, mercury, iron, 
iron ores, pyrite, tin, and brass. Mercury 
appeared to have been the most frequently 
used, and it is called by several names in the 

During the Buddhist period (600 B.C.E.- 
1200 C.E.) the trade routes were extended 
to far away cultures. The Sumerians and 
Egyptians were trading for Indian products. 
Precious stones imported from India were used 
as decorations in the breast plates of their high 
priests. The Minoan, Phoenicians and Cretan 
traders appear to have also had an active 
commercial trade with India. The subcontinent 
was linked by land and sea routes to central 
Asia, Afghanistan, China, and Iran. That 
trading occurred with these regions is shown 

2.11 Ancient India 

by the discovery of lapis lazuli, turquoise, 
and other minerals not native to Indian 
territory. Around 25 B.C.E. the Romans began 
commercial commerce with India that would 
last for centuries. Pliny mentions frequently 
that India is the source of many minerals and 
gems. Various goods desired by the Romans 
and in very great demand included agates, 
onyx, rock crystal chalcedony, bloodstone, 
red jasper, opal, sapphire, ruby, jadeite, 
moonstone, aquamarine, emerald, garnet, 
zircon, pearls, ivory, and diamond. India in 
exchange brought in from the Roman Empire 
copper, lead, arsenic (realgar, orpiment), 
antimony (stibnite), mercury (cinnabar), and 

Gemology (Ratnapariksa) 

India and old Ceylon, an island located off its 
southeast coast, remained throughout ancient 
times and until the eighteenth century the 
single known source for diamonds, emeralds, 
sapphires, and other precious gems. The 
ceaseless commerce that built up around the 
gemstone trade little by little brought about a 
series of rules that guided the Indian merchants 
in estimating the values of gems that evolved 
into a common law of transactions. Stones 
were cataloged, their density measured, as were 
other characteristics like color and sparkle. 
Lists were compiled describing a stones 
qualities and defects. All localities that were 
sources for the gems were also recorded, which 
allowed a detailed comparison to distinguish 
specimens form different locations. 

Later, as skillful forgers made good 
imitation jewels, and it became necessary 
to discover means of recognizing authentic 
gems form other material. The whole of 
observations formed a body of doctrines called 
'ratnapariksa' (appreciation of the gems). The 
oldest mention of ratnapariksa occurs in the 
ancient Kamasatra. 

In the ratnapariksa tradition, colors and 
the places of origin were fully used to catalog 
the qualities, defects, and set a price of the 
stones. It is, however, not clear when this 
general knowledge was formally compiled and 
recorded in a formal treatise. But Finot firmly 
believed that it was well before the Christian 


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2.11 Ancient India 

It would be a mistake to consider the 
ratnapariksd as a simple handbook for the use 
of jewelers. Undoubtedly, it formed a necessary 
tool to one of the chief branches of commercial 
instruction. The skill to examine and judge 
the quality of the gem rough was a valuable 
talent that was vital to creating the best cut 
stones. But the ratnapariksd also formed an 
early method to distinguish gem mineral by 
means of physical properties. 

Knowledge of how the early Indian soci- 
eties viewed precious stones and other miner- 
als is preserved in a few ancient and precious 
Sanskrit manuscripts. Finot in his indispens- 
able Lapidaires Indiens (1896) gives descrip- 
tions and French translations of six of these 
ancient Indian works. Gemology transmit- 
ted through the doctrines of ratnapariksd was 
transmitted in a series of more or less complete 
treatises across several centuries. 

1. — Ratnapariksd of Buddhabhatta 
This work consists of 252 stanzas of a 

varied meters and is attributed to a Buddhist 
named Buddhabhatta. Of this author, nothing 
including the period in which he lived, is 
known. His work appears also not to be 
an original work, but a shortened version 
of an unknown manuscript. The compiler, 
himself, indicates that he is presenting a simple 
summary of the Ratnapariksd that treats the 
principle gems. I 24 ' 

2. — Brhatsamhitd of Varahamihira 
This is also a long fragment of the 

Ratnapariksd. It was compiled by Var a hmihira 
[505-587 c.E.]. Finot believes it to have been 
written using the same source material as the 
work by Buddhabhaita had accessed, because 
based on textual content, neither text was the 
direct source for the other. It enumerates 22 
species of stone of which 16 are common to the 
Buddhabhatta book. Also, the scale of prices 
used to value diamonds differs somewhat in 
the two texts, but the method for determining 
values is identical. This strongly points to 
another Ratnapariksd having once existed that 
was the source for both of these other books, 

I 23 l Finot, Lapidaires Indiens, 1896, p. ?? 
t > Finot, Lapidaires Indiens, 1896, p. vi. 

but which a rather complete summary is given 
by Buddhabhatta and a long fragment by 

These works were themselves used as 
sources, usually with major rewriting and 
almost always unattributed. The Garuda- 
Purana of the thirteenth century contains 
many entries on gemstones without citation. 
Another compilation entitle, Gai-nda-Purana 
also was derivative of the earlier work.! 25 ' 

3. — Agastimata 

The Agastimata is one of the most 
important extant early treatises on precious 
stones. Although generally, it has features 
common with Buddhabhatta's work, the detail 
it offers differs so much, they must be 
regarded as representatives of two states of 
the tradition that have significantly diverged 
from one another. The Agastimata appears, 
therefore, to be a more recent transmission 
of its information, with elaborate descriptions 
and a precise nomenclature. Unfortunately, 
the date of composition of this work can not 
be achieved with any accuracy. Because of 
its description of pearls, Finot says it was 
written well with in the Christian era, and was 
probably composed in southern most India. I 26 l 

4. — Navaratnapariksd 

The Navaratnapariksd is a good summary 
of knowledge of precious stones, written in a 
clear and simple style. It was known by Finot 
in two manuscript recessions, the longest being 
183 stanzas. 

5. — Ratnapariksd of Agastiya 

The Ratnapariksd is known in only a 
single manuscript. It is a compendium 
of approximately 100 stanzas that repeats 
traditional doctrines on the gems. Attributed 
to Agastiya, it is according to Finot original in 
its detail, but is unfortunately corrupted with 
serious gaps in the text. I 27 ! 

6. — Laghu-Ratnapariksd 

The Ratnasangraha is a short summary 
in 22 verses, with each stone the subject of 
two stanzas, the first enumerating the stone's 
qualities, and the other giving the defects. 

I 25 l Finot, Lapidaires Indiens, 1896, p. ?? — 1812 edition. 
I 26 l Finot, Lapidaires Indiens, 1896, p. ?? 
1 27 J Finot, Lapidaires Indiens, 1896, p. ?? 


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2.12 Ancient Greece 

According to Finot, it is in the form of a dialog 
between Civa and P°rvat i discussing the virtues 
of stones. 

2.12 Ancient Greece 

Ancient Greece was the cradle of an early 
and influential civilization. About the sixth 
century B.C.E. the change from a bronze to an 
iron based society brought about many social 
and economic changes, including a general 
reevaluation of the natural world. The science 
of other civilizations such as Babylon and 
Egypt percolated over a long period into 
the Greek philosophy, eventually forming a 
'natural philosophy'. This philosophy was a 
general ordering of knowledge that was quite 
rational in its character. In the important 
Ionian trade center of Miletos located on 
the coast of Asia Minor, where the cultures 
of the surrounding Babylonian and Egyptian 
civilizations commingled, this proto-science 
first developed. In that city about 575 B.C.E. a 
'school' was founded that nurtured several early 
important Greek scientists. Their philosophical 
ideas would form the first nucleus of Greek 

One of the earliest Greek authors who 
incidentally mentioned minerals is Thales of 
Miletos, I 28 ! who wrote that iron ores may 
be found in Lydien. Believing that it was 
alive because it attracted iron, he described the 
magnet as having a soul.! 29 ! This may be 

the earliest record of the magnet, which is a 
natural form of the mineral magnetite. Thales 
also believed that the most important principle 
of the universe was water. Unfortunately no 
writings of his have survived. 

A follower of Thales was ANAXIMAN- 
DROS I 30 ! who wrote a prose work On Na- 
ture (nepi fi-uoea) circa 546 b.c.e., which only 
survives in fragments. The later Greek writer 
Theophrastus who had a copy of the book avail- 
able, says Anaximandros considered philosophy 

[28] Thales [c624-c548 B.C.E.] was an Ionian, with possibly 
some Phoenician ancestry. He is considered one of the 
founders of Greek science and philosophy. He traveled 
extensively for a long period in Egypt, where he learned 
their mathematics and astronomy. 

I 29 l Partington, History of Chemistry, 1971, 1, pt. 1, p. 6-7. 

[ 3 °] Anaximandros of Miletos [610-c545 B.C.E.], an Ionian, 
was a pupil of Thales. 

as a principle of all things indefinite.! 31 ] No 
writings of his have survived. 

AnaximenesI 32 ! followed Anaximandros 
idea of the non-limited in quantity but gave it a 
definite quality that he called 'air' or 'breath'. 
He was not thinking of air in the current sense 
but as an invisible quality that became visible 
only when it combined with fire, water, or 
earth. He thought that air with fire condensed 
to form clouds, water, earth and stones, with 
decreasing density formed. Air was in constant 
motion providing unexpected combinations. 

Recording the ideas and philosophies of 
these early thinkers was also paramount to 
developing a true scientific approach. The 
adoption and reworking by the Greeks of an 
alphabetical writing system first developed in 
Asia Minor about 1200 B.C.E. made it possible 
to preserve and distribute within their society 
all manner of information. Perhaps among 
the first information recorded were the popular 
narratives that were a staple of the Greek oral 
tradition of singers. These tales copied and 
recopied countless times into new manuscripts 
have passed through the ages, preserving some 
of the earliest results of human thought. 

The best of these preserved stories are 
the epic poems attributed to Homer I 33 l who 
flourished about 1000 B.C.E. Homer's books 
known as the Iliad (Hia8) and the Odyssey 
(08vcc£ia) I 34 l are called the "Greek miracle" 
because these magnificent poems mark the 
beginning of European literature. Being as 
they are a history of warfare in Greece, they 

I 31 ! Partington, History of Chemistry, 1971, 1, pt. 1, p. 7- 
8. ■ Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, 
p. 72. 

1 1 Anaximenes of Miletos \fl. 546 B.C.E.] was an Ionian 

t > Homer is considered the greatest epic poet of Greece. 
He may be a composite of several persons, but if he lived 
at all, he was likely a European Greek rather than Ionian, 
because he lived in the ninth century B.C.E., before Asia 
Minor was colonized. He is also said to have been blind. 
Refs. Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, 
p. 52-56. 

P 4 J The editio princeps of the Iliad and the Odyssey "was 
published in Florence in 1488 by Demetrios Chalcondylas. 
There are thousands of other editions, translations, 
abstractions, and commentaries published since then. The 
English translation by A.T. Murray of the Iliad and 
Odyssey in four volumes of the Loeb Library, London, 1919- 
25 is very useful. 


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2.12 Ancient Greece 

implicitly contain descriptions of the earliest 
accounts of knowledge and craftsmanship in 
Europe. They are full of magic and romance, 
containing much on social life, that is at 
once superstitious and moral, and giving an 
account of the beginning of urban life and 
culture. Subordinately, the poems also contain 
references to gems and other stones that were 
either incidental to the story or important 
elements. They provide the earliest record 
of the knowledge possessed by the ancients 
with regard to minerals and the mineralogical 
content of these remarkable literary works have 
been the subject of studies. I 35 ' 

The silver ores of Laurium (Aocupioi)) 
located in the southern region of Attica, 
were known from very early times, perhaps 
even prehistoric, but were first developed into 
mines by the Greek state about 483 B.C.E., 
and exploited for some time afterward.! 36 ] 
The ancient shafts and tools recovered from 
the site have provided valuable insight into 
ancient mining techniques. But the economic 
importance of the minerals recovered from 
these mines was substantial, as it provided 
a large revenue to the Athenian government. 
Being state property that was partitioned 
among the capitalist citizens, the mines were 
worked exclusively by slaves. Sometime after 
480 B.C.E., the revenue was diverted to build 
a fleet of ships that gave naval supremacy to 
Athens. It is also possible that portions of 
the money financed the building of some of the 
famous marble architecture of the city. By the 
last half of the first century B.C.E. the mines 
were exhausted and the tailings were being 
reworked, and by the second century C.E. the 

t > Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Griechen und Romer, 1861, 
p. 1-6. • Aubin Louis Millin [1759-1818]., Mineralogie 
Homerique; ou Essai sur Jes Mineraux, dont il est fait mention 
dans Jes Poemes d'Homere. Strasbourg et Paris, 1790. xiv, 
118 p. • ibid., Mineralogie Homerique, ou Essai Sur Les 
Mineraux, Dont il est fait mention dans Jes Poemes d'Homere. 
Second edition. Paris, 1816. 8, [ix]-xviij, [2], 199, [1] p. 
• ibid. , German transl., Mineralogie des Homer. Konigsberg 
und Leipzig, 1793. 22, [2], 126 p. 

t > Anonymous., "Der Bergbau und die Mineralien von 
Laurion, Griechland," Emserhefte, Halten, Germany, Bode 
Verlad Gmbh., 2-94 (1994), 80 p., illus. • Edouard 
Ardaillon., Les mines du Laurion dans Vantiquite. Paris, 
1897. 218 p., illus. * William Kohlberger., "Minerals of 
the Laurium mines, Attica, Greece," Mineralogical Record, 
7 (1978), 114-125. 

mines were no longer exploited. 

Pythagoras! 37 ] may have been one of 
history's greatest thinkers, but it is difficult 
to say how much of what is attributed to 
him is authentic. He flourished about 530 
B.C.E. and is sometimes seen as a man of 
science, and at other times a disciple of mystic 
ideas. Legends attached to his name at 
an early time and it is now impossible to 
say with certainty much about his life. He 
came from Samos and founded at Kroton, a 
Greek colony in southern Italy, a brotherhood 
including woman that was a combination of 
religion, science, and community. It was viewed 
with suspicion by the surrounding community, 
and Pythagoras and his followers viewed with 
mistrust. Eventually, the group was forced 
to disband, with Pythagoras himself fleeing to 
Metapontion where he is said to have died. 

A mathematical genius, Pythagoras de- 
veloped techniques to solve geometrical prob- 
lems. His most famous solution being called 
the Pythagorem theorem that says the square 
of the length of the hypotenuses of any right tri- 
angle is the addition of the squares of the two 
other sides: a 2 + b 2 = c 2 . He is also credited 
with discovering the numerical ratios that de- 
termine the concordant intervals of the musical 
scale. Pythagoras' focus on applying rigid logic 
to solving real problems was revolutionary. 

An important upswing in mineralogy and 
all other sciences occurred when problems 
were solved by Pythagoras application of 
thought and logic. The Pythagorean school 
viewed the cosmos as five interlocked geometric 
shapes, i.e., cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, 
icosahedron, and pentagonal dodecahedron. A 
viewpoint that for better or worse flowed into 
the following centuries. They saw the earth 
as an ordered unit that could be analyzed, 
dissected, and understood by the human mind. 
This conception that man could decipher the 
secrets of nature was the real, lasting legacy of 
Pythagoras and his school of thought. 

In the classical age, the scientific study of 
minerals as it is thought of in modern terms 
did not exist. Instead, minerals in the classical 

I 3 ' J Pythagoras [ft. 532 B.C.E.] was a native of Samos, and 
was one of the best Greek philosophers and mathematician. 


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2.12 Ancient Greece 

age were more the object of philosophical 
speculation more than laborious observation 
because there were at the time few aids to 
guide the researcher. Besides, the number of 
scientists or natural philosophers in Greece at 
the time was not large, and the majority of 
ideas that have managed to survive to the 
present show more attention to mathematically 
attuned studies like astronomy. Those few 
writings that do mention minerals are usually 
simple mentions of locations of ore deposits 
or simple descriptions of the mineral or metal 
under discussion. Nevertheless mineralogy as 
it developed in ancient Greece experienced an 
important upswing that was not achieved again 
until 2000 years later during the Renaissance. 

Writing in the early eighth century B.C.E. 
HesiodI 38 ! in his Works and Days (Epyoc 
Km rpepm.) I 39 l provides descriptions of 

animal husbandry, naval navigation, a calendar 
of lucky and unlucky days, etc. Hesiod 
conceives of Five World Ages, four of which he 
characterizes by matching them to the metals, 
gold, silver, bronze, and iron. This idea may be 
Babylonian in origin but is none the less very 
interesting. He also references a small selection 
of minerals, including chalk and amber. I 40 ! 

About 440 b.c.e. HerodotosI 41 ! au- 
thored The Persian Wars (llepi youepaeu yev- 
eoudo)! 42 ! in nine books that contains much 
on science and ethnographic lore, including his 

t > Hesiod was born in the first half of the eighth century 
B.C.E. in Ascra, near Mount Helicon in Boeotia. He is 
called the father of Greek didactic poetry. Refs. Sarton, 
Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 57. 

[S9\ ^he editio princeps of the Works and Days was 
published in Milan in 1493 by Demetrios Chalcondylas, 
and a collected edition of his "works appeared from the 
famous Aldine press in 1495. Many other editions have 
appeared. One of the best in English is Hugh Gerard 
Evelyn- White's edition of Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and 
Homerica, London, Loeb Classical Library, 1914. 

t > Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Griechen und Romer, 1861, 
p. 6-7. 

1 41 J Herodotos of Halicarnassos [c484-425 B.C.E.] was a 
Greek historian, and is sometimes called the father of 
history. He traveled extensively throughout the regions of 
the Mediterranean, lived in Samos, then Athens during the 
ascendancy of Pericles. Refs. Sarton, Introduction to the 
History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 105-106. • World Who's Who 
in Science, 1968, p. 789. 

t > The first printed edition was published by Aldo 
Manuzio in Venice in 1502. Many other renditions have 
been published. 

first hand descriptions of a prehistoric Macedo- 
nian lake village and an account of the eclipse in 
the spring of 480 B.C.E. But no eclipse occurred 
in that year! He also gives a long discussion of 
the Nile river and deduced from the presence 
of fossilized shells that lower Egypt was once 
covered by the sea. I 43 ! Scattered through out 
are mentions of a large variety of metals and 
minerals including sources for iron, copper, tin, 
gold, silver, ivory, and amber.! 44 

Thucydides! 45 ] writing about 404 b.c.e. 
mentions the lava fields of Aetna in his 
history of the Peloponnesian War, which he 
witnessed. I 46 l This history is a literary 

classic, in which Thucydides also provides a 
brief account of the evolution of Greek society 
from the earliest times to his own era. 

According to Lenz, I 4 ?] XenophonI 48 ' 

writing about 330 B.C.E. mentions lead ore in 
his Cyropaedia (KtipoTiaiSeia).! 49 ] Empedo- 
CLESl 50 ! describes sulfurous gases emanating 
from certain areas of ground in Sicily, and was 

I 43 ! Geikie, Founders of Geology. London, 1905, p. 7, 28, 
32-33 & 36. 

t > Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Griechen und Romer, 1861, 
p. 7-14. 

I 45 l Thucydides [c460-400/395 B.C.E.], an Athenian, was 
one of the first historians and one of the greatest of all 
times. His is sometimes called the founder of scientific 
historiology. Refs. Sarton, Introduction to the History of 
Science, 1927, 1, p. 106. 

1 1 Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Griechen und Romer, 1861, 
p. 14. 

1 1 Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Griechen und Romer, 1861, 
p. 15-16. 

I 48 l Xenophon [c430-354 B.C.E.] was a Greek natural 
philosopher and historian, who was once a student of 
Socrates. He worked as a mercenary for the Greeks in a 
campaign in Persia. After a defeat he successfully directed 
a retreat of the soldiers back to Greece. He authored a 
number of works in philosophy and history. Refs. Sarton, 
Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 122-123. ■ 
World Who's Who in Science, 1968, p. 1831. 

l 49 J Cyropaedia. First edition, Rome, 1474. A Greek and 
English edition in two volumes is part of the Loeb Library, 

I 50 ! Empedocles [Agrigentum, Sicily, c490-Mt. Etna, 430 
B.C.E.] was a native of a Greek colony located in Sicily. 
He was a follower of Pythagorean philosophy. A political 
leader in Akragas, he helped overthrew a tyrannical ruler, 
but refused the throne when it was offered. He was 
then exiled and he wandered through Greece and other 
Mediterranean regions. In his time, he was considered a 
prophet, miracle worker, poet, and physician. Refs. Sarton, 
Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 87. • World 
Who's Who in Science, 1968, p. 523-524. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

2.12 Ancient Greece 

the first to formulate the concept of nature con- 
sisting of four basic elements: earth, water, fire, 
and water. This would later become a founda- 
tion concept in Plato's and Aristotle's view of 
the physical world. 

Plato! 51 ! was the founder of an academy 
in Athens whose philosophical work was not 
focused on the natural world. Nevertheless, 
his writings on chemistry and other aspects of 
nature including minerals were influential.! 52 ] 
Plato believed that metals formed from water 
solidifying within the intense cold of the 
earth, while other minerals were created from 
combinations of fire and water. However, 
Plato's studies of minerals were very limited, 
and it was left to his most famous pupil to 
explore and expand generally on his teachers 
theories about nature. 

2.12.1 Aristotle 

Aristotle! 53 ! is perhaps the most famous 
of the ancient scholars due to the vast 
scope of disciplines his writings touched upon. 
He was a critic of literature, scientist, and 
philosopher. He also had a strong interest in 

I 51 ! Plato [Athens, Greece, 427/8-Athens, Greece, 347 
B.C.E.] is one of the most famous Greek philosophers. 
Plato was a student of Socrates, and after his execution 
he traveled extensively. He returned to Athens where he 
founded in 387 B.C.E.a school for research that is considered 
the first university. His writings are a staple of learning to 
the present time. 

! ' Edmund O. von Lippmann., Abhandlungen und 
vortrage zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften. Leipzig, 
Veit, 1906-1913. 2 vols. [The volumes contain accounts 
of the chemical knowledge of the ancient authors.] 

1 1 Aristotle [Stagira, Chaldice, near Macedon, Greece, 
384 B.C.E.-Chalcis, Island of Euboea, Greece, 332 B.C.E.] 
was the son of Nicomachus, physician to King Amynas II 
of Macedon. He became a student of Plato, at the Athens 
Academy, 367-347 B.C.E. Afterward he traveled throughout 
the Greek world, especially Asia Minor, 347-342 B.C.E. He 
was appointed by Phillip II of Macedon to be tutor to his 
son (later called Alexander the Great). Aristotle founded 
and was a teacher of the Lyceum (or Peripatos) in Athens, 
335-323 B.C.E. In 323 B.C.E., he retired to Chalcis upon 
death of his guardian, Alexander the Great. He is the 
founder of the systematic study of symbols and logic and 
theory of symbolism which enabled him to develop logic 
as a science. He collected facts about the natural "world 
around him through personal observation. These he then 
recorded in a series of monographs which were handed 
down through manuscript until the invention of printing. 
Aristotle, as a teacher, had great influence on his students, 
with his ideas and ideas attributed to him, becoming the 
cornerstone of western science and philosophy for one and 
a half millennia. Refs. Xxx xxxx xxxx. 

physical science and biology, and authored his 
Meteorlogia (MexecopffiXcoyiKa) that included 
discussions of a number of sciences such as 
astronomy, geology, and seismology, besides 
meteorology. I 54 l It was typical of his 

age that the natural sciences were not yet 
differentiated into individual studies, but part 
of an overall natural philosophy. In this context 
Aristotle developed a concept of how the earth 

Aristotle believed that all physical matter 
was created by various combinations of two 
natural exhalations. They were created when 
the sun warmed the earth. 

1. Vaporous, which is cool and moist, and formed from 
the water and earth. 

2. Windy or smoky, which is hot and dry and formed 
solely by the earth itself. It rises above the more 
watery exhalation and exists in the zone of fire. 

Airs, clouds, lightning are created by the 
exhalations. They also combine with in the 
earth to make bodies. The vaporous forms 
the metals, including the ores, such as iron, 
gold, silver, and copper. The smoky exhalation 
forms the other minerals and fossils. These 
include the insoluble like realgar, ochre, and 
sulfur. He considered most minerals to be made 
of colored dust such as cinnabar. The ductile 
or fusible metals such as gold and copper were 
theorized to form by the entrapment of the 
vaporous exhalation, particularly within stones 
whose dryness compresses and solidifies. 

Aristotle's model also presents heat and 
cold as active qualities. Heat, he said, is of 
three kinds: ripening, boiling, and roasting. 
Cold also consists of three types: rawness, 
scalding, and scorching. These had been used 
by Hippocrates in his On Ancient Medicine. 
which was perhaps Aristotle's source. The 
effects of heat and cold interacting with the two 
exhalations are said to form the whole of the 
physical world. 

Many stones, gold, silver, copper, tin, and 
lead are composed of water and are melted by 
heat. Liquids like water, wine, urine, vinegar 

I 54 l Bibliography 



On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

are made solid by cold. Wood, bone, horn, 
bark, leaves, and vegetables are composed of 
earth in varying proportions, because some of 
these substances are softened by fire, while 
some give of fumes. Semen and blood are 
composed of earth, water, and air. 

Homogenous bodies that include plants, 
animals, and minerals have passive qualities 
that can be used to distinguish them. 
Aristotle lists them as solidifiable, meltable, 
softened by heat or water, flexible, breakable, 
fragmentabale, plastic, ductile, malleable, 
fissible, cuttable, viscous, friable, compressible, 
and combustible. His distinguishing qualities 
thus defined, Aristotle describes the metals and 

The occasional remarks Aristotle makes 
in his writings about minerals and stones 
follow the theory of Empedokles that first 
theorized the four basic elements of earth, air, 
fire, and water that was further developed 
by Plato to say that the metals formed 
distinctive ores because of the fusibility of 
water inside the earth, while the non-metals 
were formed by earth alone. Aristotles' scant 
descriptions of minerals and their formation 
in the Meteorologia was in many respects the 
authoritative text for mineralogy for centuries 
afterward. His conception of minerals was left 
to one of his brightest students to elaborate. 

2.12.2 Theophrastus 

Aristotle's pupil, Theophrastus! 55 ] authored 
a large number of works on both philosophy and 
science. His best know book is the Characters 
(XapaKTipEo) that gives a series of vignettes of 
human characters probably based on Aristotle's 
Ethics. Theophrastus' Plantis (llepi <t>ma>v 
oo/tUDv) and De Lapidibus (llepi XiBccu) are 
his best known scientific works. The later 
work, De Lapidibus or On Stones is the oldest 
treatise dealing exclusively with minerals, and 
it is important not only in the development 

[55] Theophrastus [Ereos, Island of Lesbos, Greece, c371 
B.C.E. -Athens, Greece, 287 B.C.E.] studied at Athens and 
became an ardent supporter of Plato's philosophies. While 
there, he became a pupil and friend of Aristotle, and when 
Aristotle went into exile, Theophrastus succeeded him 
as the leader and principal spokesman of the Peripatetic 
school of philosophy — a leadership he held until his death. 
Refs. Xxx xxxx xxxx. 

2.12 Ancient Greece 

of mineralogy but also in the technology of 
chemistry. I 56 ! 

The text of De Lapidibus is written as 
a series of 69 paragraphs that suggest it 
is a series of lecture notes rather than a 
formal treatise. Some passages contain obvious 
additions that appear to be notes appended 
to the more detailed information. If true, 
It seems possible then that this book is a 
set of lecture notes as the author might have 
delivered them to students in the gardens 
of the Lyceum almost two millennia ago. 
Incredibly, the text of the treatise appears to 
have survived to the present little changed 
from what was originally written. All books 
that have survived from the ancient period 
have made their passage through time by a 
tradition of manuscript copying. Invariably, as 
the scribes copied and recopied manuscripts, 
mistakes were unwittingly introduced. The 
fact that De Lapidibus exists in only a few 
manuscripts that when compared show few 
differences, suggests that Theophrastus' work 
is probably very close to what was originally 

The text gives a Peripatetic view of the 
origin of minerals and stones, and upon this 
foundation suggested by Aristotle and Plato, 
modifications are introduced. Metals are 
said to be composed of water, while stones 
and mineral earths are composed solely of 
earth. A mineral forms because its elementary 
substance has been purified through filtration, 
and its degree of purity can be determined 
by examining such qualities as its smoothness, 
density, luster, and transparency. The primary 
interest in the work are the descriptions of 
specific minerals. Theophrastus divides them 
into two broad categories, Earths and Stones, 
under which about fifty distinct 'species' are 
recognized. A commentary is attached to 
each mineral, where in the author recounts 
various physical properties such as texture, 
color, transparency, hardness, luster, and 
density, as well as the practical uses. Thus 
described, it is possible to apply modern names 

I 56 l Bibliography 



On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

2.12 Ancient Greece 

to the species Theophrastus described over 
eighteen centuries ago, and read the Classical 
theories about marble, pumice, onyx, gypsum, 
amber, pyrite, coal, azurite, chrysocolla, 
realgar, orpiment, cinnabar, quartz, lapis 
lazuli, emerald, sapphire, ruby, and diamond. 

By recording the physical properties of the 
minerals, this work set an high standard for 
other mineralogical writings. Theophrastus is 
in fact the first investigator to methodically 
treat mineral substances for themselves rather 
than for their magical or curative properties, 
and he may be considered the best and most 
accurate mineralogist among the ancients. 

The bodies that formed in the earth owe 
their origin to water (the metals) and others to 
the earth (the stones). 

The mineralogical text of Theophrastus 
was the most substantial written in the 
ancient period. Not until the time of Pliny 
did something comparable appear, but even 
that was based in part on Theophrastus. 
Nevertheless other ancient authorities touched 
upon mineralogical subjects. Apart from the 
philosophical explanations about the origin 
or composition of minerals, localities of ore 
deposits and mines are frequently noted. 
Medical uses of minerals were also an important 
area of study. This shows a trend toward 
overall accuracy. 

2.12.3 Agatharchides 

Agatharchides or Agatharchus,! 57 ! wrote 
works about Asia and Europe, styled on the on 
the writings of Thucydides. Long extracts from 
a work of his about the Red Sea are contained 
in Photius, who appreciated the style of their 
writing as well as their content. He describes 
locations where gold sands may be recovered 
(placer deposits?), as well as lead, salt, and 
some tin.! 58 ! 

2.12.4 Damigeron 

t > Agatharchides of Cnidus, was a Greek historian and 
geographer, who lived in the time of Ptolemy Philometor 
(181-146 B.C.E.) and his successors. 

t > Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 21-22. • Lenz, Geschichte der Griechen und 
Romer Mineralogie, 1861, p. 29-31. • Sarton, Introduction to 
the History of Science, 1927, 1, 11-11. 

Damigeron! 59 ! drew heavily on Pliny 

in his descriptions of stones and minerals, 
when he composed his second century C.E. 
poem, De Virtutibus Lapidum (The Marvelous 
Stones). I 60 ! In his list of stones that 

possess supernatural properties he lists rock 
crystal, diamond, jasper, opal, chrysolith, 
magnet, coral, agate, heamatite, sardoynx, and 
emerald. Other than the charmed properties 
of the stones, little other material is given to 
distinguish the stones. Orpheus' Lithica seems 
to draw heavily on Damigeron's lapidary. I 61 l 

2.12.5 Diodorus Siculus 

A native of Sicily, Diodorus Siculus was a 
Greek historian who authored his Bibliotheca 
Historica (Historical Library) I 62 ! in Greek that 
is thought to have consisted of 40 books, but 
which parts of only 15 have survived. It gives a 
history of the world from its creation to about 
60 B.C.E. Lacking any overall arrangement of 
the descriptions, it is nonetheless a valuable 
collection of materials from many sources that 
are now lost. Among his commentary, he gives 
occasional notes to traveler's that touch upon 
mineral topics. Some of the most interesting 
passages are quotations from Agatharchides on 
mining in Egypt and the recovery of tin in the 
British Isles. He also covers Arabia, Ethiopia, 

1 J Damigeron ... 
[ ] 

[ Biography Needed ] 

[ ] 

I- -I Damigeron et varii ethnicse vetustatis scriptores de 
virtutibus lapidum, (3, pp. 324-335), in: J.B. Pitra, ed., 
Cardinal. Spicilegium Solesmense, 1855. [BL, 3622. c. 2.]. 
• Damigeron., De virtutibus lapidum. The virtue of stones. 
Attributed to Damigeron. Translated by Patricia P. Tahil. 
Edited by Joel Radcliffe. Seattle, Ars Obscura, 1989. 
vii, 75 p., illus., notes. • R. Halleux and J. Schamp., 
Les lapidaires grecs. Lapidaire orphique, kerygmes lapidaires 
d'Orphee, Socrate et Denys, lapidaire nautique, Damigeron- 
Evax. Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1985. xxxiv, 349 p., notes. 

1-1 Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 32. • Mieleitner, Geschichte der 
Miner alogie, 1922, p. ??-??. • Sarton, Introduction to the 
History of Science, 1927, 1, ??-??. 

[62] The first print editions were in Latin, 1472, and in 
Greek in 1539; the first translation into English was by 
Thomas Stocker, London, 1568, and later by G. Booth, 
1700. ... 
[ ] 

f Wanting 1 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

2.12 Ancient Greece 

India, describing large animals, plants, and 
stones. Common of the time, he believed 
that rock crystal is pure water that has been 
frozen to rock by heavenly forces. Emerald and 
aquamarine derive their colors directly from 
heaven while topaz receives its color from the 
sun. He records that amber is found around 
the islands of the north (probably in the Baltic 
sea), and that it floats on the water there. In 
Babylon he describes asphalt where it is used 
as a building material, and describes the alkali 
waters of the dead sea, which are bitter to 
the taste. Locations around the Mediterranean 
and the Near East where precious and other 
ornamental stones are recovered are noted, as 
are metal mines. I 63 ! 

2.12.6 Dioscorides 

The Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorid- 
es I 64 ! is famous for his De Materia 
Medical in five volumes which enumerates 
the plant, animal, and mineral pharmaceutical 
preparations he used in his medical practice. It 
appeared between 50 and 70 C.E., and became 
the model for all modern pharmacopoeias, 
because it focused on the manufacture, 
properties, and testing of drugs. As was 
the case with many Greek medical texts, De 
Materia Medica was treated as dogma for 
many centuries, and in fact Dioscoride's text 
remained a valuable addition to any physician's 
library until about 1600. 

^ 1 Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 22-23. • Lenz, Geschichte der Griechen 
und Romischen Mineralogie, 1861, p. 32-38. • Sarton, 
Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, ??-??. 

[o4] p e danius Dioscorides [c40 in Anazarbus, Cilcia - 
c90] was an ancient Greek physician who worked in the 
Roman empire. He was a pharmacologist and botanist who 
practiced in Rome at the times of Nero. He was a surgeon 
"with the army of the emperor so he had the opportunity 
to travel extensively seeking medicinal substances from 
all over the Roman and Greek "world. Refs. John M. 
Riddle., Dioscorides on pharmacy and medicine. Foreword 
by John Scarborough. Austin, University of Texas Press, 
1985. xxviii, 298 p., illus. • ibid., "Dioscorides," 
(pp. 1-143) in: P.O. Kristeller and F.E. Cranz, eds., 
Catalogus translationum et commentarioum: Medieval and 
Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries, 4, Catholic 
Univiversity of America Press, Washington, 1980. 

I 65 l Bibliography ... 
[ ] 

Wanting 1 

To write his reference, during his lifetime, 
Dioscorides traveled extensively seeking medic- 
inal substances from all over the Roman and 
Greek world. He benefited greatly from the 
ease of travel across wide stretches of territory 
under the control of the Roman Empire at the 
height of its growth. Furthermore, he had ac- 
cess to a large number of medical manuscripts. 
To some extent Dioscorides and Pliny appear 
to have used the same sources for their descrip- 
tions, put Pliny's treatment is the better of the 
two. Dioscorides' work also has some minor ad- 
ditions from Arabian and Indian sources. 

The fifth book of the De Materia Medica 
deals with wine and minerals, and chapters 84 
to 185 contain Dioscorides' descriptions about 
one hundred different preparations derived 
from minerals. I 66 l In addition to most of 

the substances known before, he, so far as 
can be identified, adds schist, cadmia (blende 
or calamine), chalcitis (copper sulphide), misy, 
melanteria, spry (copper or iron sulphide 
oxidation minerals). He describes the making 
of certain artificial products, such as copper 
oxides, vitriol, litharge, pompholyx, and spodos 
(zinc and 1 or arsenical oxides). His principal 
interest for us, however, lies in the processes set 
out for making his medicines. 

2.12.7 Strabo 

The later Grecian writer STRABO,! 67 ! in 

his seventeen volume Geography (GREEK), I 68 ! 
gave full descriptions of all parts of the 
known world. Writing in Greek about 7 
C.E., his fascinating pictures of the history 
and geography of the Roman territories or the 
'Inhabited World' as it was known at the time, 
is particularly interesting for the descriptions 
of the geo-political landscape during the early 
years of the Roman Empire. This was the time 

^ 1 Adams, Birth and Development of Geological Sciences, 
1938, p. 23-24. • Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Griechen und 
Romer, 1861, p. 67-79. 

1 1 Biography ... 

[ ' ] 

[ Wanting ] 

[ }Refs. Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 
1, p. ??-??. 

I 68 ! Bibliography ... 
[ ] 

[ Wanting 1 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
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2.12 Ancient Greece 

in which the emperors Augustus and Tiberius 
prevailed, and as a historian Strabo recorded 
the final collapse of the Roman Republic and 
its replacement with the Roman empire. 

In his great work, Strabo frequently 
mentions mines and minerals, with his greatest 
interest directed to the silver mines located in 
Spain, and then under Roman control.! 69 ] 

2.12.8 Physiologos! 70 ] 

The Physiologos or Physiologus is a kind of 
bestiary containing descriptions after a fixed 
plan for each animal, plant or stone: a 
Biblical account, then the 'wonder' stories, and 
finally the allegorical-mythical interpretation. 
It was supposed to have been written in 
Alexandria but the original was more likely 
composed about 254-380 C.E. in Caesarea, 
perhaps by a Palestinian Jew under Syrian 
influences. The basis was a zoological work 
of the First Century C.E., which was also 
used by the author of the Kyranides. It 
contains many ideas showing Middle East and 
Oriental influences, particularly with regard 
to the magical, mystical and superstitious 
character of the natural objects described. 
Works such as the Physiologos were regarded 
as important in the early Christian Church for 
explaining nature through the Bible, although 
its references to magic contained in magic 
Indian stones, agates detecting pearls, the 
magnet, male and female igniting and ignitable 
stones, and the diamond, caused the Church of 
later centuries concern. 

Written in Greek, the original Physiolo- 
gus (Greek for "The Naturalist") described the 

^ 1 Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 25-27. • Lenz, Geschichte der Greichen 
und Romischen Mineralogie, 1861, p. 49-67. 

^ 1 Other information may be found in: Karl Ahrens., 
Zur Geschichte des sogenannten Physiologus. Ploen, 1885. 
• ibid., Buch der Naturgegenstande. Kiel, C.F. Haeseler, 
1892. 84 p. [A Syriac version of the Physiologus, with 
German translation. "Textverbesserungen von Prof. Dr. 
G. Hoffmann".] • F.N.M. Diekstra., "The Physiologus, 
the Bestiaries, and Medieval Animal Lore," Neophilogus, 
69 (1985), no. 1, 142-155. * isis, 14 (1930), 428. • 
M.R. James., "The Bestiary," History, 26 (1931), 1-11. • 
Krumbacher, Geschichte Byzantinischen Litteratur, 1897, p. 
874-877. • Friedrich Lauchert., Geschichte des Physiologus. 
Strassburg, Karl J. Truebner, 1889. 328 p. • Partington, 
History of Chemistry, 1971, 1, pt. 1, 248-249. • Sarton, 
Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, 300. • 
Thorndike, History of Magic, 1, p. 490. 

characteristics of animals and birds-both real 
and fantastical- and provided allegorical inter- 
pretations of the characteristics enumerated. 
It has been described as a "kind of naturists 
scrapbook" containing a compilation of animal 
description, lore, and myth. Accreted to it 
through the years were descriptions of other 
natural objects including plants and stones, as 
well as Biblical citations. In short, the Phys- 
iologus is best described as the "great source- 
book of Christian nature symbolism," in which 
nature is not treated as an object of scientific 
study, but as a metaphor for Christianity and 
for God. For instance, the Eagle soaring to the 
sky and plunging into a cool well becomes an al- 
legory for baptism, while the descent of the lion 
from the hilltop becomes an allegory for Christs 
descent to Earth. In this sense, visibilia (ani- 
mals) were thought to reflect invisibilia (God). 
With its diverse roots in Eastern Mediter- 
ranean lore, Classical natural history, Judeo- 
Christian exegesis, the Physiologus became im- 
mensely popular all over the world and was 
subsequently translated into a diversity of lan- 
guages: Ethiopian, Armenian, Syriac, Arabic, 
Latin, Russian, Flemish, Provencal, Old En- 
glish, Middle English, Icelandic, and many oth- 
ers. It has been said that no other book except 
the Bible has ever been so widely distributed 
among so many people and for so many cen- 
turies as the Physiologus. 

2.12.20 Xenocrates 

A lapidary authored by a certain XENOCRATES 
appeared during the time of Nero in the first 
century C.E. Incidental evidence in citations 
from this work contained in Pliny's Natural 
History indicates that the author was still alive 
in 77 C.E. Lost in time the actual author is 
somewhat of a quandary. 

Pliny in the list of works he has cited in 
writing his Natural History indicates in his first 
book that a Xenocrates Zenonis is the source 
for books 34, 35, and 37, and a Xenocrates 
Ephesius as a source for books 12 and 13 on 
botanical matters. However, since Pliny also 
quotes a Xenocrates Ephesius as an authority 
on rock crystal in his book 37, it seems that 
these citations refer to the same Xenocrates and 
may be combined to form Xenocrates, the son 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

2.12 Ancient Greece 

of Zenon, from Ephesos. Ullmann believes that 
this was the author of the lapidary Pliny cites. 

Other authorities such as Wellmann and 
Wirbelauer believe that the author refered to 
was a Greek physician, who worked during the 
first century of the Roman period, Xenocrates 
of Aphrodisias, who flourished circa 70 C.E. 
in Rome.! 71 ! He wrote books on food and 

drugs, especially interesting for their recitation 
of many ancient superstitions and occult 
remedies, however, most of these survive only 
in fragments or are incorporated in other extant 
works. He is blamed by Galen for making use 
of strange remedies invloving human brains, 
flesh, liver, urine, excrement, etc. Perserved 
by Oribasius, his De Alimento ex Aquatilibus 
gives an interesting record of the state of 
natural history during his time. The first 
edition of this book was printed in Greek with 
a Latin translation by Bishop Janus Dubravius, 
and published in 1559. I 72 ! There were three 
later editions that are revised and better texts 
by J.G.F. Franz (Francofurti, 1779), I 73 ! A. 
Conray (Neapoli, 1794), I 74 l and A. Koraes 
(Paris, 1814). I 75 l 

Whoever the actural author may have 
been, the Lithognomon (AiSoyvcDjiCDv) of 

1 J Biographical information may be found in: Hazel, 
Who's Who in the Greek World, 2000, p. ??. • Michaud, 
Biographie Universelle, ??, p. ??-??. • Smith, Dictionary of 
Greek and Roman Biography, 1849, 3, p. 1294. 

1 1 Janus Dubravius [cl486-1533]., De piscinis et piscium 
qui in eis aluntur naturis libri quinque ... Item Xenocratis De 
alimento ex aquatilibus Graece & Latine nunc primum aeditus, 
cum scholiis Conradi Gesneri. Zurich, 1559. [14], 136 p.; 
[69] p., illus. 

! 1 Xenocrates, of Aphrodisias, edited by Johann Georg 
Friedrich Franz [1737-1789]., Peri tes apo enydron trophes. 
Cum Latina interpretatione LB. Rasarii et Conradi Gesneri 
scholiis animadversionibusque illustravit atque glossarium 
adiecit G.F. Franzivs. Francofurti, 1779. 

! ' ibid., Xenocratis De alimento ex aquatilibus, cum 
latina interpretatione Jo. Bapt. Rasarii, scholiis Conradi 
Gesneri, & notis integris Jo. Friderici Franzii. Accedunt 
novae variantes lectiones ex codd. mss. depromtae, & 
animadversiones Diamantis Coray nunc primum editae; 
itemque adnotationes in auctorem, additamenta in 
glossarium Franzii hodiernam ichthyologiam illustrantia, & 
lucubratio de piscium esu Caietani de Ancora. Neapoli, 
Typis Regiis, 1794. xlviii, 266, [2] p. 

I 75 ! ibid., edited by Adamantios Koraes [1748-1833]., 
Xenokratous kai Galenou Peri tes apo ton enydron trophes Hois 
prostepheintai semeioseis kai ta peri tes ekdoseos prolegomena. 
Parisioi, I.M. Everartos, 1814. [4], xl, 245, [1] p. 

Xenocrates is a typically synthetic work that 
combines mineralogical knowledge of different 
sources and of different centuries.! 76 ] It 

includes in the stone descriptions a variety of 
details including color, action of light, size, and 
other characteristics of appearance. Localities 
are noted and include countries like Italy, 
Spain, Sicily, Greece, Cyprus, Libya, Egypt, 
Arabia, Syria, and India. Uses to which the 
stones are put are mentioned. Xenocrates 
also makes plentiful use of magical properties 
and superstitions especially in his discussions 
of the medical uses of the stones that mostly 
originated in eastern lapidaries. It was 
extensively copied and quoted by contemporary 
and later authors, such as the fore mentioned 
Pliny, who Wellmann thinks derived his catalog 
of gems in Book 37 directly from Xenocrates. 
Julius Solinus in his third century Collectanea 
Rerum Memorabilium, Damigeron in the fifth 
century De Virtutibus Lapidum, and Isidor 
of Sevilla in Book 16 of his late sixth century 
Etymologie probably also made use of the 
Lithognomon in their treatment of stones and 
minerals. Thus the text was widely available 
during the Middle Ages. 

Although the complete text of Xenocrates 
still existed in Byzantium in the 13th century, 
it is today lost. Therefore, identifying the text 
of the stone book has been only a relatively 
new development. The most recent research 
has been done by Ullmann, who identified and 
reconstituted portions of the original text using 
several early lapidary manuscripts.! 77 ] This 
amounts to only about 14 long quotations and 
other fragments from the Lithognomon that 

! 1 Additional information may be found in: Meier, 
Gemma Spiritalis, 1977, p. 62-63. • Meyer, Geschichte 
der Botanik, 1855, 2, p. 55-58. • Partington, History of 
Chemistry, 1971, 1, pt. 1, p. 189. • Sarton, Introduction to 
the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 261. • Manfred Ullmann., 
Natur und Geheimwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 10-11 
and p. 98-100. • ibid., "Xenokrates," (cols. 974-977) in: 
Georg Wissowas, ed., Paulys Realencyclopadie der Classischen 
Alterumswissenschaft. Miinchen, 1974, supplement, vol. 14. 
• Max Wellmann., "Xenokrates aus Aphrodisias," Hermes, 
42 (1907), p. 614-629. • ibid., Die Stein und Gemmenliteratur 
des Altertums, 1935, p. 102-104. 

l''\ Manfred Ullmann., "Das Steinbuch des Xenokrates," 
Medizinhistorisches Journal, 7 (1972), p. 49-64. • ibid., 
"Neues zum Steinbuch des Xenokrates," Medizinhistorisches 
Journal, 8 (1973), p. 59-76. 


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2.14 The Roman Period 

have been perserved in other works. 
2.12.21 Galen 

Galen! 78 ! was authored a large number of 
books (some sources say 500), many of which 
are still extant as either fragments or complete 
treatises. He was an authority in many fields 
medical including anatomy, physiology, embry- 
ology, pathology, therapeutics, and pharmacol- 
ogy. With respect to mineral studies, he fo- 
cused on the pharmaceutical uses to which min- 
erals and stones could be applied. In his De 
Simplicium Medicamentarum Temperamentis 
et Facultatibus (Simple Medicines), I 79 ! to- 
gether with medications prepared from plants 
and animals, he describes ointments and reme- 
dies made from various minerals; however, lit- 
tle appears to be original to Galen in his 
mineral prescriptions, with the recipes be- 
ing repeated from earlier authorities, such as 
DioscuridesJ 80 ! 

2.14 The Roman Period! 81 ! 

I- -I Galen (born in Pergamum 129; died at the age 
of 70), anatomist, physician, philosopher, was the 
greatest physician of antiquity after Hippocrates. He 
dissected numerous animals, but very few human bodies; 
discovered a large number of new facts in the fields of 
anatomy, physiology, embryology, pathology, therapeutics, 
pharmacology. He made various physiological experiments, 
e.g., to determine the mechanism of respiration and 
pulsation, the function of the kidneys, of the cerebrum, 
and of the spinal cord at different levels. He proved 
experimentally that arteries contain and carry blood; that 
it suffices to divide even a small artery to drain away all 
the blood of the body in half an hour or less;' that the 
right auricle outlives the rest of the heart. He gave a 
semirational (physiological) interpretation of dreams and 
had some notion of their medical interest. His chief 
merit consists in having systematized and unified Greek 
anatomical and medical knowledge and practice. He was a 
very prolific, clear, and vigorous writer. Refs. Xxx xxxxxx 
xx xxx xxxx. Xxx xxxxxx xx xxx xxxx. Xxx XXXXXX XX 
xxx xxxx. Xxx xxxxxx xx xxx xxxx. Xxx XXXXXX XX xxx 

I 79 ! Bibliography ... 

[ ' ] 

[ Wanting ] 

[ 1 

l 80 l Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 49. • Partington, History of Chemistry, 
1971, 1, pt. 1, p. 192-200. • Lenz, Mineralogie der alten 
Greichen und Romischen, 1861, p. 116, 179. • Sarton, 
Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. ??-??. • 
Thorndike, History of Magic, 1923, 1, p. 125-132. 

[° 1 l For further information on Roman science generally 
see: Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, 
throughout the volumes. 

The Roman Empire developed in the first 
century B.C.E., and covered the entire land 
mass surrounding the Mediterranean including 
the ancient civilization of Greece and its 
various colonies. However, the Romans 

lacked the versatility, many-sidedness and 
imaginative power of the Greeks. These 
were qualities imported from the Greeks and 
elsewhere, where scientific study, especially 
medicine was still studied. The eminent 
qualities of the Romans are sober and acute 
thought, and firmness and perseverance of 
will. Their intellect was directed to the 
practical, and sometimes degenerated into 
egotism and cunning, just as their perseverance 
often turned into obstinacy and pedantry. In 
the domain of state and law these qualities 
accomplished great and enduring results, while 
they were decidedly unfavorable to art and 
literature. This is generally seen in their 
scientific thought. Few theoretical studies 
are recorded by the Latin writers. Their 
bent is towards practical applications. The 
preeminent scientific writer among all ancient 
Roman writers on mineralogy is, as in so 
many other subjects, is of course, Pliny, hi 
fact, except for some few lines by other Latin 
authors, there is practically little else in extant 
Roman literature of technical interest, for 
the metallurgical metaphors of the poets and 
orators were threadbare by this time, and do 
not excite so much interest as upon their first 
appearance among the Greeks and Hebrews. 

2.14.1 Lucretius 

The Roman LUCRETIUS I 82 l composed about 
57 B.C.E. his De Rerum Natura (On the 
Nature of the Universe), a philosophical poem 
of epic proportions.! 83 ] When he died 

I 82 l Titos Lucretius Carus (Born: c99; Died: 15 October 
55 B.C.E.) was a Roman poet and the author, but nothing 
else is certain of his life. 

1 1 Facsimiles of the two fundamental manuscripts, both 
of the ninth century and both kept in Leiden, have 
been published, with introductions by Em. Chatelain, 
Codex Vossianus oblongus. Leiden, 1908.; Codex Vossianus 
quadrates. Leiden, 1913. • Editio princeps, Brescia (cl473). 
• First scientific edition, Lachmann (1850) and elaborate 
commentary by the same (3d ed., Berlin, 1868; 4th ed., 
1871). • H.A.J. Mumo, De Rerum Natura. 3 vols., 4th ed., 
London, 1905-1910. [Vol. I, Text; Vol. II, Notes; Vol. Ill, 
English translation. A full account of earlier editions "will 


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2.14 The Roman Period 

the composition was left unfinished but the 
beauty of the poetry nevertheless quickly made 
the work very popular throughout the Roman 
Empire. Its style is sincere and earnest, and 
the verse is written in good Latin. As a result, 
the text, except for a few lines, has survived to 
the present day in a nearly complete form. 

This epic undertakes a full and completely 
naturalistic explanation of the physical origin, 
structure, and destiny of the universe. It is an 
amazing account of the positive knowledge of 
his time (Greek knowledge of course) and of the 
atomic theory, together with a few prophetic 
views (e.g., vague anticipation of the theory of 
natural selection). Lucretius's chief purpose 
was to suppress superstition by elevating 
deduction through reason. In all of science, 
including mineralogy, Lucretius' theories on the 
atomic structure of matter and the evolution 
of life formed basic ideas from which much 
of western philosophy and science gained 
inspiration until the late Renaissance.! 84 ] 

2.14.2 Vitruvius 

Marcus Vitruvius I 85 ! is the author of 
the famous treatise De Architectura (On 

be found in Vol. I]. • Lucretius, Epicurean and Poet. London, 
1907-1909. 2 vols., 710 p. [This is the most elaborate study 
available; it deals with the life and times of Lucretius, his 
philosophic ideas and scientific knowledge, their sources, 
and their influence in later times down to our own.] • 
William A. Merrill's edition with introduction and notes 
(New York, 1907) is also excellent. 

^ 1 John Masson., The Atomic Theory of Lucretius, 
Contrasted with Modern Doctrines of Atoms and Evolution. 
London, 1884. 264 p. • Partington, History of Chemistry, 
1971, 1, pt. 1, p. 138-148. • Sarton, Introduction to the 
History of Science, 1927, 1, 205-206. 

I 85 ! Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born ca 80/70 BC?; died 
ca. 25 BC) was a Roman writer, architect and engineer, 
active in the first century B.C.E. Little is known about 
his life. Even his first name Marcus and his cognomen 
Pollio are uncertain. They are only mentioned by Cetius 
Faventinus. Most data about his life are extracted from his 
own work. He was born as free Roman citizen, most likely 
at Formiae in Campania. He is believed to have served in 
the Roman army in Spain and Gaul under Julius Caesar. 
He was probably one of the army engineers, constructing 
war machines for sieges. In later years he was employed by 
his sponsor, the emperor Augustus, entitled with a pension 
to guarantee his financial independence. His date of death 
is unknown, which suggests that he had enjoyed only little 
popularity during lifetime. Refs. B. Baldwin., "The Date, 
Identity, and Career of Vitruvius," Latomus, 49 (1990), p. 
425-434. * DSB, 15, p. 514-521. • Indra Kagis McEwen., 
Vitruvius: Writing the Body of Architecture. New York, MIT 
Press, 2004. 

Architecture), which is divided into 10 books. 
Contrary to what the title might suggest the 
work is not simply a comprehensive treatise 
on architecture but is also an encyclopedia of 
building technology during the Roman era, as 
well as a cornucopia of scientific knowledge. 
He discussed sound as a vibrating motion in 
the air, gives the earliest formula for hydraulic 
cement, and describes the importance of 
hygiene and regular bathing. 

With respect to rocks and minerals 
Vitruvius discusses at great length the virtues 
and problems of various building materials 
including marble, limestone, and granite. He 
gives information on quarrying methods and 
locations where the most suitable rock can 
be found. He also knows that rocks have 
different strengths, which should be taken into 
account in building design. Vitruvius also 
discusses a variety of mortars and cements, 
the mineral materials required for each of their 
manufacture, and what application each is best 
suited forJ 86 ! 

2.14.4 Seneca! 87 ! 

Lucius Annaeus Seneca! 88 ! was the leader 
of Stocism in Rome. His Naturales Quaes- 
tiones (Natural Questions) are a collection of 
questions and answers on matters related to the 
natural and physical sciences from the atom- 
istic viewpoint. I 89 ! Only seven books of the 

1 I Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 35-36. • Lenz, Mineralogie der alten 
Greichen und Romischen, 1861, p. 40-46. • Sarton, 
Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. ??-??. 

[°'\ Thomas G. Rosenmeyer., "Seneca and Nature," 
Arethusa, 33 (2000), no. 1, p. 99-119. • Martin 

von Schanz., Geschichte der romischen Litteratur his zum 
Gesetzgebungswerk des Kaisers Justinian. Miinchen, 1904- 
1935, §???. 

^ 1 Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Born: Cordova, Spain, 4 
B.C.E.; Died: 65 C.E.) was a Roman writer, philosopher, 
the leader of Stoicism in Rome, statesman, and scientist. 

I 89 ! Editio princeps (Naples, 1475). Critical edition in 4 
vols, by Hermes and others (Leipzig, 1898-1907; Vols. I- 
III republished 1905-1914; vol. II contains the Naturalium 
quaestionum libri VIII (only 7 books are extant) edited 
by Alfred Gercee, 326 p., 1907). English translation by 
John Clarke, with notes by Sir Archibald Geikie (422 p., 
London, 1910. Particularly interesting from the geological 
and meteorological standpoint). • Christian Beyer, et al., 
"Die Naturales Quaestiones von Lucius Annaeus Seneca. 
Eine kommentierte Bibliographie," Nachrichten aus dem 
Institut fur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Mathematik 


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2.14 The Roman Period 

complete work are extant, and most of that 
is given over to celestial phenomena. Book 
1 discusses 'lights' or fires in the atmosphere; 
Book 2, lightning and thunder; Book 3 con- 
cerns bodies of water. Seneca's method is to 
survey the theories of major authorities on the 
subject at hand and his work is therefore a re- 
warding guide to Greek and Roman thinking 
about the heavens. Book 4 discusses hail and 
snow; Book 5, winds; Book 6, earthquakes; and 
Book 7, comets. It is a work of philosophical — 
rather than scientific — remarks about natural 
phenomena. It offers no great originality but 
gives an insight into ancient theories of cos- 
mology, meteorology, and similar subjects. He 
is also the first writer to express belief in the 
progress of knowledge. 

His Quaestiones Naturales are a collection 
of physical, astronomical, geographical, geo- 
logical, and meteorological questions explained 
from the atomistic point of view. They contain 
hardly anything which is really original, but ex- 
erted a great influence throughout the Middle 
Ages. Special mention must be made of his ac- 
count of the earthquake which did much dam- 
age in Campania on February 5, 63-the earliest 
detailed account of an earthquake. This led 
him to discuss earthquakes and volcanic phe- 
nomena. He distinguished three kinds of mo- 
tion in quakes (succussio, inclinatio, and vibra- 
tio). Seneca was the first to express a belief 
in the progress of knowledge (not the progress 
of humanity); this idea of progress is unique 
in ancient literature. Earlier monographs of 
Seneca on India and Egypt and on earthquakes 
are lost. I 90 ! 

Seneca was one of the most important 
and prolific writers of his day, both in prose 
and in verse. Ten books of ethical essays 
(miscalled 'Dialogi) survive on subjects such 
as anger, the constancy of the Stoic sage, 
and tranquillity of mind. Three of them are 
consolationes to the bereaved. He presented 

und Technik, Hamburg, 22 (1992), 22-35. 

^ 1 Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 47-8. • Geikie, Founders of Geology, 1905, 
p. ?? • Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Greichen und Romischen, 
1861, p. 47-48. • Partington, History of Chemistry, 1971, 1, 
pt. 1, p. 166. • Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 
1927, 1, p. ??. 

to Nero, early in his reign, a treatise called 
De Clementia in which he commended this 
quality to the autocrat. It is possible that 
Shakespeare had it in mind when composing 
Portias great speech on the quality of mercy. 
He also wrote the De Beneficiis in seven 
books. His Naturales Quaestiones, eight books 
on physical science, achieved great popularity. 
The Epistolae Morales of which 124 survive 
give philosophical and ethical advice to a 
friend. He is almost certainly the author of 
the Apocolocyntosis, a bitter satire on the 
deification of Claudius. Seneca also wrote 
nine tragedies on Greek mythological subjects, 
designed to be recited or read rather than 
acted. They are somewhat melodramatic and 
violent ,and had an influence on Elizabethan 
and Jacobean tragedy in England out of all 
proportion to their merits. 

2.14.5 CatoP 1 ] 

The Roman statesman, moralist, and farmer 
Marcus Porous Cato, or Cato the 
Censor was born at Tusculum, 234 b.c.e., 
and died in Rome in 149 B.C.E. . He 

wrote in his old age a treatise on farming, 
gardening, fruit-growing, etc. De Agriculture 
that was the first book on the subject in 
Latin. It also contained valuable information 
on Roman medicine (empirical and magical). 
He was violently opposed to Greek medicine 
and philosophy. Among the facts incidentally 
quoted by Cato, is the earliest mention for 
ordinary mortar and the earliest description of 
a bain-marie. 

In the De Re Rustica cement, calx, silex, 
breccia and salt are mentioned. Cato also 
describes methods for extracting salt from sea 
water. I 92 l 

Cato the Censor is so called to distinguish 
him from his equally illustrious great-grandson, 
Cato of Utica. As the latter is one of the 
noblest figures of Roman times and will not 
be mentioned elsewhere in this Introduction, 

1 1 Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 48. • Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Greichen 
und Romischen, 1861, 28-29. • Sarton, Introduction to the 
History of Science, 1927, 1, p. ??. 

1 1 Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Greichen und Romischen, 
1861, 28-29. 


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2.14 The Roman Period 

it is proper to say a few words about him in 
this place. Born in 95, bred as a Stoic, leader 
of the aristocratic party ultimately defeated 
by Caesar, his political career was outwardly 
a succession of failures, but he gave such 
admirable proofs of moral strength and virtue 
that his life will ever remain a source of 
inspiration. In 46, his task being accomplished, 
he committed suicide at Utica (hence his name 
in order not to fall into the hands of Caesar. 
Cicero, Caesar, and Plutarch have told and 
discussed his life. 

Ed. Thramer: Cato Censorius and die 
Griechenmedizin (Mitteil. zur. Gesch. d. 
Medizin, t. 14, p 404-405 1915. A short note 
to point out that the medical ideas which Cato 
opposed to the Greek ideas were probably also 
of Greek origin) . 

2.14.7 PlinyP 3 ! 

Plinius Secundus, perhaps better known by 
the modernized Pliny the Elder was born 
in Nova Coma, Italy in 23 or 24 B.C.E. At 
an early age he was sent to Rome for his 
education. He eventually entered the military 
service. His career is only known in general 
outline, but Pliny probably served during the 
Germanic Wars, of which he wrote a now lost 
20 book history. He came to the attention of 
the Emperor and was appointed to a succession 
of administrative posts in territories of present 
day Spain, Germany, France, and north Africa. 
At the end of his civil career Pliny was made 
commander over the Roman fleet stationed at 
Misenum. From there he set out to witness 
firsthand the major volcanic eruption of Mt. 
Vesuvius located near the bay of Naples. While 
observing the eruption he got too close and was 
as suffocated by the vapors from the eruption. 
He died near the volcano at Stabiae in August, 
79 C.E. 

Pliny must have been one of the most 
widely read scholars of antiquity, as well as its 
most industrious researchers, because he held 
the opinion that no book was so poor that it 
did not yield something of interest. His nephew 

1 1 Other information may be found in: Martin von 
Schanz., Geschichte der romischen Litteratur bis zum 
Gesetzgebungswerk des Kaisers Justinian. Miinchen, 1904- 
1935. [Article, "Plinius Secundus", §490.] 

and editor, Pliny the Younger, in his Epistolae 
preserves an interesting sketch of his uncle, 
saying that he was in his leisure continuously 
reading. Even during meals and baths books 
were read aloud to him. Throughout his 
long and distinguished career he was always 
accompanied by his own large library, and an 
even larger collection of excerpts he had copied 
from books he did not own. A stenographer 
was always nearby so that any dictation Pliny 
wished to give was recorded. Even though he 
lead a very busy and active life, Pliny was able 
through great focus to collect a large number of 
'facts' that allowed him to write a large number 
of works, but of which only one has survived. I 94 ' 
It is said that in the middle of his life, he was 
offered a princely sum of money for his library 
and excerpts, but that he could not part with 
his treasure. Instead Pliny extended it with 
further excerpts. The nephew records in his 
Epistolaeih&t after his uncle's death more than 
160 complete books were found in his library. 
Certainly, these were the foundation references 
for Pliny's greatest and single surviving work. 
Pliny set as a goal to compile an 
encyclopedia of the entire range of natural 
science. So broad would his treatment be in 
the Historia Naturalis that even none obvious 
studies like medicine, art and geography would 
be represented. By 77 C.E. the work had 
come to a conclusion of sorts, with his material 
categorized into thirty-six books. Adding a 
foreword in which the contents of the other 
books are given, Pliny presented the work to 
Titus, so that in essence the work was complete 
in thirty-seven books. In the original layout, 
the list of sources for each of the books was 
given at the start of each book. This was 
contrary to many other ancient authors that 
concealed what sources they used. In fact, in 
his foreword Pliny openly expresses his debt to 
the authors from whom he copied his material. 
Soon after he presented the volume, Pliny was 
appointed commander of the fleet. However, 
he apparently continued to add new material 
to the work up to his unexpected death. The 
nephew, Pliny the Younger, inherited all of 
his uncle's literary compositions, including the 

I 94 ! Lost books 


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2.14 The Roman Period 

Historia Naturalis. The nephew, did some 
superficial editing of the manuscript, probably 
making only a structural change that collected 
together all of the original sources into a single 
list that was placed at the end of the foreword 
in the first book. The remainder of the work 
maintained its original structure of thirty-six 
books, and that is how the text has come down 
to the present. 

Book Description and foreword. 

1 Table of contents and list of sources. 

2 Mathematical and physical description of the world. 
3-6 Geography. 

7 Anthropology and physiology of man. 
8-11 Zoology. 
9 Fish. 

10 Birds. 

11 Insects. 
12-27 Botany. 

28-32 Medical zoology. 

33-37 Mineralogy, especially applied to life and art. 

The enterprise that Pliny dedicated 
himself to was certainly large. Nobody 
before him, including any of the Greeks, had 
attempted what Pliny executed. Only an iron 
will and great diligence could create such a 
grandiose work, the single most comprehensive 
compendium of science that exists from ancient 
times. The author read and excerpted many 
authors indeed for his extraordinary book; 
however, this activity was exhausting. No time 
remained for him to think about what he was 
copying into his Historia Naturalis. Therefore, 
a deeper understanding or even mild criticism 
in the material Pliny presents is absent. All his 
facts have an equal weight, regardless of how 
fabulous the claim. It is a work that can be 
regarded only as a compilation. 

Pliny himself says the book contains some 
20,000 facts collected from 2,000 works by 100 
select authors, the most important single source 
being Varro. These numbers are, however, 
undercounted since no fewer than 146 Roman 
and 327 foreign authors are cited in the text. 
He includes everything with no attempt to 
verify even the most outlandish and improbable 
'facts'. Thus he appears to be more of an 
avid cataloger rather than a modern scientific 
researcher. Yet, his work is one of the most 

valuable that has survived from the classical 
period because it quotes works and authors 
that are today only known from their inclusion 
in the Historia Naturalis. This is true of Pliny's 
treatment of mineralogical topics as well. 

From no other ancient writer do we have as 
much mineralogical data as we do from Pliny, 
and probably this fact has over emphasized his 
contribution to ancient mineral studies. Next 
to Theophrastus, however, Pliny gives the most 
important mineralogical information of the 
ancient period, and after it appearance little 
in the way of important scientific mineralogical 
data are giving in antiquity. The works of 
the following centuries describe minerals almost 
exclusively from their occult or medical value, 
which although interesting provide no real 
scientific value. I 95 l 

The influence Pliny's encyclopedia exerted 
in later times was immense. It was often 
copied in whole with a substantial number of 
early manuscripts still survive. It was also 
the principle source for two other later works: 
Solinus' Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium 
of the middle third century, later used by 
Isidore of Seville, and the so called Medicinia 
Plinii from the start of the fourth century 
that excerpted and rearranged Pliny's medical 
information. In addition the encyclopedists of 
the Middle Ages frequently drew on Pliny for 
their material. 

2.14.8 Suetonius 

The most important literary character of 
his time, SUETONIUS I 96 ! compiled among 

other works, a miscellany, called the Prata 
(Meadows) that dealt chiefly with Roman 
antiquities and natural sciences (laws, customs, 
winds, seas, animals, plants, and minerals), 
of which only a small fragment is extant. 
Unfortunately, nothing of its mineralogy 
survives. I 97 ! 

^ J Lenz, Mineralogie der alten Greichen und Romischen, 
1861, p. 79-173. • Sarton, Introduction to the History of 
Science, 1927, 1, p. 249-251. • Teuffel, History of Roman 
Literature, 1892, §312. 

1 96 J Caius Suetonius Tranquillus (Born: c75 C.E.; Died 
cl60 C.E.) was a Roman historian and polygraph. 

1 1 Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, 
p. 284. • Teuffel, History of Roman Literature, 1892, §347. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.0 Medieval Mineralogy 

2.14.9 Solinus 

In the third century, the Roman grammar- 
ian and historian Caius Julius Solinus I 98 l 
compiled his Collectanea Rerum Memorabil- 
ium (Collection of Curiosities) that contains 
a broad description of the ancient world, with 
many remarks on the natural history, religion, 
and social issues of his time.!"] Solinus does 
not name his sources, but the greater part of 
the text, which is arranged on a geographical 
plan, is mainly derived from Pliny's Natural 
History and the geography of Pomponius Mela. 

The author begins his work with a very 
valuable section that gives a description of 
the mythical prehistory of the establishment 
of the Roman Republic by Romulus after the 
Etruscan rulers were conquered. He continues 
the history to the time of Augustus. A general 
treatise on humanity follows that treats the 
peoples of Italy, Greece, Germania, Gallica, 
Britannia, and Hispania, the last also has 
details of northern Africa. Asia, Arabia, 
Egypt, Syria, the Near East, and India are 
also described. The author wanted to maintain 
the readers attention and therefore paid special 
attention to the peculiarities of the people 
and places discussed. Solinus peppers his 
commentary with anecdotal information about 
the land, animals, plants, and minerals of 
the various regions. Descriptions of several 
dozen precious stones, which come from Pliny, 
are interspersed throughout the work with 
placement under the countries where the stones 
are supposed to be found. Later, in the 
sixth century, these stones would be collected 
together again by Isidore of Seville for inclusion 
in Book XVI of his Etymologiae. 

A revised version of the original text 
appeared in the sixth century. This version 
includes at the start a letter purportedly from 
Solinus that acts as an introduction. In it, 
the work is awkwardly renamed Polyhistor 
seu de Mirabilibus Mundi (Multi-History of 
the Wonders of the World). Throughout the 

II Add Biographical References. 

II Many incunabula his editions the first being probably 
that of Venice, 1473 (there are at least two undated editions 
"which may be earlier). Critical edition by Th. Mommsen 
(Berlin, 1864; revised 382 p., 1895). English translation by 
Arthur Colding (1587). 

Middle Ages both versions of the text circulated 
widely and in some cases 'Polyhistor' was taken 
for the author's name. The broad sweep 
of its coverage made it a popular manual of 
its subject, and as a result the book had 
tremendous influence during the Middle Ages, 
being, for example, a principle source for 
Isidore of Seville. An important commentary 
on this work by Claude de Saumaise appeared 
in his Plinianae Exercitationes (1689). The 
best edition edited by Th. Mommsen was 
published in 1895; it contains a valuable 
introduction to the extant manuscripts, the 
authorities used by Solinus, and the subsequent 
compilers.! 100 ] 

3.0 Medieval Mineralogy! 101 ) 

The dethroning of the last Roman emperor 
Romulus Augustulus in 476 C.E. marked a 
political end to the age of antiquity. From the 
scientific viewpoint however, a definitive border 
between the Classical Age and the Middle Ages 
can not readily be drawn because the literature 
between the periods is indistinguishable. In 
particular, studies related to mineralogical 
questions are usually short, sometimes being 
only mere mentions, and commonly contained 
in longer, more general literary works. The 
classical authorities such as Aristotle and 
Theophrastus dominate the era with their 
ideas reworked time and again throughout 
the age. Nevertheless the studies carried on 
from the Classical period and nurtured during 

[100] Meyer, Geschichte der Botanik, 1855, 2, p. 249-252. 
• Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science 1 1927, 1, p. 
341. ■ Claude de Saumaise., Plinianae Exercitabones in Solini 
Polyhistora. Paris, 1629 (also 1689). [Contains a criticism 
of Solinus.] • Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Litteratur, 
1904, 4, 1. • Teuffel, History of Roman literature, 1892, p. 

II The development of mineralogy in the Middle 
Ages has been treated in several interesting essays: 
Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological Sciences, 
1938, chap. 4. • Evans, Magical Jewels, 1922. • Friess, 
Edelsteine im Mittelalter, 1980. • Christel Meier, Gemma 
spiritalis. Teil I. Miinchen, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1977. 
542, [2] p., biblio. • Karl Mieleitner., "Zur Geschichte der 
Mineralogie. Geschichte der Mineralogie im Altertum und 
im Mittelalter," Fortschritte der Mineralogie, 7 (1922), 427- 
480. • J.U. Nef., "Mining and metallurgy in Medieval 
civilization" (2, pp. 430-492) in: Cambridge economic history 
of Europe. Cambridge [Eng.]; New York, The University 
Press, 1952. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

the Middle Ages would lay the foundation of 
mineral science that would begin to flourish in 
the Renaissance. 

3.1 Islamic Influences 

At the end of the Classical age, eastern 
Europe and most notably Alexandria were 
the center of scientific activity; however, this 
predominance would soon be destroyed by the 
rise of a new and at first persecuted sect of 
Christians.! 102 ] In 389 C.E. the Serapion 

of Alexandria was burned, and its library 
destroyed or scattered under an edict calling 
for the destruction of all pagan temples within 
the Empire — an order administrated with great 
enthusiasm and severe cruelty. In the same 
year, important schools at Edessa were closed, 
with the banished teachers taking refuge in 
Asia Minor. The Museum of Alexandria, 
actually a university, maintained an uncertain 
existence until 415 C.E. when the Christians 
incited riots that caused the last remnants 
of the Alexandrian schools of philosophy and 
science to be swept from Europe, thus tossing 
the region into an intellectual pallor. 

With the suppression of the schools and 
the teachers of the ancient science scattered, 
scientific achievement in the Christian coun- 
tries stagnated for centuries. Ancient Greek 
thought with its foundation in logic became al- 
most forgotten. What speculation there was on 
nature was centered on harmonizing first hand 
observations with the Scriptures or with pre- 
vailing Church doctrine. So devoid of any sci- 
entific achievement were the early centuries of 
Christian Europe, it is probable that the sci- 
ence developed by the ancients, except for a few 
of its practical applications, would have been 
lost to western civilization had it not been pre- 
served in the Near and Middle East. 

hi contrast to Europe where the intellec- 
tual activity was confined to the cloister of 
the monastery, the Arabic schools founded at 
Baghdad, Damascus, Alexandria, Cordova, and 
Seville after the Moslem conquests of the Mid- 
dle East, North Africa, and Spain provided a 
true scientific light during this otherwise dark 

[102] p or farther information, see: Sarton, Introduction to 
the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 11-11. 

period. In these institutions the traditions 
of the ancient pagan schools and their litera- 
ture were maintained and cultivated especially 
by the Syrian scholars who had taken refuge 
in Persia after the closing of the Alexandrian 
schools. Through these scholars, the classi- 
cal works of Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, 
Galen, Dioscorides and others, were preserved 
and translated into Syrian. Since these indi- 
viduals also occupied influential positions as 
astronomers, mathematicians, physicians and 
engineers within the government, the manu- 
scripts of Greek and Alexandrian authors were 
subsequently translated into Arabic and Per- 
sian. Thus Arabians and Persians became in 
medieval times the best trained scholars in sci- 
ence and medicine. 

As the Mohammedan conquest swept west 
along the African coast from Egypt to Spain, 
the ancient books of Aristotle, Theophrastus, 
Dioscrides, Galen, Pliny, Epiphanius, Homer, 
Pythagoras, etc. followed. This preserved 
wisdom had also been considerably augmented 
by original Arabic research. Thus to the 
forthcoming European Renaissance a large 
body of apparently new scientific literature 
became readily available, hi fact, so completely 
had the original ancient writings disappeared 
from the Europe of the Middle Ages that 
at first these works were all thought to be 
original Arabic texts rather than ancient Greek 
writings transmitted by translation through the 
centuries. In the history of mineralogical and 
chemical science in Europe therefore, Arabian 
influence is of importance because it was 
through this channel that the ancient texts 
were reintroduced to latinized Europe. 

3.1.1 Islamic Mineralogy 

The history of mineralogy in Islam has been 
documented by a number of researchers, and it 
is through their essays that the western world 
has come to know the influence of the middle 
east on western mineralogy. I 103 ! Many of 

I 103 ! J. Clement-Mullet. Essai sur la MineraJogie Arabe ... 
basee sur le traite de Teifaschi [al-TifashiJ (7-651/1253); Suivi 
de: Recherches sur l'histoire naturelle ... chez les Arabes. Paris, 
1868. • A. Mieli. La science arabe et son role dans revolution 
scientiUque mondiale. Leiden, 1966. xix, 467 p. • al-Rawi, 
M.M., "Geology and mineralogy," (4, pt. 2, pp. 405-424) 
in: al-Hassan, A.Y., et al., editors, Science and Technology 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

3.1 Islamic Influences 

those Islamic writings were never translated 
into western languages, but because their 
authors frequently quoted one another, those 
mineralogical works that did make their way to 
Europe had at their roots the ideas of many 
Arab researchers. 

Crystallographic properties were unknown 
in the mineral studies of the Islamic Middle 
Age. Instead common physical properties 
were used to distinguish stones. These 

characters included color, smell, taste, texture, 
breakability, friability, malleability, solubility 
in water, etc. Sometimes but particularly in 
alchemical writings the behavior of a stone in 
acid or fire was referenced. With respect to the 
medical applications of stones the elementary 
Aristotelian qualities of hot, cold, damp, and 
dry were particularly important. As remedies, 
stones were either laid on the patient or pieces 
pulverized and the powder mixed with water, 
milk or oil and the resulting mixture either 
ingested by the patient or used as an ointment 
applied to an infection or burn. Instances of 
mineral powders used as makeup or as poisons 
are also recorded. 

Keeping with Aristotelian philosophy, 
Islamic authors believed water, air, and earth 
were components of all minerals, while fire was 
the regulator of the other three. Plants and 
animals it was also believed, contained these 
same components in so far as their material 
composition was concerned. Every mineral 
contained earth as its body, water as the spirit, 
and air as the soul, which are all combined 
and balanced by fire. Using these principles 
minerals were divided into seven classes: 

1. Stoney, but fusible and solidifying on cooling. 

in Islam. Beruit, 2001. • Ruska, J., "Die Mineralogie 
in der arabischen Literatur," Isis, 1 (1913-14), 341-350. 

• Steinscheider, M., "Arabische Lapidarien," Zeitschrift 
deutscher morgenlandischer Gesellschaft, 49 (1895), 249-272. 

• Steinscheider, M., "Lapidarien, ein culturgeschichtlicher 
Versuch" (pp. 42-72) in: Kohut, G.A., ed., Semitic 
studies in memory of Rev. Dr. Alexander Kohut. Berlin, 
1897. • Ullmann, M., Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften 
im Islam. Leiden, 1972. xiii, 500 p. • Wiedemann, 
E., "Zur Mineralogie bei den Muslimen," Archiv fur die 
Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik, 1 (1909), 
208-11. • Wiedemann, E., "Beitrage zur Geschichte der 
Naturwissenschaften XXX. Zur Mineralogie in Islam," 
Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch-medizinischen Sozietat in 
Erlangen, 44 (1912), 205-256. 

Examples include gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, 
glass, etc. 

2. Stoney, but not fusible, included diamond, hyacinth, 
cornelian, etc. 

3. Earthy, soft, not fusible, but easily separated and 
friable. Such as various salts, talc, vitriols, etc. 

4. Watery and evaporating in fire defined quicksilver 

5. Aerial or oily that is consumed by fire, includes sulfur, 
arsenic, etc. 

6. Vegetable-like, form like a plant and includes coral, 

7. Animal-like, were derived from animals such as 

The common metals gold, silver, copper, 
lead, tin, iron were thought of as minerals of 
a special type. They are made up of the same 
basic four elements but also included mercury 
and sulfur in their composition. Differences 
between the metals were thought to arise from 
various proportions and purities of mercury and 
sulfur in the metal. Because of their fusibility, 
their ability on cooling to regain a solid state, 
the fact that they could be melted together 
to form other alloys, their malleability and 
their adaptability to so many uses like jewelry, 
coins, statues, tools it was thought that the 
metals possessed a composition more alike to 
each other than was the case with minerals in 
general. However, there was no philosophical 
distinction between minerals and metals. For 
example, glass melts and resolidifies to a hard 
mass, and when heated it is also malleable 
and ductile, thus giving rise to the notion that 
glass was another type of metal, which is the 
reason why it is occasionally listed with them 
by some medieval writers. Frequently electrum 
and bronze or brass are described as separate 
metals, even by authors who know they are 
alloys of other metals. On the other hand, 
mercury is usually not listed with the metals 
eventhough it is known to alloy or amalgamate 
with other metals. 

From the 9th to the 17th centuries, many 
Islamic authors touched upon mineralogical 
subjects like precious stones or metallurgy. Few 
of these works were ever translated or for that 
matter printed, and exist to the current time 
only in manuscript versions. Nonetheless, the 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

works listed below provide a substantial view 
of these writings. 

3.1.2 Jabir ibn Hayyan [Latin, Geber] 

Abu MS sA Jabir ibn Hayyan al-AzdT 
[Latin, Geber] (died 803 c.e.) is perhaps the 
most famous alchemist of the Middle Ages. I 104 ! 
He practiced medicine and alchemy in Kufa, 
Iraq, about 776 C.E., and established his 
reputation as one of the leading scientists of 
Islam. Supposedly, he is the author in Arabic 
of a very extensive library of alchemical and 
other scientific books, but by no means could 
he be the author of all works attributed to 
him. It is now recognized that many of the 
writings are the work of a school rather than 
an individual.! 105 ] 

These alchemical works provide remark- 
ably reasoned descriptions of the methods of 
chemical research, and they show knowledge of 
the usual chemical reactions such as calcina- 
tion, crystallization, reduction, solution, sub- 
limation, which are often described. There is 
a statement of the sulfur/mercury theory of 

[104] DSB; 7j 39.43 . Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, ??, 
11. ■ Encyclopedia of Islam, 2, 357-9. • Kraus, P., Jabir ibn 
Hayyan: contribution a l'histoire des idees scientifiques dans 
l'lslam. Jabir et la science grecque. Paris, Belles Lettres, 
1986. xv, 406 p. [Originally published as vol. 2 of a 2 
vol. work under same title, Le Caire, 1942.] • Sarton, 
Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 532-534. 

[105] Yi&q, S.N., Names, natures and things: the alchemist 
Jabir ibn Hayyan and his Kitab al-Ahjar (Book of stones). 
With a foreword by David E. Pingree. Dordrecht, Kluwer 
academic publishers, 1994. xx, 284 p. [Published as: 
Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 158.] • Geber, 
The works of Geber. London, 1678. Reprinted, London, 
1928, with introduction by E.J. Holmyard and R. Russell. 
Reprinted, Kessinger Publishing, 1990. • Berthelot, M., La 
chimieau moyen Age. Paris, 1893. [Where vol. 3, L'alchimie 
arabe, contains the Arabic text of a few of Jabir's writings 
edited by Otave Houdas and a French translation, p. 126- 
224.] • Darmstaedter, E., Die Alchemie des Geber. Berlin, 
1922. [German translation of the Latin treatises ascribed 
to Geber.] • Holmyard, E.J., "Arabic chemistry," Nature, 
110 (1922), p. 573. * Holmyard, E.J., "Jabir ibn Hayyan," 
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, Historical 
Section, 16 (1923), 46-57. [An elaborate study together 
with a catalogue raisonne of Jair's texts.] • Kraus, P., 
"Studien zu Jabir ibn Hayyan," Jsis, 15 (1931), 7-30. • 
Kraus, P., Jabir ibn Hayyan: contribution a l'histoire des idees 
scientifiques dans l'lslam. Jabir et la science grecque. Paris, 
Belles Lettres, 1986. xv, 406 p. [Originally published as 
vol. 2 of a 2 vol. work under same title, Le Caire, 1942.] 
• Mieli, La Science Arabe, 1966, p. 55-59. ■ Steinscheider, 
Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 247. • Stillmann, Story of 
Early Chemistry, 1924, p. 185-189. 

metals and descriptions of the preparation of 
a large number of chemical substances, includ- 
ing basic lead carbonate and the reduction of 
arsenic and antimony metal from their native 
sulfides. The methods are practical and include 
processes for the creation of steel and the re- 
finement of the metals, or creating dyes and 
varnishes. Coloring agents for glass are also in- 
dicated. Jabir is credited with several discov- 
eries including the manufacture of nitric acid, 
sal amnionic, ammonium chloride, hydrochloric 
acid, nitrate of silver, etc. But to the alchemists 
and chemists of the Middle Ages, the descrip- 
tions and illustrations of furnaces in Jabir's 
books were probably of even greater value. 

3.1.3 pseudo-Aristotle 

The authority of Aristotle's name during the 
Middle Ages was held in such great esteem 
that many titles appeared that pretended to 
be authentic books of the master, but were 
in fact much later efforts. Two such pseudo 
works that touched upon minerals appeared 
in the ninth century. It has been shown that 
both texts were originally written in Syriac and 
subsequently translated into Latin and other 
languages. Each in their own way would have 
a significant impact on the mineral studies of 
the Middle Ages. 

With its origins anchored in traditional 
6th century natural history texts like the 
Physiologus,l 106 ^ the Lapidary of Aristotle 
written no later than the 9th century is very 
likely a compilation cast in a Greek framework 
from Syriac and Persian sources (many of 
the stone names are Iranian), rather than an 
actual work of Aristotle. I 107 ! Because it 

[106] Ahren, Karl, Das Buch der Naturgegenstande. 
Herausgegeben und iibersetzt von K. Ahren. Kiel, C.F. 
Haeseler, 1892. viii, 84 p.; 71, iii p. [Containing 
a Syriac version of the Physiologus, with a German 
translation. Sarton draws the conclusion that this is the 
basic publication that led to the Lapidary of Aristotle] . 

I 107 ! Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, 572. • Stillman, 
Story of Early Chemistry, 1924, p. 111111 , Thorndike, 
History of Magic, 1923-58, 2, 260ff. • Ullmann, M., "Der 
literarisches Hintergrund des Steinbuches des Aristoteles," 
(pp. ??-??) in: Actas IV Congresso de Estudos Arabes 
e Islamicos, Lisboa, 1968. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften 
im Islam, 1972, p. 105-110. • Wellmann, M., "Aristoteles 
de Lapidibus," Sitzungsberichten der Preussian Akademie 
der Wissenschaften. Philosophie Klasse, 1924, 79-82. • 
Wiedemann, Mineralogie in Islam, 1912, p. 206. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

is one of the oldest authorities in Arabian 
mineralogy, it was a dominate sourcebook in 
its subject during the Middle Ages. Translated 
by scholars at various times into Hebrew, 
Arabic and Latin, the texts would serve either 
directly or indirectly later writers, especially 
the encyclopedists Bartholomaeus Anglicus, 
Isidore and Vincent de Beauvis. The German 
orientalist and mineralogist Julius Ruska, using 
the Arabic translation supposedly prepared by 
Serapion the Elder in the 9th century, prepared 
a heavily commented German translation that 
appeared in 1912. I 108 ! Previously, Valentin 

Rose had published a Latin text preserved in 
Liittich that was a 14th century copy of a 
manuscript edited with additions by a pre- 12th 
century Spanish- Arabian writer. I 109 ! 

The book, which catalogs 72 stones, 
minerals and jewels, gives a summary of 
their more obvious physical characteristics, 
their medicinal values and their supposed 
supernatural properties. This is of special 
value as it gives a view into the mineralogy 
of the Arabs of the time, which would 
subsequently have an important influence on 
the development of mineralogy. 

The second work attributed to Aristotle 
that first appeared by the 9th century was the 
Kitdb Sirr al-Asrdr whose Latin translation 
prepared by Roger Bacon in cl257 under the 
title Secretum Secretorum became well known 
in medieaval Europe. It is a compilation 
from Persian, Syriac and Greek sources of the 
late Antiquity, and it deals primarily with 
the occult properties of various substances, 
especially minerals.! 110 ] The work is fully 

described under §3.5 Books of Secrets. 

A very different work, the Lapidarius 
of 1473 was the first lapidary printed after 
the invention of mechanical printing. It is 
sometimes attributed to Aristotle being called 

[1U8J jj^g]^ j i? r) as Steinbuch des Aristoteles. Heidelberg, 
Carl Winters Universitatsbuchhandlung, 1912. 214 p. 
[109] T-^ ose ^ Y., "Aristoteles 'De lapidibus' und Arnoldus 
Saxo," Zeitschrift fur deutsches Altertum und deutsche 
Literatur, 18 (1875), 321-455. 

I 110 ] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, p. 1, p. 282 
& Suppl. 1, p. 432. • Haskins, C.H., Studies in Medieval 
Science, 1924, p. 137-140. * Sarton, Introduction, 1928-54, 1, 
p. 556-557. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, 
p. 110-111. 

the "Lapidarius et Liber de Physionomia de 
Aristotle," I 111 ! but was composed long after he 
lived because the text refers to authorities such 
as al-RazT and Albertus Magnus. It is a work 
entirely devoted to precious stones, "written in 
honor of Wenzel II, King of the Bohemians" 
(1266-1305). Furthermore, the manuscript is 
preserved in Switzerland as a 15th century 
anonomous physiognomy in the Public Library 
at Bern (MS. 513), and is entirely different in 
character from the texts published by Julius 
Ruska and Valentin Rose. 

3.1.4 al-Katib 

One of the oldest known and still existing Mus- 
lim lapidaries is by TJtarid ibn Muhammad 
AL-Katib and has the title Kitdb mandfi c al- 
ahjar or Kitdb al-jawdhir wa°l-ahjar (Book of 
Different Jewels). I 112 ! Written in the 9th cen- 
tury, it treats precious stones but apparently 
has never been published in modern times or 
critically studied. 

3.1.5 Masawaih [Latin, Mesue the Elder] 

The christian physician Abu ZakarTya 
Yuhanna ibn Masawaih [Latin, Mesue 
the Elder] (died 857/8)! 113 ] authored 

a manuscript in Arabic on minerals and 
gemstones under the title Kitab al-Jawdhir 
wa-sifdtihd wa-sifat al-gawwdsin wa-t-tujjdr 
(The Book of Precious Stones and their 
Properties).! 114 ! It was one of the 

earliest important Arabic works on these 
subjects relied upon by al-Kindl and al-Blrum 
in compiling their own books. Masawayh 
gives descriptions of twenty-four minerals and 
gemstones including some of their physical 
properties such as color, hardness and lusture, 
together with their localites and market value. 

^ 1 Lapidarius. — Quomodo virtutes pretiosorum lapidum 
augmentantur. — Physiognomia. Merseburg, [anonymous 
printer, probably Lukas Brandis], 20 October 1473. 40 £. 

1 1 Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1898, p. 1, p. 243. 
• Levey, M., "Arabic mineralogy of the tenth century," 
Chymia, 12 (1967), p. 17. • Ritter, Orientalische Steinbiicher, 
1935, p. 3. • Ruska, Grieschischen Planetendarstellungen, 
1919, p. 24-26. • Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, 572. • 
Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 249-250. ■ 
Steinschneider, Intorno ad Alcuni Passi d'Opere, 1871, p. 275. 

I 113 ! Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 574. 

1 114 1 Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 248. • 
Ullmann, Natuwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 114. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

Included in the descriptions are diamond, pearl, 
quartz, amber, amethyst, ruby, garnet, agate 
sulfur and turquoise. A modern study of this 
work has been prepared. I 115 ! 

3.1.6 al-Kindl [Latin, Alkindus] 

Ya c qub ibn IshAq al-KindT [Latin, Alkin- 
dus] (died c870 C.E.) is the so-called "Philoso- 
pher of the Arabs" being the first and per- 
haps only great philosopher of that race. I 116 ! 
He was a polymath with considerable knowl- 
edge of Aristotle and other Greek authorities, 
and his tremendous intellect is readily displayed 
by the diverse subjects on which he authorita- 
tively wrote including mathematics, astrology, 
physics, music, medicine, pharmacy, and geog- 
raphy. However, few of the reported 270 books 
he authored are extant. Many Arabic transla- 
tions from Greek originals were also prepared 
under his supervision. 

In mineralogy, al-KindT contributed several 
works. His four books that described the use 
of Hindu minerals are now lost, and the two 
works of his that have survived are only known 
today from manuscript fragments and short 
quotations in other mineralogical books. I 117 ! 

1. Risala ft Anwff al-jawahir at-tamina wa- 
gairiha (Treatise on Various Types of Precious 
Stones and Other Kinds of Stones). 

2. Risala fi Anwff al-hijara wa-l-jawahir 
wa-ma c adiniha wa-jaiyidiha wa-radfiha wa- 
atmaniha (Treatise on Various Types of Stones 
and Jewels). 

3.1.7 al-Jahiz 

Abu TJthmAn °amr ibn Bahr Al-JAhiz 
(c776-868/9) was the author of over 200 works 
on politics, religion, and science of which only 
thirty have survived. I 118 ! His Kitab al- 

[115] j^ a ^ A.S., Kitab al-Jawahir wa-sifatuha Youhanna 
ben Masawaih. [Edited by:] Haqqaqahu wa- allaqa alayhi 
Imad Abd al-Salam Ra uf. Abu Zaby, al-Majma al- 
Thaqafi, c2001. 114 p. 

I 116 ! DSB, 15, ??. • Encyclopedia of Mam, 5, 122-3. 

I 117 ! Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 559-560. • 
Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 248. • 
Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 114-115. • 
Wiedemann, Mineralogie bei den Musliem, 1908, p. 209-210. 
• Wiedemann, Mineralogie in Islam, 1912, p. 206. 

[118] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1898, p. 1, p. 246, 
nr. 7. . DSB 7, 63-5. • Encyclopedia of Islam, 2, 385-7. • 
Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 597. 

ma c ddin wa-l-qaul ft jawahir al-ard (Book of 
Minerals and a Report concerning Precious 
Stones of the Earth) written in 847 C.E. is 
lost. However a short description of the work 
is preserved. I 119 ! 

This book distinguishes the separate type 
of ores and metals by their reaction in 
fire. Information is provided on segregating 
false gems from true and the basic physical 
properties such as color to describe the 

3.1.8 ad-Dimisql 

Abu l-Fadl Ja'far ibn c AlT ad-DimisqT 
wrote the Kitab al-Isara ila mahasin at-tijara 
wa-ma c rifat jayyid al-a c rad wa-radfiha wa- 
gusus al-mudallisin fiha. The author probably 
lived at the beginning of the 10th century 
because the latest author he quotes from is 
al-KindT. He describes the most important 
of the commercial precious stones, citing their 
characteristics and criteria for authenicating 
true stones from fake ones as well as a pricing 
guide. I 120 ! 

3.1.9 al-Dlnawarl 

About the middle of the 10th century Nasr 
IBN Ya c qub AL-DTnawarT wrote the Kitab al- 
Jawahir (Book of Precious Stones) in Persian 
a text that al-BTrum frequently cites. I 121 ! 

3.1.10 al-RazI [Latin, Rhazes] 

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ZakarTyyA c al- 
RAzT [Latin, Rhazes] (c854-925 or 935) was 
the greatest practitioner of medical procedures 
in Islam and perhaps in the whole of the Middle 
Ages.! 122 ! He successfully combined his 

extensive chemical knowledge with medicine, 
writing almost 200 treatises in medicine, 
science and philosophy. His enormous and 
important medical encyclopedia, Kitab al-Hawi 

[liyj Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 115. 
[120] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, Suppl. 1 
p. 907. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p 

[121] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, Suppl. 1 , p 
433. • Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 706. • Ullmann 
Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 116. 

I 122 l Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 4, 280, nr. 2 

* DSB, 11, 323-6. • Mieli, La Science Arabe, 1966, p. 131-3 

• Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 609-10. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

3.1 Islamic Influences 

(Book of Medicine) contains besides his own 
perceptive observations many extracts from 
Greek and Hindu authors. A practical man, 
he experimented with specific gravity using a 
hydrostatic balance, and some of his chemical 
works picture the furnaces and other apparatus 
he relied upon in his experiments. 

Apparently, al-RazT authored two works 
that would impact on mineralogy. The first 
is his famous alchemical treatise, Kitab al- 
asrar (Book of Secrets), which was his major 
opus on the subject. I 123 ! Although al-RazT 

folows Jabir on many points such as dividing 
the metals into seven species and in its time 
the work was considered to be an alchemical 
text, the treatise really is more concerned with 
chemistry than alchemy. However, al-RazT is 
the first to classifiy his substances into animal, 
vegetable and mineral components, a structure 
that was copies by virtually all later writers. 
Al-RazT then provides very careful descriptions 
of many chemical processes such as calcination, 
Alteration, distillation, etc., which had been 
written about by Jabir and others but were 
especially well described by al-RazT. These 
techniques would help later researchers perfect 
their techniques in the analysis of minerals. 

The second title that al-RazT wrote 
appears to directly concern minerals. The 
work is known under the titles, Kitab al- 
Mudhal al-burhani (Introdution to the Proof 
of Creation) or the c Ilal al-ma c adin (Treatise 
of Minerals).! 124 ! The text is concerned 

with the formation of spirits, bodies, stones 

[123] Translation: Ruska, J., Al-Razis Buch Geheimnis der 
Geheimnisse, mit Einleitung und Erlauterungen, in deutscher 
Ubersetzung, von Julius Ruska. Mit fiinf Abbildungen. 
Berlin, J. Springer, 1937. xiii, [2], 246 p., illus. 
[Published as: Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der 
Naturwissenschaften und der Medizin, Bd. 6.] References: 
Heym, G., "Al-RazT and alchemy," Ambix, 1 (1938), 184- 
191. • Partington, P.R., "The chemistry of Razi," Ambix, 
1 (1938), 192-6. • Ruska, J., "Al-BTrum's 'Steinbuch' 
als Quelle einer Interpolation in RazT's 'Kitab sirr al- 
asrar'," Islam. Zeitschrift fur Geschichte und Kultur des 
islamischen Orients, 25 (1939), 191-3. • Ruska, J., "Al-Razi 
als Chemiker," Zeitschrift fur Chemie, 1922, 719-22. • Ruska, 
J., "Die Alchemie ar-RazT's," Islam. Zeitschrift fur Geschichte 
und Kultur des islamischen Orients, 22 (1935), 281-319. • 
Stapleton, H.E., et al., "Chemistry in Iraq and Persia in 
the Tenth Century A.D," Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, 8 (1927), no. 6, pp. 317-418, 2 plates. [Text in 
English and Arabic]. 

I 124 l Isis, 6 (1924), 302. [Reference from ULLMANN]. 

and minerals. Unfortunately, it has apparently 
never been published or thoroughly researched, 
and in fact may now be lost. 

3.1.11 Ikhwan al-Safa 3 or "Brothers of 

The economic importance of minerals was 
a reoccurring theme in Islamic mineral 
studies. This was a focus of the writings 
of the Ikhwan AL-Safa° or "Brothers of 
Purity," who authored important works in 
mathematics, ethics, philosophy, chemistry 
and mineralogy.! 125 ] Founded about 950 

C.E. in Basra, Iraq, this was a society of 
Arabian scholars whose anonymous eclectic 
writings based on Plato and Aristotle appeared 
between 975 C.E. and 1000 C.E. Their tenth 
century chemical and mineralogical writings are 
particularly important because they summarize 
the Arabian knowledge prior to the mingling 
of Islamic and western ideas that occurred 
with the Muslim conquests in the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries. Based on the idea that the 
four elements of Plato and Aristotle constitute 
matter they are perhaps the truest statement of 
the original Greek and Roman ideas from which 
they are derived. In 1160 C.E. their works were 
denounced by the Mohammedan church and 
their manuscripts publicly burned in Bagdad. 
The Ikhwan AL-Safa c dedicated the 
18th Epistle of the Rasa^il Ikhwan al-Safa? 
(Epistles of the Brethren of Purity) to 
mineralogical matters. It is titled "On the 
Formation of Minerals" and includes some 
fundamental geological principles followed by 
several chapters on minerals and gemstones.I 126 ] 
The materials are classified according to their 
types and origin together with full information 
on their physical and rudimentary chemical 

• Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 250. • 
Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 117. 

I 125 ! Encyclopedia of Islam, 3, 1071-6. • Mieli, La Science 
Arabe, 1966, p. 128-130. • Nasr, Islamic Cosmological 
Doctrines, 1964. • Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 660- 

[126J Dieterici, F., Ubersetzt der mineralogischen Abschnitte 
aus den Jliwan as-safa . Berlin, 1885. [German translation 
of the relavent mineralogical passages. Reference from 
Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften in Islam, 1972, p. 119.] • 
Levey, M., "Arabic mineralogy of the tenth century," 
Chymia, 12 (1967), 15-26. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften 
im Islam, 1972, p. 119-120. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

3.1 Islamic Influences 

properites, as well as medical and mystical 
uses. Gemstones are classified by Ikhwan into 
three categories: (1) mineral gemstones that 
are metallic, hard and melt when heated (gold 
silver and copper), (2) stony gemstones are very 
hard and melt only with extreme heat (agate, 
ruby, sapphire, etc.), and (3) earthy gemstones 
that are soft and break easily but do not melt 
(talc). Other properties are used to classify 
minerals such as aqueous that does not burn 
(mercury), fatty that do burn (sulfur), botanic 
that resemble plants (coral), zoological that are 
derived from animals (pearls), etc. Ikhwan al- 
Safa 3 believed that heat was the essence of the 
formation of minerals as well as the cause for 
minerals to change from one form to another. 

3.1.12 Ibn Sina [Latin, Avicenna] 

Abu c AlT al-Husayn ibn c abdallAh ibn 
STnA [Latin, Avicenna] (980 C.E.-1037 c.E.) 
was a famous encyclopaedist, philosopher, 
physician, mathematician, and astronomer, 
and is perhaps the most renowned scientist of 
IslamJ 127 ! His great many writings in prose 
and verse and Arabic represented a climax of 
medieval philosophy, but Ibn Sina's legacy is 
the clear method he had of expressing his views 
in his writings. Readers develop an excellent 
image of the ideas the author is conveying.! 128 ] 

Ibn Sina's great medical and philosophi- 
cal encyclopaedia the Kitab as-Sifff (The Book 

[127\ Afnan, S.M., Avicenna, his life and works. London, 
G. Allen & Unwin, [1958]. 298 p. • Ammar, S., Ibn 
Sina Avicenne: la vie & l'oeuvre. [Tunis], L'Or du Temps, 
cl992. 157 p. . DSB, 15, ??. [SUPPLEMENT!!!!] ■ 
Encyclopedia of Islam, 3, 941-3. • Goodman, L., Avicenna, 
London, Routledge, 1992. [A useful introduction to central 
features of Ibn Slnas philosophical theories.] • Mieli, La 
Science Arabe, 1966, 102-104. • Nasr, Islamic Cosmological 
Doctrines, 1964. • Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, 709- 
713. • Wickens, G.M., Avicenna: scientist & philosopher, a 
millenary symposium. London, Luzac, 1952. 128 p. 
[128] Gutas, D.j Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition, 
Introduction to Reading Avicennas Philosophical Works. 
Leiden, Brill., 1988. [An excellent account of the 

considerations that entered into the construction of Ibn 
Slnas corpus, the book contains translations of a number of 
smaller texts, a careful consideration of method and sharp 
criticisms of, among other things, ascriptions of mysticism 
to Ibn Sina. This is probably the most useful guide to an 
engagement with the philosophers work currently available 
in English.] • Janssens, J.L., An annotated bibliography 
on Ibn Sina, including Arabic and Persian publications, and 
Turkish and Russian references. Leuven University Press, 
1991. xxvii, 358 p. 

of Healing) was probably begun in 1014 C.E. 
and completed by 1020 C.E. The text has an 
implied classification of theoretical knowledge 
subdivided, with regard to increasing abstrac- 
tion, into physics, mathematics, and meta- 
physics, and practical knowledge such as ethics, 
economics, and politics. The ideas expressed 
roughly represented the Aristotelian tradition 
but are modified by Muslim theology and Neo- 
platonic concepts. Buried within the text are 
extensive discussions of his visionary ideas on 
the nature of minerals, and his astonishingly 
insightful view of geological phenomena includ- 
ing the formation of stones, rocks, and moun- 
tains. He also provides some ideas on how min- 
erals should be classified, but is ruthless in de- 
nouncing the alchemists and their attempts to 
transmute base metals into precious ones.! 129 ! 
Because these concepts were scattered through 
out the large Kitab as-Sifff, Ibn Sina's pene- 
trating observations about mineralogical won- 
ders went largely unrecognized as his invention 
eventhough they did become available in me- 
dieval Europe in Latin translation. 

At the conclusion of the third book of the 
Meteorologica, Aristotle promises to write a 
book about mineral substances, nepi.8i.6wv, but 
no Greek manuscript of this work existed in the 
Middle Ages. However, some medieval Latin 
versions of the Meteorologica had appended 
to the Fourth Book an additional chapter 
in three paragraphs under the title, "De 
Miner alibus." I 130 ! In this section the subject is 
masterly dealt with in a flavor very reminescent 
of Aristotle's other writings; however, this 
mineralogy was conclusively shown in 1924 to 
be translations of the various passages from 
Ibn Sina's Kitab as-Sifff and not the writing 
of Aristotle.! 131 ! 

! 129 ] Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 122. 

! ] First printed edition, Liber des mineralibus Aristotelis. 
Bologna, 1501. 

I 131 l Holmyard, E.J., and D.C. Mandeville, Avicennae De 
Congelatione et Conglutinatione Lapidum. Paris, 1927. viii, 
85 p. English translation of the passages relavent to 
mineralogy and geology] • Duhem, P, "Le traite des 
mineraux attribue a Avicenne," Etudes sur Leonard de 
Vinci, 2 (1909), 302-309. • Holmyard, E.J., "Arabic text of 
Avicennas Mineralia," Nature, 117 (1926), 305. [This text 
printed in Manget's Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa, Geneva, 
1702, 1, 636 and elsewhere, is a translation of certain 
sections of the Shifa.] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

3.1.13 al-Blrunl 

In the 10th century Abu RayhAn Muhammad 
ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (973-a/ter 1050) was 
born a Persian and a ShiiteJ 132 ! He 

had agnostic tendencies toward his religion 
and his anti-Arabic feelings were strongly 
held throughout his life. For a time he 
lived in India where he became acquainted 
with Hindu and Sanskrit literature. As 
a mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, 
geographer, and encyclopedist, al-Blrunl is 
condsidered one of the greatest scientists of 
Islam and perhaps one of the greatest of all 

He wrote, in Arabic, a large number of 
books (est. 146) on geographical, mathemati- 
cal, and astronomical subjects of which only 
about two dozen have survived to the present 
timeJ 133 ! His Kitab al-Jamahir ft mtfrifat al- 
jawahir (Book on the Multitude of the Knowl- 
edge of Precious Stones) is a book in which he 
combined the mineralogical, physical, medical 
and philosophical ideas and studied the sub- 
ject from all these points of view. I 134 ! Written 

[isz\ B r0 ckelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, Suppl. 1 , p. 
902. • DSB, 2, 147-58. • Encyclopedia, of Islam, 1, 1236-8. • 
Mohamed Yahia Haschimi., "Die grieschischen Quellen des 
Steinbuches von al-Beruni," Les Annales Archeologiques de 
Syrie, 15 (1965), no. 2, p. 21-56. * Mieli, La Science Arabe, 
1966, p. 98-101. • Said, H.M. and Khan, A.Z., Al-Biruni 
(his times, life and works). Pakistan, Hamhard Academy, 
1981. xi, 244 p., map, photos, map, biblio., index. [Modern 
biography of Arab scientist Abu Rayhan al-Biruni.] • Said, 
H.M., ed., Al-Biruni Commemorative Volume, Proceedings of 
the International Congress held in Pakistan on the occasion 
of Millenary of Abu Raihan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni 
(973-ca 1051 AD). Nov. 26, 1973, through Dec. 12, 1973. 
Printed in Pakistan at the Times Press, Karachi, 1979. [4], 
844 p., 10 plates. • Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 1, p. 707- 

[133J K nan ^ A.S., compiler, A bibliography of the works of 
Abu'l-Raihan al-Biruni. New Delhi, Indian Natl. Science 
Academy, 1982. 77 p. [A bibliography describing & 
annotating 183 items.] 

11 Modern edition: Al-BTrunT, Kitab al-jamahir FT ma rifat 
al-jawahir. Edited by F. Krenkow. [Hydaradbad, Da irat 
al-Ma c arif, 1936/37]. 273, 11, 4, 51 p. [Text in 
Arabic]. Translation: Al-BTrunT, "The chapter on pearls 
in the 'Book of precious stones. Translated by F. 
Krenkow," Islamic Culture, 15 (1941), 399-421 and 16 
(1942), 21-36. * Al-BTrunT, Die Einleitung zu al-BTruni's 
Steinbuch. Mit Erlauterungen iibersetzt von TakT ed 
Din al Hllali. Leipzig, Harrassowitz, 1941. xxi, 41 p. 
[Published as: Sammlung Orientalistischer Arbeiten, 7.] 
References: Bromehead, C.E.N., "Kitab al-jamahir fi 
ma'rifat al jawahir or 'Book of the Manifold Knowledge 

about 1000 C.E., this remarkable text, which 
is several hundred pages in length is devoted 
exclusively to gem materials, related minerals 
and metals. The whole is divided into three 
parts, the first is an untitled introduction, the 
second describing precious and semiprecious 
stones, and the third on metals. Using material 
from Hellenistic, Roman, Syriac, Indian, and 
Islamic sources, he supplements the text with 
his own perceptions. Accounts are included of 
the physical properties of the various minerals 
and gems, with very extensive etymological dis- 
cussions of the technical terminology in many 
languages and dialects, and many illustrative 
quotations from Arabic poetry. Locations of 
the principal mines and sources of raw material 
are listed and al-Blrum provides the relative 
weights of metals in relationship to gold, and 
provides tables showing the relative prices of 
pearls and emeralds as a function of their size. 
For example, under his description of emerald 
he provides a description of the mines at an oa- 
sis apparently near Mount Muqattam (which is 
unknown today), as well as details about the 
color grading of crystals, tips for spotting im- 
itations, and prices per carat. Al-BTrunT uses 
the same descriptions of minerals as al-KmdT 
in this work; however, Al-BTrunT's work appears 
to have been the major source for later Muslim 
authors. His scientific mind set him apart from 
his contemporaries in that he always attempted 
to preform corroboration through experimenta- 

This is clearly shown by the careful 
measurements he makes of the specific gravity 
of some gemstones and minerals that is al- 

of Precious Stones,' by others simply called 'Gems'," 
Proceedings of the Geological Association, 56 (1945), pt. 2, 
pp. 89-134. • Datta, B., "Al-Biruni and the origin of the 
Arabic numerals," Proceedings of the Benares Mathematical 
Society, 7 (1928), 15 p. • Haschmi, M.J., Die Quellen des 
Steinbuches des Beruni. Bonn, 1935. 48 p. [Dissertation, 
Bonn University.] • Kahle, P., "Bergkristall, Glas und 
Glasnirsse nach dem Steinbuch von El-Biruni," Zeitschrift 
der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, 90 (1936), 322- 
56. • Nasr, Islamic Cosmological Doctrines, 1964. • Ruska, 
J., "Al-BTrunT's 'Steinbuch' als Quelle einer Interpolation in 
RazT's 'Kitab sirr al-asrar'," Islam. Zeitschrift fur Geschichte 
und Kultur des islamischen Orients, 25 (1939), 191-3. • 
Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 252-254. ■ 
Wiedemann, Mineralogie in Islam, 1912, p. 206. • On the 
Kitab al- Jamahir, see, G.C. Anawati, "Kitab al-jamahir fi 
ma'rifat al jawahir of al-Biruni," pp. 437-53, with biblio. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

BTrunT's most important contribution to the 
sciences of mineralogy and gemology set forth 
in the Kitab al-jamahir are the results of 
specific gravity experiments with respect to 
gems and metals. I 135 ! By using a receptacle of 
a conical form, with an overfall at the superior 
end. The receptacle was filled with water, 
and a known weight of gold dropped in, after 
having placed the scale of a balance under 
it. In this manner, al-Biruni determined the 
weight of the water displaced. He then repeated 
the experiment with all types of metals, 
minerals, gems and rocks. By application 
of these hydrostatic principles by the method 
of Archimedes, he records that the results 
obtained depend upon the temperature and 
purity of the water used, but he did recognize, 
that the smaller the density, the greater the 
quantity of the water displaced for the same 
weight.! 136 ] His method was effective, and 

the values he derived for the gemstones are 
close to modern day values. For example, he 
gives the specific gravity of red spinel as 3.58, 
blue sapphire as 3.97 and ruby as 3.85. These 
values do not deviate appreciably from today's 
accepted values of 3.581 for spinel and 3.987 
to 4.1 for corundum. The specific gravities 
for a total of nine gems and nine metals are 
tabulated. I 137 ! In effect, he was one of the 
earliest practitioners of the scientific method. 

3.1.14 al-Kamill 

Mansur ibn Ba c ra al-KAmilTI 138 ! was 
appointed to a commission to study and review 
the mint and its operation in minting the 
coinage of the realm. His Kitab Kasf al-asrar 
al-ilmiya bi-dd addarb al-misriya written in 
the 13th century is a manual in 17 chapters 

[135] Wiedemann, E., "Arabische specifische Gewichtsbes- 
timmnungen," Annalen der Physik, 20 (1883), 539-41. • 
Wiedemann, E., "Uber das al-Berunische Gefass zur spezi- 
fischen Gewichtsbestimmung," Verhandlungen der deutsche 
physikalische Gesellschaft, 10 (1908), 339-43. • Wiede- 
mann, E., "Verbreitung der Bestimmungen des spezifischen 
Gewichtes nach al-Beruni," Beitrage 31, Sitzungsbericht Er- 
langen, 45 (1914), 31-34. 

I 136 ! Said, H.M., ed., Al-Biruni Commemorative Volume, 
1979, p. 450. 

I 137 ! Mieli, La Science Arabe, 1966, p. 101. 

I 138 ! Holmyard, E.J., "Mansur al-Kamily," Arcbeion, 13 
(1931), 187-90. 

describing all aspects of minting.! 139 ] He 

describes the production, cleaning, alloying of 
gold and silver, assaying of the metals purity, 
and construction of furnaces. It was a highly 
scholarly work providing many technical terms 
and is considered one of the best books of its 

3.1.15 al-Arabl 

The 17th chapter of MuhyT AL-DTn ibn AL- 
c ArabT's (died 1240) Kitab at-Tadbirat al- 
ilahiya ft islah al-mamlaka al-insaniya de- 
scribes the "human characteristics of stones." 
He recounts the physical and mystical proper- 
ties of a variety of stones including emerald, 
sapphire, Hyazinth, etc. I 140 ! 

3.1.17 al-TifasI 

Born in 1184, Abu l- c AbbAs Ahmad ibn 
Yusut ibn Ahmad al-TifAsi (died 1253)! 141 ! 
first learned about precious and semiprecious 
stones from his father, and increased his 
knowledge by reading Aristotle, Theophrastus, 
Pliny, and other Islamic authorities, as well as 
seeking out first hand experience. Over the 
course of his life he made repeated trips to 
the localities where the stones were mined and 
also to the most important gemstone trading 
centers. In his old age he recorded all of this 
accumulated knowledge in his Kitab Azhar al- 
afkar ft jawahir al-ahjar (Best thoughts on the 
Best of Stones). I 142 l In this work 25 stones 

[139] uilmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 124. 
[140] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 1, p. 441 & 
Suppl. 1, p. 790. • Uilmann, Naturwissenscbaften im Islam, 
1972, p. 124. 

I 141 ! Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 1, 652 & 
Suppl. 1 , p. 904. • DSB, 13, ??. 

[142] Translations: Rau, S.F.J., Specimen Arabicum 

continens descriptionem et excerpta libri Acbmedis Teifascbii de 
gemmis et lapidibus pretiosis, quod publice defendet Sebaldus 
Fulco Ravius. Traiecti ad Rhenum, Apud Abrahamum 
a Paddenburg, 1784. 103, [1] p. • Rainieri, A., Fior 
di pensieri sulle pietre preziose di Abmed Teifascite opera 
stampata nel suo originale Arabo, colla Traduzione Italiana 
appresso, e diverse note di Antonio Rainieri. Firenze, 
Nell'Imp. ER. Tipografia Orientale Mediceo-Laurenziana, 
1818. [62], 118 p. [Reprinted by Count Camillo Rainei 
Biscia, Bologna, L. Andreoli, 1906.] • Clement-Mullet, 
J., Essai sur la Mineralogie Arabe ... basee sur le traite 
de Teifaschi [al-Tifasbi] (7-651/1253); Suivi de: Recbercbes 
sur l'bistoire naturelle ... cbez les Arabes. Paris, 1868. • 
A modern translation of al-TifasT's book, Arab Roots of 
Gemology: Ahmad ibn Yasuf Al Tifaschi's Best Thoughts on 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

are fully described by physical properties like 
relative hardness, lusture and geometric form. 
Speculation on the cause of gem formation 
within the earth is given by al-TifasT as well as 
descriptions of the "mother-rock" from which 
the stones are extracted. 

3.1.18 Naslr al-Dln al-TusT 

Nasir AL-DTn al-TusT (died 1274)[ 143 1 au- 
thored a very worthwhile work concerning pre- 
cious stones and metals in the Persian lan- 
guage, Tansuh-ndme-i ilhdni.l 144 } It is a 
manuscript known it two distinctive recensions. 
The first chapter handles 41 different precious 
stones including sapphire, emerald, diamond, 
ruby, turquoise, and jasper. The second chap- 
ter provides descriptions of precious substances 
of non-mineral origin including ivory, balsam, 
and ebony. The third chapter provides infor- 
mation on substances that emit odor includ- 
ing ambra, aloe, sandlewood. The final section 
describes the fusible minerals, which includes 
gold, silver, copper, tin, lead and the like. This 
work was designated the most useful and com- 
prehensive work of its kind. 

3.1.19 al-QazwInl 

Abu YahyA ZakarTyA ibn Muhammad ibn 
Mahmud AL-QazwTnT (c1203-1283) was a fa- 
mous Arab cosmographer and georgrapher who 
seems to have received a legal education.! 145 ] 

the Best of Stones Ahmad ibn Yusuf Al Tifaschi, Ahmad ibn 
Tifashi. [Translator:] Samar Najm Abul-Huda. New York, 
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1997. 320 p. ISBN: 
0810832941. References: Ruska, Steinbuch des Aristoteles 1 
1912, p. 23-31. • Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, 
p. 254-6. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 
125-6. • Wiedemann, Mineralogie in Islam, 1912, p. 206-7. 

I 143 l DSB, 13, ??. ■ Wiedemann, E., "Uber die 
Entstehung der Farben nach Naslr al-din al-TusT," 
Jahrbuch der Photographie und Reproduktionstechnik, 1908 
(Halle), p. 86-89. • Wiedemann, E., "Zum Leben von 
Naslr al Din al TusT," Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch- 
medizinischen Sozietat in Erlangen, 58/59 (1926-7), 58-59 
and 363-79. [Published as: Beitrage zur Geschichte der 
Naturwissenschaften, 75.] • Wiedemann, E., "Naslr al 
Din al TusT," Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch-medizinischen 
Sozietat in Erlangen, 60 (1928), 289-316. 

[144] Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 127. 
[145] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 1, p. 405 & 
Suppl. 1 , p. 924. * DSB, 11, ??. • Encyclopedia of Islam, 4, 
865-7. • Ruska, J., "KazwTmstudien," Islam. Zeitschrift fur 
Geschichte und Kultur des islamischen Orients, 4 (1913), I4- 
86, 236-62. • Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 2, p. 868-870. 

A Persian writing in Arabic, al-QazwfnT has jus- 
tifiably been called the Medieval (or Muslim) 
Pliny, a comparision made because of the depth 
of his knowledge and the lack of critical temper 
in his books. He authored two large compendi- 
ums, which have sometimes been characterised 
as two parts of the same work, but which are 
in fact independent of each other. 

The first of his books commonly called 
the Cosmography has the title 'Ajcr'ib al- 
Makhlukdt wa-jarcPib al-mawjuddt (Marvels of 
Created Things and Miraculous Aspects of 
Things Existing).! 146 ! This text is the 

first systematic description of cosmography in 
Islamic literature. That it enjoyed tremendous 
popularity is shown by the large number of 
surviving manuscripts that represent several 
different recensions of the text as well as early 
translations into Persian and Turkish. This 
work is divided into two parts the first of which 
treats celestial items and the other terrestrial 
ones. In the first part al-Qazwfnf describes 
the moon, sun, planets, stars, as well as the 
inhabitants of heaven, angels. At the end of 
this segment he provides an explanation and 
chronology of the Arabic and Syrian calendars. 
The second part starts with an essay on the four 
Aristotelian elements, meteors and the winds. 
The author then classifies the earth into seven 
climates with descriptions of all of the known 
seas and rivers. He explains the causes of 
earthquakes and the formation of mountains 
and wells. Al-QazwTnT then reviews the three 
realms of nature: mineral, vegetable and 
animal. However, the account of the animals 
is preceded by a description of man, including 
his character, anatomy and characteristics of 
his tribes. The section dealing with minerals 
was translated into German with a commentary 
by the renowned orientalist Julius Ruska in 

! 1 Modern edition: Ferdinand Wiistenfeld., Zakarija 
Ben Muhammed Ben Mahmud) el-Cazwini's [al-Qazwini] 
Kosmographie. Gottingen, Dieterich, 1848-1849. 2 

parts. (I: Die Wunder der Schopfung. Aus den 

Handschriften der Bibliotheken zu Berlin, Gotha, Dresden 
und Hamburg. XII (German text), 452 (Arabic text) p. 
II: Die Denkmaler der Lander. Aus den Handschriften 
des Dr. Lee und den Bibliotheken zu Berlin, Gotha 
und Leyden. X (German text), 418 (Arabic text) p.) 
[Reprinted, Wiesbaden, Martin Sandig, 1967.] References: 
Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 256-257. • 
Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 127-8. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1 Islamic Influences 

1895.I 147 ! 

Al-QazwTnT's second work, commonly 
refered to as the Geography is known through 
several manuscripts in two distinct recensions. 
The first is dated 1262/3 and carries the 
title, c Adj(fib al-buldan (Prodigies of the 
Countries). The second, apparently a revised 
version, carries the date 1275/6 and has 
the title, Athar al-bilad wa-akhbar aFibad 
(Monuments of the Countries and History of 
their Inhabitants).! 148 ] Both versions contain 
descriptions of the seven climates of the earth. 
For each clime the separate cities, countries, 
mountains, islands, lakes, rivers, etc., are listed 
in alphabetical order. In other words, instead 
of being one alphabetical dictionary, it is a 
collection of seven dictionaries, one for each 
climate. The description of each city and 
country contains geographical and historical 
facts along with biographical information on 
famous personalities originating from them. 

3.1.20 al-Qibjaql 

Bailak ibn Muhammad al-QibjAqT (or al- 
QabajaqT) dedicated to the prince of Hamat 
al-Malik al-Mansur II, the son of the Malik 
al-Muzaffar II, a work with the title of Kanz 
at-tijdr ft ma c rifat al-ahjdr (A Treasure for 
Merchants regarding the Knowledge of Stones) 
written in 1282. I 149 ! The writing comprises 
30 chapters and followed closely the book of 
al-TlfasT. In the prologue al-Qibjaql lists 23 
authors that he has cited including Aristotle, 
Theophrastus, Ptolemy, and al-Blrum. The 
magnetic compass is also mentioned. 

3.1.21 As-SuwaidI 

Tzz ad-DTn IbeAhTm ibn Muhammad as- 
SuwaidT (died 1292) wrote the Kitab Hawass 
al-ahjdr mina l-yawaqit wa-l-jawahirA 150 ^ In 

1 1 Julius Ruska., Das Steinbuch aus der Kosmographie. 
Ubersetzt und mit Anmerkungen Versehen von Julius 
Ruska. Kirchhain, N.-L., Druck von M. Schmersow, cl895. 
44 p. [Published as: Beilage zum Jahrsbericht 1895/6 der 
prov. Oberrealschule, Heidelberg.} 


[149] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 1, p. 652 & 
Suppl. 1 , p. 904. • Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 2, p. 
1072. • Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 256. 
• Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 128. 

1 I Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 257- 
258. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 129. 

this small writing 26 stones are treated, with 
their descriptions derived from other Islamic 
sources with no originality. Stress is placed on 
the pharmaceutical uses of the stones that are 

3.1.22 al-Qasanl 

In 1301 in Tabriz, Persia Abu l-QAsim c Abd 
AllAh ibn c AlT ibn Muhammad ibn abT 
TAhir AL-QAsAnT wrote the Kitab c Ara?is al- 
jawahir wa-nafa'is al-atayibA 151 ^ The book 
treats precious stones giving descriptions of 
their physical properties, with the final section 
telling the use of stones in technology. 

3.1.23 al-Dimasql 

Shams al-dTn Abu c AbdallAh Muhammad 
ibn abT TAlib al-AnsArT al-SufT al- 
DimasqT (1256-1327) I 152 l devoted the second 
chapter of his large Nukhbat al-dahr ft 'adjcPib 
al-barr wa c l-bahr (Selection of the Age on the 
Wonders of the Land and Sea) to minerals, 
metals and stones. I 153 ! This cosmography, 

written in the 14th century is the author's best 
known work and is a compilation dealing with 
geography in the widest sense that contains 
a large amount of information to be found 
no where else. The section on mineralogy 
is divided into 11 sections. Seven metals 
are treated in the first, with their physical 
properties described, their origin in terms of 
Aristotlian doctrine explained, their active and 
passive virtues listed, and their relationship 
with the planets discussed. Physical and 
magical properties are indiscriminately mixed 
together. The second portion treats the 
origin of metals based on their content of 
sulfur and mercury. Section three refutes 
alchemy, while part four describes precious 
stones in which approximately 20 items are 

I 151 ! Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 129. 
[152] DSB; ??; ??> . Encyclopedia of Islam, 2, p. 291. • 
Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 3, p. 800-802. 
[lbS\ Translation: Mehren, A.F., Manuel de la Cosmographie 
du Moyen Age. Traduit de l'arabe "Nokhbet ed- 

Dahr fi 'Adjaib-il-Birr wal-Bah'r" de Shems ed-Din 
Abou-'Abdallah Moh'ammad de Damas, et accompagne 
d'eclaircissements. Copenhagen, 1874. 468 p. [Reprinted, 
1994 by Islamic Geography no. 204.; ISBN 3-8298-1192-6.] 
References: Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1898, 2, p. 
130 & 138. • Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 
259. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 130. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

3.1 Islamic Influences 

listed and characterized. Section five treats the 
less valuable stones like turquoise, carnelian, 
chrysolith, onyx, jasper, etc. The magnet in 
its various forms is described in the sixth part. 
This part has been based almost completely 
on the Lapidary of Aristotele. Part seven 
describes beads of various types, while section 
eight treats the remaining minerals like arsenic, 
salts, borax, etc. In the ninth section other 
less valuable stones are treated and include 
malachite, obsidian, marcasite, etc. The tenth 
portion concerns geological questions, and the 
final part contains stories about imitation 
jewels and how one detects them. 

3.1.24 Ibn Abl Bakr Mustaufi al-QazwInl 

The Persian historian and encyclopedist 
Hamdallah ibn AbT Bakr MustaufT al- 
QazwTnT (died after 1340)[ 154 1 wrote in 

Persian his Nuzhat al-qulub (Delight of the 
Heart) in an easily comprehensible style. It is 
essentially a cosmographical and geographical 
encyclopedia in which the first part describes 
the three realms of nature including minerals 
and stones.! 155 ! From ZakarTya 

ibn Muhammad al-QazwTnf he copies the 
organization of the minerals into metals, stones 
and viscous materials and also the origins 
of these minerals. Later in the work, the 
geographical portion of the book discusses in 
detail the places to find the seven metals as well 
as the methods of extraction from the earth. 
He also does the same for the precious stones 
and for the viscous substances like petroleum, 
naptha, bitumen, pitch, sulfur, mercury, etc. 

3.1.25 al-Jildakl 

hi the second part of the Al-ikhtisas wa-Durrat 
al-gawwas ft asrar al-gawwas (Natural and 
Occult Properties of Animals and Stones), I 156 ! 
the Muslim alchemist c Izz AD-DTn Aidamir 

1 J Encyclopedia of Islam, 3, p. 122. • Sarton, Introduction, 
1928-52, 3, p. 630-632. 

1 J al-QazwTnl, The geographical part of his Nuzhat-al- 
Qulub composed in 740 (1340). Leyden, Brill, 1915. 2 
vols. [Vol 1 text edited by Guy le Strange.; Vol 2 English 
translation with notes by Guy le Strange.; published as: 
Gibb Memorial Series, 23, nrs. 1 and 2.] • Stephenson, J., 
"The zoological section of the 'Nuzhatu-1-qulub' ( a Persian 
compendium of science, 1.340 A.D.)," Isis, 11 (1928), 285- 
315. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 131. 

I 156 ! Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 2, p. 173- 

ibn c AlT ibn Aidamir al-JildakT (died 
1342/3) I 157 ! dedicates a long section to stones 
and minerals. He begins with a discussion 
of the theory of Aristotles that stones are 
a mixture of the four primal elements that 
have been consolidated by fire. Then in 
five sections the minerals are systematically 
treated. Section one contains 29 different types 
of jewels together with many subspecies. Part 
two treats the relative value and prices of 
these stones. The third part describes the 
common minerals, 19 in all. Section four 
treats 17 varieties that are thought to possess 
miraculous properties. The fifth portion is 
dedicated to the stones that are found in 
animals as well as magnets, altogether 1 1 pieces 
are mentioned. Many times, al-JildakT provides 
synomyms and linguistic explanations for the 
names of the stones mentioned, but even so the 
nomenclature is so disfigured it is difficult to 
easily determine the actual species described. 

3.1.26 al-Akfanl 

The physician SAMS AD-DTn MUHAMMAD 
ibn IbrAhTm al-AnsAri as-SahAwT al- 
AkfAnTI 158 ! wrote a handbuch under the title 
Nuhab addahffir ft ahwal al-jawahir (Selection 
of Treasures concerning the Conditions of 
Jewels).! 159 ! It is a short work written 

in the 13th century in which fourteen of the 
most important precious stones are treated. 
Here their properties are listed, their localities 
noted, their values estimated, and their magical 
and theraputic properties enumerated. Al- 
AkfanT has relied upon the previous works 
of al-KindT, al-Blrunl, and the Lapidary of 
Aristotle. A German translation was published 
by Wiedemann in 1912. I 160 ! 

3.1.27 al-Majrltl 

A stone book is attributed to the mathemati- 
cian and alchemist Abu AL-QAsim Maslama 

174. • Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 261. • 
Ullmann, Natuwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 131-2. 

I 157 l Holmyard, E.J. "Aidamir al-JildakT," Iraq, 4 (1937), 
47-53, biblio. 

I 158 l Sarton, Introduction, 1928-52, 3, p. 899-901. 

I 159 l Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften imlslam, 1972, p. 132-3. 
• Wiedemann, Mineralogie in Islam, 1912, p. 207. 

[ISO] Wiedemann, Mineralogie in Islam, 1912, p. 211-229. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

3.1 Islamic Influences 

AL-MajrTtT (d«edcl006)[ 161 l that contains ci- 
tations from al-JildakT. I 162 ! The text, known 
in about ten manuscripts, concentrates on the 
magical and marvelous properties of precious 
stones, as well as giving information copied 
from al-Birunl on the specific gravity of the va- 

3.1.28 Mansur 

Muhammed ibn Mansur wrote a work in 
Persian Gawdhir Ndmeh that deals with the 
important precious stones. I 163 ! Included 

is a discussion of the specific gravity of the 
individual gems that has been repeated from 

3.1.29 al-Jazaril 

Contained in the encyclopedia of natural 
science Tuhfat al- c ja'ib compiled by Ibn al- 
AtTr AL-JazariT is a section on stones. I 164 ! 
He writes of the miraculous properties of stones 
as well as their healing power. He describes 
talismans, gold, silver, the natural magnet, and 
minerals derived from the bodies of plants and 
animals. The seven metals are described as are 
the precious and semiprecious stones, vitriol, 
various salts, mercury, sulfur, petroleum, and 

3.1.30 al-Gaffarl 

A stone book written in Turkish that appeared 
under the title Kitab Ydqutat al-mahdzin fi 
Jawdhir al-ma c ddin comes from YahyA IBN 
Muhammad al-GaffArTJ 165 ! Al-GaffarT 

relies particularly on earlier Persian books. He 
treats minerals and stones in four parts: (1) 
subterranean substances that are needed for 
the formation of metals, (2) the jewels, (3) the 
metals and their alloys, and (4) perfumes. 

3.1.31 al-MaqrlzI 

Abu al- c AbbAs Ahmad ibn c lT TaqT al- 
DTn AL-MaqrTzT (c1364-1442) authored in 

[161] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 1, p. 281- 
282 & Suppl. 1 , p. 431-432. * DSB, 9, ??. 

I 162 ! Dunlop, Arabic Science in the West, 1958, p. 78. 
• Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 251. • 
Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 122-3. 

[163] Wiedemann, Mineraiogie in Islam, 1912, p. 208. 

[164] Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 133. 

[165] ullmann, JVaturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 134. 

1442 a small work on stones under the title, 
Kitab al-Maqdsid as-saniya li-ma c rifat al- 
ajsdm al-mcf diniya (Increasing the Knowledge 
of Mineral Bodies). I 166 ! 

3.1.32 al-Wardl 

The chapter on stones in the Harida of 
c Umar ibn AL-WardT begins by discussing 
colored magical stones. I 167 ! Their supposed 
occult properties are described and the author 
mentions especially antimony, vitriol, salt. 
Altogether 41 stones are treated following 
Aristotelian principles. 

3.1.33 SlrazI 

Muhammad ibn Mansur. STrAzT authored 
in Persian for the Sultan Abu 1-Fath HalTl 
Bahadur Han (reigned, 1478-1479) the work, 
Risdla-i Jawdhir (Epistles on Jewels). I 168 ! It 
depends heavily on the work of al-TifasT in 
its description of about 40 stones. External 
properties are primarily used to distinguish 
species and medical uses are noted. The specific 
gravities mentioned date back to al-Birunl. 
Ornamental uses as well as technological 
applications are also cited. 

3.1.34 al-Baihaql 

c AtA 3 ibn al-Husain ibn c AlT al-BaihaqT 
wrote for the Yemen ruler Salah ad-Din c Amir 
ibn c Abd al-Wahhab (1488-1517) the Kitab 
Ma c din an-nawddir ji ma c rifat al- Jawdhir 
(The Mine of the Precious Reference to the 
Knowledge of Jewels). I 169 ! 

[166] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, Suppl. 2 , 
p. 37, nr. K. • Lippmann, E.O. von, "Alchemistisches aus 
Makrizi's 'Beschreibung Aegyptens'," Chemiker Zeitung, 54 
(1930), 2. • Steinschneider, Arabische Lapidarien, 1895, p. 
261. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 135. 
• Wiedemann, E., "Zur Geschichte des Kompasses und zu 
dem Inhalt eines Gefasses in verschieden Abstanden vom 
Erdmittelpunkt," Zeitschrift fur Physik, 24 (1924), 166-268. 
[Includes a description by al-Maqrizi of a magnetic fish for 
determining directions at sea.] 

[167] Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 135- 

I 168 ! Ruska, Steinbuch, 1912, p. 31-33. • Ullmann, 
Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 136. • Wiedemann, 
Mineralogie in Islam, 1912, p. 208. 

[169] Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, 2, p. 213 & 
Suppl. 2 , p. 253. • Ritter, Orientalische Steinbiicher, 1935, 
p. 9-10. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.1.35 al-Mubarak Qazwlnl 

Muhammad ibn al-Mubarak QazwTnT 
wrote in Persian for the Ottoman Sultan SelTm I 
(1512-1520) the Risdla dar Ma c rifat-i Jawdhir 
(Epistles on Metals and Jewels). I 170 ! It 

contains an introduction and two parts. The 
first section in 21 sections treats stones and the 
second in 8 parts handles the metals. 

3.1.36 al-Maghribl 

ImAm Ahmad ibn Twad ibn Muhammad 
AL-MaghribT authored a lapidary before the 
17th century Kitdb Qatf al-azhdr ft hawdss 
al-ma c ddin wa-l-ahjdr (Book of the Properties 
and Characteristics of Minerals and Stones). 
The book is derived from other Arabic works 
on the properties of minerals. The author relies 
heavily on the Cosmography of QazwTwT, the 
Durra of al-JildakT and the Tadkira of Dawud 
al-Antakl from which he gives quotations. I 171 ! 
This was the last of the major stone books 
published by the Islamic authors. 

3.2 Lithotherapy! 172 ] 

The use of stones and minerals in medical 
therapeutics has existed since the earliest 
times. Their use has, however, been largely 
overshadowed in the literature by the studies of 
remedies based on plants and to a lesser extent 
animals. Nevertheless, the term 'Lithotherapy' 
was introduced in the sixteenth century to 
define the use and preparation of mineral 
substances in the medical welfare of patients. 

I 170 ! Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 137. 

[1 7 1J Brockelmann, Arabischen Literatur, 1943, Suppl. 2 , p. 
713. • Ullmann, Naturwissenschaften im Islam, 1972, p. 137. 
[172\ j^ f ew studies have appeared that provide a history 
of stones in pharmacy and medicine: H.G. Fuhner, 
Lithotherapie. Historische Studien fiber die medizinische 
Verwendung der Edelsteine. Erweiterter Abdruck der 
gleichnamigen Inaugural-Dissertation. Berlin, Verlag von 
S. Calvary & Co., 1902. [6], 150 p. • Christel Meier, 
Gemma spiritalis. Teil I. Munchen, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 
1977. 542, [2] p., biblio. [See p. 361-459]. * H.H. 
Otten, "[Piedra de mijada, jade. A medico-historical 
look at lithotherapy]", Medische Welt, 32 (May, 1981), p. 
765-766. • U. Rath, Zur Geschichte der pharmazeutischen 
Alineralogie. Braunschweig, Universitat Braunschweig, 
1971. 273 p. [Published as: Pharmazeigeschichtlicher Seminar 
der Technischen Universitat Braunschweig, vol. 12. Covers the 
history of pharmaceutical mineralogy] • John M. Riddle, 
"Lithotherapy in the Middle Ages. Lapidaries considered 
as medical texts," Pharmacy in History, 12 (1970), p. 39-50. 

In antiquity great belief was placed in the 
use of gemstones and other mineral substances 
as cures and remedies for a wide variety of 
ailments. The treatment involved wearing 
the stones as amulets, talismans, or rings or 
in other instances pulverizing the stone for 
mixture with other ingredients to form noxious 
prescriptions. Dissemination of this knowledge 
through the Medieval herbals, pharmacopoeias 
and encyclopedias, as well as the very popular 
type of book called a lapidary, clearly gave 
authority for physicians to prescribe treatments 
using substances that would today clearly be 
classed as mineralogical. Such use of stones 
in medicine, therefore, truly began to flourish 
in the Middle Ages. In addition, many 
times these prescriptions were formulated by 
applying the astrological sign and the mystical 
powers attached to the stone. For example, 
diamond because of its unusual strength was 
thought to ward of the effects of ingested 
poisons, or wine drunk with dissolved pearls 
a cure for intestinal distress. Later as alchemy 
began to develop a universal remedy or catalyst 
generally called the 'Philosopher's Stone' that 
could work miracles for patients as well as 
transmute lead to gold was theorized to exist. 
It was not until the full development of modern 
medical science, however, that the vital role 
minerals play in health was shown. This 
culminates today in the interesting fact that 
virtually every pill or tablet prescribed has a 
mineral component. 

3.2.1 Lapidaries l 173 l 

[lrdj p re vious studies of lapidaries, published texts, and 
stone lore in general include: Alios Closs., "Die Stein- 
bucher in kulturhistorischer Uberschau," Mitteilungsblatt - 
Abteilung fiir Mineralogie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, 
8 (1958), p. 1-34. [Overview of lapidary tradition in Eu- 
rope, Islam and the Orient.] • Pierre Duhem., Etudes sur 
Leonard de Vince. Paris, 1906-13. • Joan Evans., Magical 
jewels of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Oxford, 1922. 
264 p. • ibid, and Mary S. Serjeantson., English Mediaeval 
Lapidaries. London, 1933. [Published as: English Text Soci- 
ety, no. 190.] • Robert M. Garrett., Precious Stones in Old 
English Literature. Leipzig, 1909. [Published as: Manchener 
Beitrage zur romanischen and englischen Philologie.] • Hen- 
drick Harpestraeng., Gamle danske urteb0ger, stenb0ger og 
k0geb0ger. Kopenhagen, 1908-21. [Contains a history of 
lapidaries.] • Urban T. Holmes., "Mediaeval gemstones," 
Speculum, 9 (1934), p. 195-204. • C.W. King., Antique gems: 
Their origin, uses, and value. London, 1860. • George F. 
Kunz., The curious lore of precious stones. Philadelphia and 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 


Citations to gemstones used as ornaments, 
talismans, or amulets, and to other minerals 
and stones used in medicine date back to at 
least the writings of ancient Egypt and the 
Near East. But the lapidary, a work that 
described the healing properties of 'stones' 
may be said to have been invented by the 
ancient Greeks. These treatises, usually quite 
short, deal exclusively with metals, stones, 
and gems, with their medicinal and magical 
characters particularly mentioned because at 
the time of their appearance, stones were 
generally believed to possess these properties 
and were therefore looked upon with great 
interest by the public. Physical properties and 
the composition of the stones were generally 
not mentioned. 

That the lapidaries were very popular 
not only among the educated classes of the 
community but also among the middle classes, 
is shown by the fact that there were many of 
them and they were in great demand. They 
were frequently written or translated into the 
vernacular languages of many of the European 
countries insuring their wide availability. The 
goldsmiths and jewelers probably offered them 
for sale together with their normal merchandise 
as an aid to set forth the value of their wares, 
and the customers bought the gems they wore 
not only for purposes of adornment but for the 
magical powers which they were supposed to 
possess. How many of these lapidaries have 
survived is unknown. Some of them were never 
printed but are known to exist in the form of 
manuscripts only, in one or other of the great 
libraries of Europe. Furthermore, during the 
Middle Ages, the encyclopediaists incorporated 
sections of these traditional lapidaries into their 
own work, sometimes with attribution, but 
usually not, thus making the material even 
more widely available. 

London, 1913. • Fernand de Mely., Histoire des sciences 
les lapidaires de l'antiquite et du moyen age. Ouvrage publie 
sous les auspices du ministere de l'instruction publique et 
de l'academie des sciences. Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1896- 
1902. 3 vols. [An amazing compilation of ancient lap- 
idaries, translations and commentary that was unfortu- 
nately never completed.] • Paul Meyer., "Les plus anciens 
lapidaires frangais," Romania, 38 (1909), p. 44-70, 254-552. 

• Leopold Pannier., Les Lapidaries Francais. Paris, 1882. 

• Paul Studer and Joan Evans., Anglo-Norman Lapidaries. 
Paris, 1924. 

Written in a seemingly endless variety 
of formats and arrangements the European 
lapidaries may be grouped into one of three 
general types. I 174 ! 

1. The scientific lapidaries whose material is 
derived from such classical writers as Theophrastus, 
Dioscorides, Damigeron, and Galen. 

2. The magical or astrological lapidaries, 
sometimes also referred to as the Alexandrian 
lapidaries, because best evidence shows they were 
written in Egyptian Alexandria in the ninth century 

3. The Christian or Christian symbolic lapi- 
daries that describes the twelve stones named in 
the Bible as contained in Arron's breast plate in ei- 
ther Exodus or in the Apocalyptic literature. 

These categories although useful in group- 
ing lapidaries of similar types, are in no way 
absolute, because very often some of the de- 
scriptions in one lapidary are derived from ti- 
tles listed in the other groups. Scientific Lapidaries 

Some of the best knowledge of medieval 
mineralogy is preserved in the scientific 
lapidaries. These are works that carried 
forward the ancient traditions of mystical 
and occult properties of precious stones, by 
repeating the ideas presented in the ancient 
works of Theophrastus, Pliny, and the like. Marbode (1035-1123) 

MARBODE, I 175 l Bishop of Rennes, composed 
the Liber Lapidum seu de Gemmis (Book of 

[174] This classification was developed by Joan Evans 
(Magical Jewels, 1922, p. 38) and George Sarton 
(Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 764). 
Recently, Halleux has made a further division, splitting the 
????? into two, 11111 and 1111. For this study, the three 
divisions are sufficient to present the material. 

I 175 ! Marbode (Born: Angers, France, 1035; Died: Angers, 
France, 11 September 1123), whose true name was 'de 
Marboeuf,' received his early education at Angers. After 
teaching some time at the cathedral school of Angers, he 
was put at the head of the educational system of the city 
and Diocese of Anvers in 1067. Later he became archdeacon 
and in 1096 Urban II appointed him Bishop of Rennes. In 
his youth he indulged in many excesses, but from the time 
he became bishop his life was without reproach. In 1104 
he was present at the Council of Tours, and in 1109 he was 
made administrator of the Diocese of Angers. At the age 
of eighty-eight he resigned his diocese and withdrew to the 
Benedictine monastery of St. Aubin at Angers where he 
died soon after. 


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Stones or Gems) between 1061 and 1081. It is 
by far the most important of the early medieval 
lapidaries, being the first book of its type 
written in Europe since the Classical Age, and 
it is the one most widely quoted by the authors 
that followed. Written between the years 
1061 and 1081, the text was composed in 734 
Latin hexameters that records the medical and 
magical properties of some sixty stones. The 
choice of writing the book in verse was made 
so that those who referenced it might better 
remember the content given in the book. I 176 ! 

It is a scientific lapidary, having derived 
much of its information from the second 
century C.E. Hellenistic lapidary, De Virtutibus 
Lapidum, attributed to Damigeron. Marbode 
begins his poem with the lines: "Evax, King 
of the Arabs is said to have written to Nero, 
Who after Augustus ruled next in the city, How 
many species of stones, what name and what 
colors, from what regions they came and how 
great the power of each one." This reference 
to Evax King of the Arabs is nearly a direct 
quote from Damigeron's Hellenistic lapidary. 
It is also the same Evax referred to by Pliny 
in the twenty-fifth book of his Natural History 
in the following words, "Evax a King of the 
Arabians, wrote a book as touching the virtues 
and operations of Simples, which he sent unto 
the Emperor Nero." Nothing further, however, 
is known the Evax so frequently mentioned 
in the medieval lapidaries, and he may in 
fact be a literary invention. In fact when 
Marbode's authorship is omitted from the early 
manuscripts the lapidary was usually referred 

[17b] Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 144, 149-155. • C. W. King., Antique 
Gems, 1860, p. 391-417. [Contains an English translation 
of Marbode.] • Pannier, Les Lapidaires Francais, 1882, p. 
1-81. • John M. Riddle., "Lithotherapy in the Middle 
Ages. Lapidaries considered as medical texts," Pharmacy in 
History, 12 (1970), 39-50. [Briefly describes the importance 
of lapidaries in early medical history.] • ibid. , Marbode of 
Rennes' De lapidibus considered as a medical treatise with text. 
Commentary, and C.W. King's translation, together with 
text and translation of Marbode's minor works on stones 
by John M. Riddle. Wiesbaden, Steiner, 1977. xii, 144 p. • 
Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 764- 
5. • Paul Studer and Joan Evans., Anglo-Norman Lapidaries. 
Paris, 1924. 424 p. [Scientific edition, with abundant notes 
and glossary, of a number of Anglo-Norman lapidaries, in 
prose and verse, all derived from Marbode.] • Thorndike, 
History of Magic, 1923, 1, p. 749-??. 

to as the 'Lapidary of Evax'. For other sources, 
Marbode rarely if ever uses Pliny directly, but 
took some of his descriptions from Solinus and 
from Isidore, who are derivative of that famous 
Roman author. 

Marbode then gives his description of some 
sixty stones that in the early manuscripts 
are listed without any internal order; it was 
not until the later printed editions that the 
verses are arranged alphabetically according to 
the stone's name. Considering the author's 
religious life, it is interesting to note that the 
tone of the poem is distinctly pagan with little 
concern for Christian symbolism. Marbode's 
purpose in writing was, as he explains in 
his Prologue, to reveal the secrets concerning 
stones. There was a danger, he feared, that 
revealing the secret powers of the stones to the 
public would diminish their effectiveness, but 
he nevertheless believed that the secrets needed 
to be shared with his readers. He concerns 
himself with describing the stones, giving their 
locations and powers, and mentions how they 
are best used in medicine. Constantly the 
reader is reminded that the power of the stones 
are there to be exploited by men who know the 
secrets he is revealing. This believe was not 
original to Marbode, and in fact came from 
ancient sources, but the emphasis he placed 
on the mystical and practical virtues of each 
stone starts a line of thought that is followed 
by virtually all other late medieval lapidarists. 

Marbode created a unique book that was 
the most widely read lapidary of the Middle 
Ages. As Riddle comments: 

There is a new spirit in his work, not seen in earlier 
lapidaries, which emphasizes that the knowledge of stones 
is useful and a means of power for men. Marbode's 
lapidary then becomes the model for numerous subsequent 
treatises. More important, the utility of the stone-lore, 
however magical some of it may seem to moderns, was 
a constant theme. This trend toward practicality makes 
a study of De Lapidibus a revealing insight into the 
formulation period of the 'Renaissance of the Twelfth 
CenturyM 177 ! 

More than 140 manuscripts of this lapidary 
are known, and before the advent of printing it 

l 177 J John M. Riddle., Marbode of Rennes' De lapidibus 
considered as a medical treatise with text, 1977, p. ix. 


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was translated into French, Provencal, Danish, 
Hebrew, and Spanish. After the invention of 
printing, 14 edition's appeared between 1511 
and 1740, with still other printings at later 
dates. I 178 l 

hi addition, Marbode also wrote three 
other short lapidaries, one in verse and two in 
prose, that are less well known. I 179 ! These 

were works that dealt exclusively with the 
twelve Christian stones mentioned in the 
Bible, and their content is firmly anchored 
in the symbolism of Christian doctrine. A 
short ninety-nine line poem was written 
as a prayer thanking God for the twelve 
stones mentioned in The Apocalypses of St. 
John the Apostle (21, 9-21) that are the 
foundation of God's Heavenly City. Each 
stone is described briefly, followed by Christian 
symbolism. Any virtues mentioned are 

supernatural. Marbode, also used the same 
twelve stones in the same order as the subject 
of his Christian Prose Lapidary. Just like 
the verse version, Christian symbolism prevails, 
but this time with scriptural references. 
Finally, the Medical Prose Lapidary emphasizes 
the medical qualities of the twelve stones, 
but also includes Christian symbolism in the 
summary. All three works, Riddle suggests, 
were probably writing exercises for Marbode 
as he accumulated information for his more 
important Liber Lapidum. Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) 

Albertus Magnus! 180 ! set as his life's work 
to place all of Aristotle's extant writings into 

[1 < 8 J Libellus De Lapidibus Preciosis, first edition, Vienna, 
1511, and other early editions of Rennes, 1524, Freiburg, 
1531, Paris, 1531, Freiburg in Breisgau, 1531, Cologne, 
1539, etc. Refs. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993, 
nos. 4168-4193. 

I 179 ! John M. Riddle., Marbode of Rennes' De lapidibus 
considered as a medical treatise with text, 1977, p. 21-22. 

L J Albertus Magnus (Born: Lauingen, Swabia, Ger- 
many, 1193; Died: Cologne, Germany, 15 November 1280) 
was one of the most famous authors of the High Middle 
Ages. He was born to a wealthy and powerful family, "which 
provided him "with a good Classical eduction. He studied 
liberal arts at Padua, where he came under the influence 
of Joranus of Saxony [7-1236], Master General of the Do- 
minican Order. Against his family wishes, Albert vowed 
to a life of poverty and entered the Order, eventually be- 
ing ordained a priest. Around 1241, he was sent to the 
University of Paris "where he quickly rose to the post of 
Master of Theology. His devotion and knowledge soon lead 

a coherent system and to reconcile the Greek 
philosophies with those of the Christian world. 
To attain this outcome, he scoured the libraries 
of every monastery he visited for any writings 
of the Ancients. In this quest he was rewarded 
with the discovery of several ancient works 
thought lost. These he had copied under 
his own eyes, thus preserving them for the 
future when they might not otherwise have 
survived. However, Albert's diligence did 
not locate any copy of what he thought was 
Aristotle's Lapidary, and what is now known 
to be a pseudo-Aristotelian work. He was 
therefore forced to write his own work dealing 
with minerals. The result is of remarkable 
interest as it shows not only what the state of 
mineralogy was in the 13th century, but what 
Albert thought the science should be. 

The De Mineralibus (Book of Miner- 
als) I 181 ' is an reflection of the knowledge of 
minerals in the 13th century structured in the 
framework of ancient Greek doctrine. Follow- 
ing basic Aristotelian philosophy and guided 
only by the few lines devoted to mineral sub- 
stances in Aristotle's Meteorologica, Albertus 
draws heavily upon his own observations and 
less so on other medieval and classical sources 
to describe minerals. Various duties of his re- 
ligious Order caused him to take frequent trips 
throughout the territories of France, Germany 
and Italy. Along the literally thousands of miles 
traveled on foot by Albertus, he had many 
encounters with mines, miners and minerals. 
These impressions he retained in his memory 

to his appointment to establish in Cologne a studium gen- 
erate. This education center was to occupy and consume 
Albertus for the remainder of his life; among his illustri- 
ous students were Thomas Aquinas [1227-1274], Thomas 
of Cantimpre [1201-after 1280] and Ulrich of Strassburg 
and Giles [7-1278]. In 1260 the Pope appointed Albertus 
Bishop of Regensburg, a post he resigned in 1262. The re- 
mainder of his long life was devoted to preaching, teaching 
and writing, primarily at Cologne. He was the most influen- 
tial medieval educator of the Aristotelian philosphies, and 
through his position as provost at Cologne, he introduced 
Greek teachings to the curriculum — a practice soon copied 
at other education centers. Albertus Magnus was canon- 
ized in 1931 by Pope Pius XI, who declared him Saint to 
all those who cultivate the natural sciences. 

I 181 ] Bibliography ... 

[ 1 

[ Wanting 1 


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until they were later recorded in this work. 
Consequently, when reading Albertus' words, 
there is no doubt as to the authority of his ci- 
tations. One can only regret that the scope of 
the project was so great as to preclude obser- 
vations of many phenomena. 

The De Mineralibus is divided into five 
books, dealing with stones (Books I-II), metals 
(Books III-IV), 'intermediates' (Book V), 
which are neither stones nor metals, but have 
characteristics of both. In books, I, III and 

V the author follows classical philosophy by 
discussing minerals based upon their causes. 
This refers to the four causes distinguished by 
Aristotle as material (the matter from which 
minerals are made), efficient (the process by 
which minerals are made), formal (the form 
which minerals take, assumed by Albertus to be 
based on biological propagation), and final (the 
reason the mineral exists) . In books, II, IV and 

V Albertus completes his plan by individually 
naming stones, metals, and 'intermediates,' and 
describing each in considerable detail. This 
type of catalog, alphabetically arranged on the 
name of the stone was popular in medieval 
herbals and lapidaries and is a tradition that 
dates back at least to Pliny. Yet Albertus' 
De Mineralibus is not a simple lapidary. Even 
though its background is based in medieval 
thought, with many errors, the structure of the 
text is recognizable in modern textbooks (i.e., 
the introduction of general principles giving 
the origin, and physical properties of minerals, 
followed by descriptions of individual minerals 
including appearance, place of occurrence, uses, 
etc.). With Albertus Magnus' mineralogy, the 
study of minerals begins to emerge from its 
embryonic period into a full fledged science. 
The tradition of magical and curative powers in 
gems still permeates the text, but one feels the 
author fighting the superstitions of the ancient 
beliefs, and seeing the world in a new, more 
skeptical and practical view. Bartholomaeus de Ripa Romea 

Outside of Alfonoso's elaborate lapidary that 
never enjoyed circulation outside of Spain, 
apparently one of the most elaborate lapidaries 
was produced in the mid-thirteenth century by 
Bartholomaeus de Ripa Romea. It is a 

discussion and analysis of 130 stones, gems and 
minerals arranged in an alphabetical sequence. 
Known in six unpublished and unstudied 
manuscripts ranging from the thirteenth 
through the fifteenth century this work deserves 
further attention. Authorship is derived from 
two of the manuscripts that state that they 
were authored by one Bartholomaeus de Ripa 
RomeaJ 183 ! Mandeville 

John Mandeville! 183 ! wrote his Lap- 

idairel 184 ^ in the French language, which first 
appeared in manuscripts that date from the 
middle fourteenth century. Pannier (1882) de- 
scribes and compares several such manuscripts 
that had come under his inspection, and con- 
cludes that the text was probably not an au- 
thentic work of Mandeville, but instead sug- 
gests it to be the work of an unnamed jeweler. 
The lapidary includes descriptions of the 
most important precious stones plus many 
others of a fantastic nature. It begins by 
copying from MARBODE, the leading lapidary 
of the period, descriptions of about two dozen 
stones. Then are given descriptions of other 
stones and minerals both imaginary and real 
including pumice, mica, alabaster, and lapis 
lazuli. Stones formed in the human body or the 
bodies of animals are very prominent, as these 
bezoar and eaglestones were believed to bestow 
on their owner marvelous or supernatural 
power. Camillus Leonardus (1502) 

REWORK: The Italian physician CAMILLUS 
LeonardusI 185 ! wrote his popular lapidary 

I 182 l John M. Riddle., "Lithotherapy in the Middle Ages. 
Lapidaries considered as medical texts," Pharmacy in 
History, 12 (1970), p. 39-50. • London, Wellcome Historical 
Library. MSS 116 and 117. 

I 183 l John Mandeville [cl300-1374] was probably a 
pseudonym, for the author of the book generally known as 
Travels of Sir John Mandeville, written in Norman French 
between 1357 and 1371. Virtually nothing is known 
of Mandeville. Much of the book was borrowed from 
narratives written by several world travelers and compiled 
into an entertaining first-person narrative, a compendium 
of medieval knowledge and speculation concerning such 
places as Jerusalem, India, and China. 

[184] Leopold Pannier., Les Lapidaries Francais. Paris, 1882, 
p. ??-??. 
[185] c ar mii us Leonardus was born in Pesaro and 


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Speculum Lapidum (Speculation on Stones) at 
the beginning of the sixteenth century. I 186 ! It 
is a work that in many aspects is a transition 
from the older books about stones and gems 
to a new scientific understanding that is not 
mired in the dogma of the past. Dedicating 
the work to Caesar Borgia, Leonardus divides 
his subject into three books. The first 
considers of the origin and nature of stones, 
with respect to their beauty, color and occult 
virtue. The second gives an alphabetical list of 
279 minerals that are then formally described. 
Leonardus compiled this list by including every 
mineral mentioned by previous writers that he 
was aware off, which gives this book special 
interest to the historian of mineral studies. 
However, many of these minerals are now 
only known by their name alone, the actual 
mineral having been lost to time. Others 
are varieties of the same species, while still 
others are simply fabulous invention. The 
third book describes the ancient figures to 
be engraved upon gems and other stones to 
enhance the virtue of engraved stone, as well as 
an interesting discussion as to how the stones 
absorbed the influence of the planets and zodiac 
constellations and why a stone with any of 
the twelve zodiac signs is supposed to take on 
the properties of that sign, as well as listing 
what those properties are. He mentions that 
the Israelites in the wilderness were the first 
who distinguished themselves in this art of 
engraving gems and that the Romans were the 
greatest masters of it. 

While Leonardus, as he himself states, 
garnered his material from a succession of older 
writers, he shows some indications of having 
come under the influence of the newer methods 
of study which were about to be advocated 

flourished in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. He 
seems to have been a physician and astrologer who worked 
in Italy. He wrote a number of works, some of "which are 
dedicated to his patron, Cesare Borgia [1475-1507]. Refs. 
Thorndike, History of Magic, 19????, 6, p. 298. 

^ 1 See Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993, nos. 
3891-3896. Speculum Lapidum, first edition, Venice, 1502; 
also, Venice, 1516, Paris 1610, and Hamburg, 1717. An 
English translation appeared in London, 1750. Other 
information may be found in Adams, Birth and Development 
of the Geological Sciences, 1938, p. 84, 149, 155-9. • 
Thorndike, History of Magic, 19????, 6, p. 298-304. 

by Agricola and his followers, in that he 
treats of certain physical properties of minerals, 
such as "Perspicuity and Opacity, Hardness or 
Softness, Gravity and Lightness, Density and 
Porosity" and of the importance of these for 
the recognition of various stones. In fact the 
Speculum, which was one of the most widely 
read lapidaries of the time, in its successive 
editions bridged over the transitional period 
between the old and the new mineralogy. In his 
lapidary Leonardus follows Albertus Magnus in 
adopting the Aristotelian theory of the origin of 
stones through the influences of the heavenly 
bodies. Gimma, however, states that owing 
to the inclusion in it of certain ideas and 
certain statements drawn largely from Arabian 
sources, the book fell under the condemnation 
of the Church and was entered in the Index 
Expurgtorius. Ludovico Dolce (1508-1568) 

REWORK: In 1565, Ludovico Dolce! 187 ! 
put his name on the Libri tre, ne i quali 
si tratta delle dibersi sorte delle gemme that 
upon publication was seen to be nothing 
more than an Italian translation of Camillus 
Leonardus' Speculum Lapidum. It brought 
Dolce widespread condemnation as a plagerist 
because no where in the text does he say 
Leonardus was his source, let alone even 
site that other work. There is not the 
slightest suggestion in Dolce's version as to the 
original source even though the plagiarism is 
almost verbatim and the system of numbering 
chapters, with some unnumbered, directly 
traceable to that employed by Leonardo 
Camillus. Adams, for example, in his Birth and 
Depelopment of the Geological Sciences, p 155, 
states "the book also figured in one of the most 
shameless cases of piracy in the whole history 
of letters, a well-known author Ludovico Dolce, 
having made a literal translation of it into 
Italian, which he published at Venice as his own 
work, without making the slightest reference to 
the fact that Leonardus was the author of the 

[l 8 'J Ludovico Dolce, an Italian poset and translator, 
was born in Venice to an old but impoverished family. 
He studied literature and ancient languages, and to 
support himself wrote many translations. Refs. Biographie 
Universal, 11, 483-5. 


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book, in fact on page 3 he refers to it as 'mia 

In general, the text contains extracts from 
the works of Aristotle, Pliny, Isidore, Dionysius 
of Alexandria, Albertus Magnus, and others, 
and emphasizes the curious rather than the 
scientific. It treats the natural history of 
gemstones, their properties which make them 
desirable for wear, distinctions between true 
and false gems, the colors displayed by gems, 
an alphabetical listing of over 200 gemstones, 
other stones, and some rocks, which have 
been described by previous authorities, and 
with brief statements as to their nature and 
attributes. There is a "book" on engraved 
gems with strong emphasis placed on the 
mystical signs and symbols engraved thereon, 
and which by mere presence were supposed 
to confer magical powers. Also mentioned 
here are the famous engravers of antiquity and 
much curious lore as well as excerpts from the 
works of Salomon, a famous magician, and 
Hermes, a noted astrologer. Forgiving Dolce's 
reprehensible conduct in passing off this work 
as his own, this and the several versions below 
served to make the excessively scarce Speculum 
Lapidum more widely accessible, albeit in 
disguise. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Cbemica, 2, 27; 
Thorndike, Hist Magic, 6, 313; Gatterer 2, no 
23. Martin Steinpreis (cl510) 

Martin StainpiesI 188 ! wrote the Lapidarium 
Omni Voluptate Refertum, an interesting and 
rare lapidary that although undated, is thought 
to have been printed in Vienna after the year 
1500, probably around 1510. The text is 
divided into two parts. The first containing 
the introductory material is composed of 13 

I 188 l Martin Stainpies (Born: late 1450s; Died: Vienna, 
Austria, 14 July 1527) matriculated at the University of 
Vienna in April, 1476, gaining his medical degree in 1488 
and his license to practice medicine on 23 September 1490. 
He became professor of medicine at the Vienna Medical 
School, and between 1496 and 1510 he was eight times 
elected Dean of the medical faculty. By 1510 he was one 
of the senior doctors at the medical school. In the plague 
year of 1511, Stainpeis criticized colleagues who fled the 
city, and was called before a committee investigating this 
slander. After his refusal to appear, Stainpeis' faculty 
privileges were revoked. He wrote several medical tracts, 
the last of which is considered the first printed introduction 
to the study of medicine. 

chapters. At the outset the author states that 
the purpose of this work is "first to give such 
information concerning the various minerals as 
will enable them to be recognized, and second 
to set forth their origin, virtues and properties" 
(Adams, 1938). A general description of the 
particular virtues and properties is explained in 
the first part of the book. Included are chapters 
on how the properties manifest themselves, 
how a weak virtue may be strengthened and 
the differences between the mystical powers of 
natural and artificial stones. Throughout, the 
author denounces those who believe gems do 
not possess heavenly powers as ignorant fools. 
He supports this argument by reminding the 
reader that great authorities such as Aristotle 
and Plato recognized these qualities as inherent 
to a stones existence. 

The second part of the text is a descriptive 
list of 117 stones in alphabetical order. Under 
each name there is a commentary about the 
individual properties and virtues attributed to 
the stone. This commentary is largely based 
upon the writings of Albertus Magnus, Pliny, 
Evax, Avicenna and Serapion. In fact, many 
of the notes are copied directly from Albertus 
Magnus, although some stories of anecdotal 
nature are also interspersed. Erasmus Stella (1517) 

Erasmus Stella I 189 ! wrote Interpraetamenti 
Gemmarum Libellus that was first published 
in Erfurt in 1517 and is one of the earliest 
sixteenth century treatises on mineralogy and 
precious stones. I 190 ! It is a different 

type of lapidary than those that came before, 
with its arrangement of gems and minerals 
according to color rather than the typical 
alphabetical sequence. The four color classes 
Stella developed are white, green, red and blue 
or black. Thus are classified: 

I. De gemmis candidis, including diamond, rock 
crystal, iris, ceraunia & astroite, pederote, asteria, 
achate, draconite, allectorio, and margaritis. 

I 189 ! Erasmus Stella (Born: cl450; Died: Zwickau, 
Germany, 1521) was a German physician who studied 
medicine at the Universities of Leipzig and Bologna, 
from where he received his M.D. He was appointed town 
physician of Zwickau in 1501, later becoming Burgomeister. 
[190] Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993, nos. 6331- 


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II. De gemmis viridibus, including smaragdo (emerald), 
beryllis, chrysoprasio, topatio, callaide, prasio, 
heliotropio, jaspide. 

III. De gemmis rubeis, including carbunculorum gener- 
ibus, amthysto, hyacintho, sarda, sardonyce, anyce, 
hematite, corallio, hephesite, chrysolito, electro, and 

IV. Gemmis coeruleis Si nigris, including cyaneo, saphiro, 
calaide Si ceraunia, de moris gemmis, de gemmis ad 
ectypam, etc. 

In this manner thirty-three gems and 
minerals are arranged, with some items 
receiving extended description while others 
are mentioned by name alone. The longer 
commentaries give a fuller picture than many 
previous lapidaries with little or no value 
attributed to magical or supernatural virtues. 
The most important facet of this work is, 
however, that it attempts in some manner to 
systematically arrange the minerals, which is 
perhaps the first explicit attempt at a mineral 
classification since the invention of printing. 
Adams (1938) notes that the descriptions are 
better than earlier works, although Thorndike 
(1923-58) declares the work "little more than 
a compilation from Greek and Latin writers, 
above all, Pliny." I 191 ! Alexandrian Lapidaries! 192 ! 

In the early years of the Christian era in 
the Egyptian city of Alexandria an important 
intellectual center formed. All manner of 
subjects were studied at the city's great library 
and a full curriculum of learning was available 
at the Serapion, a type of university. In this 
environment many new books were written 
including a small group of works dealing 
with stones sometimes referred to as the 
Alexandrian lapidaries. 

These lapidaries were written in Greek and 
describe the magical powers and occult virtues 
attributed to precious and nonprecious stones. 
These books became very popular. They 

[191] Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 147-149. • Sinkankas, Gemology 
Bibliography, 1993, nos. 6331-6333. • Thorndike, History 
of Magic, 19????, 6, p. 302-303. 

1 1 For further reading: Adams, Birth and Development 
of the Geological Sciences, 1938, p. 28-32. • F. Susemihl., 
Geschichte der griechischen litteratur in der Alexandrinerzeit. 
Leipzig, 1891. 2 vols. [p. 856-867]. 

derived there ideas from an eastern influence 
of belief in magic which at that time was 
creeping into western imagination. It was 
further believed that a stone's power could 
be enhanced by engraving upon its surface 
specific symbols or astrological signs. This led 
to a great demand for the engraved amulets 
and charms worn by people to fend off evil 
spirits or disease, or alternately, invite luck and 
prosperity. The authors are mostly unknown, 
and the texts make no real contribution to 
mineralogy, but they do show how minerals and 
gems were viewed and valued at the time. KyranidesI 193 ! 

A Greek work dealing with the medical prop- 
erties of natural objects is the Kyranides 
(KotpamSeo), also sometimes called the Ko- 
raides, whose uncertain authorship is some- 
times attributed to Hermes Trismegistos. This 
work probably of the second or third century 
C.E. has an unmistakable relationship to the 
Hermetic corpus and the Physiologos. It is a 
composite work containing references to Greek 
medicine and festivals, Mithraic rites, Babylo- 
nian astrology, and Jewish religion, whose un- 
doubted origin was the city of Alexandria, the 
only commingled society of the time that would 
nurture such a writing. It treats the magical 
powers of plants, animals, and gemstone talis- 
mans and left traces of its authority throughout 
the scientific literature of the Middle Ages. For 
example, the Kyranides is one of the sources 
for the medieval tales of the fabled unicorn. 

The division of the text within the 
Kyranides is into four books. The first is on 
magic, while the other three, which originally 
formed a separate work, treat respectively, 
animals, birds, and fish. In each of these 
books the text is arranged alphabetically into 
twenty-four chapters, that being the number 
of characters in the Greek alphabet by which 
it is organized. Under each letter of the 
alphabet there is then listed the name of a 

]193J other information may be found in: Adams, Birth and 
Development of the Geological Sciences, 1938, p. ?? • Baisier, 
The Lapidaire Chretien, 1936, p. 5. • Closs, Steinbiicher, 
1958, p. 8-9. * Evans, Magical Jewels, 1922, p. 18-19. • 
Mely, Les Lapidaires Grecs, 1898, 3, p. 33. • Partington, 
History of Chemistry, 1971, 1, pt. 1, ??-??. • Thorndike, 
History of Magic, 2, p. 229-235. 


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plant and animal and sometimes a stone whose 
name begins with that letter. The lapidary 
portion consists of the description of how each 
stone is to be engraved in order to enhance its 
specific virtue or healing power. The influence 
of two guiding principles, good and bad, is 
recognized when creating the talismans. A 
powerful amulet is then created when this 
engraved stone is placed in a small bag with 
other ingredients and worn by the patient. In 
this way the virtues and merits of 52 stones 
were discussed. I 194 l Of these 36 originate from 
the earth while 16 are derived from animals. 
All the stones are mentioned in the ancient 
and medieval lapidaries. For example, of the 
24 stones that represent the element of fire in 
the first Cyranide, fifteen are found in Pliny's 
Natural History and seventeen are found in 
the medieval lapidary of LEONARDUS. Adams 
(1938) gives a full account of the other stones. cc-Plutarch 

REWORK: To the Greco-Roman writer 
Plutarch a work entitled Treatise on Rivers 
and Mountains (llepi Tioxajico'u) is sometimes 
attributed, it being sometimes included in the 
printed collections of his writings; however, 
it is now generally accepted that the work 
is not genuine, and the author is referred to 
as cc-Plutarch. The text probably dates from 
the first quarter of the third century C.E., 
and is reminiscent of the Kyranides which is 
also arranged in twenty-four chapters, that 
number corresponding to number of letters in 
the Greek alphabet. It is a magical and medical 
treatise, originally arranged such that each 
chapter described some plant or stone found 
in a specific river or at the base of a mountain 
and to the mythical ideas associated with it. 

Woven into the descriptions are a wealth 
of allegorical ideas, with charms for protecting 
treasure, capturing tigers, putting demons 
to flight, keeping dogs from barking, curing 
leprosy, fevers, hemorrhages, and for a great 
variety of other more or less useful purposes. 
The author gives his authorities but it is 
doubtful that any of the works he mentions 

1 194 J Leo J. Henkin., "The Carbuncle in the Adder's 
Head," Modern Language Notes, 58 (Jan., 1943), no. 1, p. 

existed since they are only referenced in this 
work. The rivers and mountains are merely 
mentioned as those where these plants or 
stones possessing magical powers are to be 
found or where certain mythological events 
took place, from which in many cases the 
river or mountain derives its name. There are 
twenty-four stones mentioned in his Treatise 
on Rivers and Mountains, some of them, 
as for example beryl, asterites and sardonyx, 
being well known; others are well-known 
stones which here appear under new names, 
as "cylinder," just mentioned as occurring 
on Mount Cronius, which is the well known 
Ceraunia or thunder-stone mentioned by Pliny 
and found in most of the medieval lapidaries; 
the Linurge is the Amianthus and the Collote 
is the Chelidonius. Others bear new names 
and cannot be identified, if indeed they are not 
wholly mythical, such as Corybas, Sicyone and 
MyndaJ 195 ! cc-Orpheus 

Orpheus is given as the supposed author of a 
later Grecian poem titled Lithica (AiBikcc)! 196 ] 
composed in 768 verses that gives the virtues 
of 27 gems with considerable allusion to their 
magical properties, but with no mineralogical 
information concerning them. Only fragments 
of the original Greek text have survived, the 
work having passed to the present through a 
nearly complete, early Latin translation. The 
authorship is uncertain because the poem is 
supposed to have appeared soon after the prose 
treatise written by Damigeron who lived in the 
second century B.C.E. However, research shows 
the medicinal and chirurgical powers attributed 
to the stones in the Lithica are derived from 
many later authors that extend down to Galen 
who wrote in the second century C.E. The 
content and the style of the poem also indicates 
that the author actually lived long after 
the birth of Christ, but before the Emperor 

[195] Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 30-31. • Mely, Les Lapidaires Grecs, 1898- 
1902, p. liv. 

[196] Ljt n j caii first edition, Venice, 1517, other early 
edtions: Florence, 1517, Paris, 1566, and Liege, 1576. 
• Orphei Lithica, accedit Damigeron de lapidibus (Berlin, 
1881) is a modern critical examination of the poem. Refs. 
Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993, nos. 4886-4899. 


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Constantine. Based on this evidence the work 
is now dated to the fourth century C.E., and the 
actual author is unknown. Among the stones 
included in the poem are quartz, diamond, 
jasper, topaz, opal, chrysolite, magnet, coral, 
agate, hematite, sardius, and emerald. Christian Lapidaries! 197 ! 

The Christian lapidary was a persistently 
popular form, especially during the Middle 
Ages. Also sometimes called The Twelve 
Stones, these books focused attention on the 
stones mentioned in the Bible, especially two 
(different) lists of 'twelve stones' — those in 
the breastplate of the High Priest {Exodus, 
xxviii, 17-21; xxxix, 10-14) and those in the 
foundations of the New Jerusalem {Apocalypse, 
xxi, 19-21). These books also reflect pagan 
practices with respect to the magical properties 
of stone, which was to legitimized by placing 

[197] other historical information may be found in: Leon 
Baisier., The lapidaire Chretien, its composition, its influence, 
its sources. Thesis (Ph.D.). Catholic University of America, 
1936. vii, 130 p. [The Catholic University of America. 
Publications of the Department of Romance Languages and 
Literatures, 14; reprinted by AMS Press, 1969.] • Edward 
Clapton., The precious stones of the Bible — descriptive and 
symbolical being a treatise on the breast plate of the high 
priest, and the foundation of the New Jerusalem with a brief 
history of each tribe and each Apostle. Second edition. 
London, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1899. xxxii, 
231 p. • Charles William Cooper., The precious stones 
of the Bible, with an account of the breastplate of the 
high priest, the ephod and urim and thummim. London, 
H.R. Allenson, limited, 1924. 127, [1] p., frontispiece. 
[Bibliography, "Authorities quoted," p. 126-127.] • E.L. 
Gilmore., "Gemstones of the First Biblical Breastplate?," 
Lapidary Journal, 22 (1968), p. 1130-4. • Samuel S. 
Kottek., "Precious stones in Jewish and Christian medieval 
literature: natural and/or occult sciences?" , Koroth, 16 
(2002), p. 89-110. * Gisbert Kranz., Europas christliche 
Literatur von 500 bis 1500. Paderborn, F. Schoningh, [1968]. 
525 p. [A history and criticism of Christian literature 
from the year 500 to 1500. Continued by the author's 
companion volume, Europas christliche Literatur von 1500 
bis heute.} • ibid., Europas christliche Literatur von 1500 bis 
heute. Zweite Auflage. Paderborn, F. Schoningh, 1968. 
655 p. [A history and criticism of Christian literature 
from the year 1500 to today. Continued by the author's 
companion volume, Europas christliche Literatur von 500 bis 
1500.] • R.V. Wright and R.L. Chadbourne. Gems and 
minerals of the Bible. New York, Evanston and London, 
Harper & Row, Publishers, 1970. xii, 148 p., illus., index. 
• August Wiinsche., Die Bildersprache des Alten Testaments. 
Ein Beitrag zur aesthetischen Wiirdigung des poetischen 
Schrifttums im Alten Testament. Leipzig, Eduard Pfeiffer, 
1906. v, 187 p. [Includes a discussion of minerals and gems 
mentioned in the Bible.] 

them under the umbrella of a commentary on 
the Bible. 

The ultimate source of the miraculous and 
symbolical properties of the precious stones 
is the Bible. There is a description of 
the stones on the breastplate of the high 
priest in Exodus xxviii: 17-20, and in the 
Apocalypse xxi, 19-20 there is a description 
of the foundations of the New Jerusalem Bede 
and other lapidary authorities of the Middle 
Ages discussed only the stones listed in Exodus 
since the Hebrew names are not clear, the 
Biblical translations vary among themselves in 
identifying the stones. The main scientific 
discussion of precious stones and minerals was 
in Book 37 of Historia naturalis Pliny the 
Elder, in which he makes a synthesis of all 
that had been written before Saint Isidore of 
Seville used this material in Book 16 of his 
Etymologiae, in which he arranged the minerals 
according to color During the Hellenistic period 
there appeared at Alexandria stone books of a 
magical and mystic sort, which were written 
in Greek One of these, the Damigeron was 
popular in Western Europe, and may have been 
translated into Latin by the first century. Epiphanius 

About 400 c.e., Epiphanius, I 198 l Bishop 
of Salamis, authored in Greek, Peri Tou 
Lithon=On the Twelve Precious Stones (iJepi 
Tffiv ipXiftoy) that identified and described the 
twelve stones contained in the breastplate of 
Aaron, the High Priest of the Jews. Appearing 
in the fourth century C.E., this is one of the 
earliest Christian lapidaries. Apparently, this 
text was at an early date translated from Greek 
into Latin as De Duodecim Gemmis, because 
the only early copies known are in that later 

L J Epiphanius (Born at Besanduk, near Eleutheropolis, 
in Judea, after 310; died in 403), while very young, chose to 
follow the monastic life in Egypt. On his return to Judea 
he founded a monastery at Besanduk and was ordained 
to the priesthood. In 367 his reputation for asceticism 
and learning brought about his nomination as Bishop 
of Constantia (Salamis) the metropolis of the Island of 
Cyprus. For nearly forty years he fulfilled the duties of 
the episcopate. He undertook many missions for the church 
that involved much travel. He died during a return journey 
to Cyprus. Refs. Xxx xxxxxx xx xxxx. Xxx xxxxxx xx 
xxxx. Xxx xxxxxx xx xxxx. Xxx xxxxxx xx xxxx. Xxx 
XXXXXX XX xxxx. 


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language. In 1565, the book was printed for the 
first time, perhaps being the first appearance 
of any book on that subject to come off the 
press. Besides its separate appearance, copies 
of the book were bound up with several other 
gem and mineral works as Conrad Gesner's De 
Omni Rerum Fossilium (1565). I 1 "! 

Using a common literary device of his 
age, Epiphanius writes his text in the form 
of a letter to his friend, Diodorus, Bishop of 
Tyre. In it, he identifies and describes the 
twelve stones set in the breast plate (Exodus, 
28, 17-20) that in order are: sard, topaz, 
emerald, carbuncle, sapphire, jasper, lyncurius, 
agate, amethyst, chrysolite, beryl, and onyx. 
Because of Epiphanius' authority as a high 
official of the Catholic Church, this work 
assumed great influence among later biblical 
scholars. Biblical commentators exercised great 
ingenuity in attempting to identify the ancient 
stones, but also in assigning to them allegorical 
or mystical meanings. Epiphanius was no 
different. In spite of the absolute Christian 
theme De Duodecim Gemmis, vestiges of the 
magical virtues attributed to gems survive in 
his text. For example, the medical properties of 
agates against snake bite are recounted without 
further explanation. P 00 ! Bedel 201 ) 

The earliest of Bede's biblical commentaries 
was the Explanatio Apocalypsis (The Expla- 
nation of the Apocalypse) probably composed 
between 703 and 709 C.E. 

Commentators of the Bible used great 
ingenuity in attempting to identify the stones 
mentioned in the Bible, but also in giving the 
allegorical or mystical meanings. Bede in his 

1 Bibliography ... 


[200] Evans, Magical Jewels, 1922, p. 29-30. • Sinkankas, 
Gemology Bibliography, 1993, nos. ??-??. 

[201] Possible references include: Peter Kitson., "Lapidary 
Traditions in Anglo-Saxon England: Part 1, the back- 
ground," Anglo-Saxon England, 7 (1978), 9-60; and ibid., 
"Lapidary traditions in Anglo-Saxon England: Part II, 
Bede's 'Explanatio Apocalypsis' and related works," Anglo- 
Saxon England, 12 (1983), 73-123. • Sarton, Introduction to 
the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 510-512. 

Commentary of the Apocalypse represents a 
good example of this type of literature. 

By the Venerable Bede (Written about 710 

This commentary on the Revelation of 
John, which Bede himself called 'Expositio' 
instead of the 'Explanatio' of the printed 
version, is probably the earliest of his scriptural 
commentaries. According to Laistner, 72 
manuscripts are still in existence, with the 
likelihood of another existing in Melk. 

Bede's Commentary did not only enjoy a 
certain popularity within his own time, but 
his reputation spread into Europe and his 
works were still widely used in the twelfth 
and thirtheeth century. The large number of 
surviving manuscripts stands witness for this 
immense popularity. 

In a letter to Eusebius, Bede describes 
the seven sections into which he sees the Book 
of Revelation divided and explains his own 
structure into three books. 

The translation cited here can be found in 
Rev. Edward Marshall's book The Explanation 
of the Apocalypse by Venerable Beda. Volmar (cl252-1254) 

The German poet, VOLMAR J 202 ! authored Ein 
wahrhafftig buchlein gar niiczlich zu horen^ 203 ^ 
which is a short poetic lapidary. It was writ- 
ten sometime between 1252 and 1254 and first 
printed in Erfurt by Hans Sporer in 1498. It 
describes 38 gemstones in 1008 verses, and in- 
cludes the 12 stones of the Apocalypse. In- 
formation about the stones is derived from 
several unnamed sources. Described species 
include: Almendein, Topasius, Smaragdus, 
Karfunckel, Jochant, Cristall, Achat, Aman- 
tist, Crisoleite, Onichilus, Jaspis, Dyemant, 
Kappenstein, Carniol, Corall, Antite, Schwal- 
wenstein, Zinen, Aldropi, Krottenstein, Mer- 
ayte, Calcosan, Perlein, Mucros, Oytalias, 
Ttirckis, Elyte, Calcedon, Sardius, Flammat, 


Biography Needed 




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Gamachw, Rubein, Balas, Crisoforas, Granat 
and Jachant, Diacoda, Barill, Sarderein, Criso- 
pras, Augstein, Ademast, Crisolitus, Topasius, 
Gagatometus, and Domedus. I 204 ! Alfonso X (1221-1284) 

The Spanish King, Alfonso X (1221-1284), 
also called "El Sabio," was highly learned and a 
poet. I 205 ! He set as a goal to have published a 
series of books that would codify all knowledge. 
To achieve this, his method was to gather 
together a group of translators, compilers, and 
writers, who were then supplied with all the 
necessary materials in the four languages of 
Hebrew, Arabic, Latin and Romance, and 
they set to work. All available material on 
the subject under study was compared and 
accounts given in one manuscript were weighed 
against accounts in others and decisions made 
with all available knowledge and the advice 
of experts. Once a manuscript was created a 
committee would review the text and pass on 
its content. Unfortunately, Alfonso's survey 
of knowledge was never realized because his 
later life was occupied with political intrique 
and financial difficulties, ending in his defeat 
at Seville. 

One work that was the product of 
Alfonso's project was the Lapidary of Alfonso 
X, which is a beautifully illuminated lapidary 
known in a single recorded manuscript that is 
located in the Escurial Library in Spain. I 206 ! It 
is said to be a Chaldean lapidary of unknown 
date, which was translated into Arabic by 
Abolays and from Arabic into Spanish by 
Garci-Perez. This latter translation was 
finished in 1278. The basis of classification 
is color "Cast into the 12 signs of the 
Zodiac." The treatment of the virtues and 
powers of the stones as influenced by the 

[204] Adams, Birth and Development, 1934, p. 146. • W. 
Kleist., "Eine neue Handschrift von Volmars Steinbuch," 
Zeitschrift fur deutsche Altertum, 103 (1974), p. 185-192. 
[205] DSB; ??; ?? , Sarton, Introduction to the History of 
Science, 1927, 1, p. 834-842. 

[206] Nunemaker, J.H., "Some mediaeval Spanish terms of 
writing and illumination," Speculum, 5 1930, 420-4. [This 
study is based on the Lapidary of Alfonso X.] • Nunemaker, 
J.H., "An additional chapter on magic in mediaeval Spanish 
literature," Speculum, 7 (1932), 556-64. • Nunemaker, 
J.H., "In pursuit of the sources of Alfonsine lapidaries," 
Speculum, 14 (1939), 483-9. 

stars and changing according to the position 
of the planets indicates the complexity of the 
connection made by Arabic science between 
minerals and the celestial forces. Evans, who 
gives an extended review of the work, states 
that it deals with 360 "stones" among which are 
included substances such as sulphur, soda and 
even sponges. Meyerhoff and Foster say that 
it describes 280 "stones," with brief references 
to some of their physical properties, uses and 
medicinal values. Byzantine Mineralogy! 207 ] 

Byzantine literature is not lacking in lapidaries. 
These works almost always concentrated on the 
magical and medical properties of the stones, 
with little mineralogical content. Astrological 
properties of stones are sometimes linked 
with seasonal growth of herbs and other 
spices, and Byzantine authors strove to make 
connections with the growth of stones within 
the earth. Although precious and semiprecious 
stones are the chief object of study, other 
'mined' materials such as coral, magnetite, 
and amber increasingly drew the attention of 
later writers, and information regarding the 
astrological, alchemical, and pharmaceutical 
uses was collected.! 208 ] 

The best known precious stones descrip- 
tions occur interspersed throughout the 3,062 
verses of Meliteniotes' allegorical poem on Tem- 
perance. In the Sothrosynm (Za)6pocuv(j.) more 
than eighty lines are given over to cataloging 
alphabetically 221 gemstones that were said to 
decorate the bed of the virgin Temperance in 
Paradise. I 209 ! Essentially, it is a mineralogical 

[207] other general material may be found in: Karl 
Krumbacher., Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur. 2 
Auflage. Miinchen, 1897. 2 vols. [Reprinted, New York, 
Burt Franklin, 1958.; History and criticism of Byzantine 
literature.] • The Oxford dictionary of Byzantium. Edited 
by Alexander P. Kazhdan, et al. New York, Oxford, 1991. 
2 vols. 

[208] jq Edmondson., "Mining in the later Roman 
Empire and beyond," Journal of Roman Studies, 79 (1989), 
p. 84-102. • J. Riddle., "Amber in ancient pharmacy," 
Pharmacy in History, 15 (1973), p. 3-17. • D. Samsaris., 
"Les mines et la metallurgie de fer et de cuivre dans la 
province romaine de Macedoine," KJio, 69(1987), p. 152- 
62. • S. Vryonis., "The question of the Byzantine mines," 
Speculum, 37 (1962), p. 1-17. 

[209] doss, Steinbiicher in Kulturhistorischer, 1958, p. 7 • 
Krumbacher, Geschichte Byzantinischen Litteratur, 1897, p. 


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dictionary written in verse. Under the name 
Zoroaster survive fragments of lapidaries that 
are closely related to passages in the Greek 
magical papyri. t 210 3 

Michael Psellos, [ 211 1 of the eleventh 
century C.E., was a tutor to Emperor Michael 
Parapinaces and was perhaps the most learned 
Greek of his timeJ 212 ! He authored a 

small work in Greek on stones, Peri Lithon 
( A,i0aw).[ 213 l The twenty-four stones 

it describes in order are diamond, haematite, 
amethyst, carbuncle, aeschates, beryl, galac- 
tites, amber, jasper, idaeus-dactylus, crystal, 
lychnites, magnet, onyx, caprinus, sardonyx, 
selenites, emerald, hyacinthus, chrysolithus, 
chry select rus, chrysoprasus, chalazias, and 
topazionJ 214 ^ 

782-786. • Mely, Les Lapidaires Grecs, 1898-1902, 2, p. 205- 
208. • Terpening, Lapidary of 1'Intelligenza, 1973, p. 80. 

[ 2 1 °] H . D . Betz , ed. , The Greek Magical Papyri in 
Translation. Chicago, 1986, vol. 1. • J. Bidez and F. 
Cumont., Les mages hellenises Zoroastre, Ostanes et Hystaspe. 
Paris, 1938, 2, p. 197-206. 

I- -I Michael Psellos or Psellus (Born: Constantinople, 
Turkey, 1020; Died: Constantinople, Turkey, clllO) was a 
Byzantine writer, philosopher, politician, and historian. He 
was educated in Constantinople. He became an influential 
political advisor to emperor Constantine IX Monomachos 
(reigned 1042-1055). During the same time, he became 
the leading professor at the newly founded academy of 
Constantinople, bearing the honorary title of 'Consul of 
the Philosophers'. Towards the end of Monomachos' 
reign, Psellos found himself under political pressure and 
retired. However, after Monomachos' death, he was soon 
recalled to court by his successor. He remained active 
in politics, serving as a high-ranking political advisor to 
several successive emperors. Psellos wrote a number of 
books, probably the best known is the Chronographia. It 
is a history of the Byzantine emperors during the century 
leading up to Psellos' own time. Refs. Internet search. • 
Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, 1927, 1, p. 750- 
751. • Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and 
Mythology, 1849, 3, p. 562-563. 

I- -I It was once thought that there were two Byzantine 
writers of the name, Michael Psellos, both supposedly 
authors of lapidaries. This belief was based on an 
biographical entry in a medieval chronicle, but it is now 
believed that the entry was the mistake of an ignorant 

[213] pj rs t Latin edition contained in: Plutarchi Libellus 
de Quviorum et montium nomini bus ... P.J. Maussacus 
recensuit, Latine vertit, et notis illustravit ... Pselli de lapidum 
virtutibus libellus.) P. J. Maussaci appendix ad notas suas in 
Harpocrationem. (Tolosse, 1615, and other editions). 
[214\ doss, Steinbiicher in Kulturhistorischer, 1958, p. 7 • 
Evans, Magical Jewels, 1922, p. 32. • King, Natural History 
of Precious Stones, 1867, p. 13. • Marx, Geschichte der 
Crystallkunde, 1825, p. 10. • Mely, Les Lapidaires Grecs, 

Psellos' work carries on the Greek hermetic 
tradition of Dioscorides by describing the 
medical uses of the stones. All of the gems 
are either worn as a talismans or crushed 
and mixed with milk to be taken internally. 
Strongly influenced by the Eastern philosophy 
it pays special attention in its descriptions 
to ophthalmia and other diseases of the eyes, 
headaches, and fevers, t 215 ] 

3.2.2 Herbals^ 16 ] 

In a history of mineralogy, it would seem that 
the merits of the early herbals would seem 
limited, but the facts are quite different. As 
a group, this type of book records the late 
medieval view of the natural world in terms 
of how nature could be used to benefit man. 
Relationships and the uses of plants, animals 
and minerals discussed in these texts offers 
insight into the early development of medicine, 
agriculture and pharmaceutical therapies for 

1898-1902, p. 201-204. • Annibale Mottana., "Storia della 
mineralogia antica. I. La mineralogia a bisanzio nel XI 
secolo D.C.: I poteri insiti nelle pietre secondo Michele 
Psello," Ren. Fis. Ace. Lincei, Ser. 9, 16 (2005), 227-295. [A 
detailed history of Michelle Psello's lapidary of the eleventh 
century] • Pierpaolo Galigani., JJ De Lapidum virtutibus 
di Michele Psello: Introduzione, testo critico, traduzione e 
commento. 121 p. [Published as: Quaderni delllstituto di 
filologia classica Giorgio Pasquali dellUniversita degli studi di 
Firenze] • M. Psello., Scripta minora. Herausgegeben E. 
Kurtz und F. Drexl. Berlin, 1936-41. 2 vols. • R.H. 
Terpening., "The lapidary of 'L'Intelligenza'. Its literary 
background," Neophilologus: Modern Language Quarterly, 60 
(1976), 75-88. • Steven A. Walton., "Theophrastus on 
Lyngurium. Medieval and Renaissance Lore from the 
Classical Lapidary Tradition," Annals of Science, 58 (2001), 
no. 4, p. 357-79. • Wellmann, Gemmenbiicher der Antike, 
1936, p. 97, 102-??. 

t 215 ] Mely, Les Lapidaires Grecs, 1898-1902, "Les cachets 
d'Oculistes et les lapidaires de l'antiquite e du haut moyen 
age," Revue de Philologie, 16 (1893), p. 81-??. [Described the 
role the ancient lapidaries played in treating the diseases 
of the eye.] 

I- -I Further historical information may be found in: F.J. 
Anderson., An illustrated history of the herbals. New York, 
Columbia University Press, 1997. xiv, [2], 270 p., illus. • 
K. Becher., A catalogue of early herbals. Mostly from the 
well-known library of Dr. Karl Becher, Karlsbad with an 
Introduction by Dr. A. Klebs. Nyon Bulletin XII. Lugano, 
L'Art Ancein S.A., 1925. 61 p., illus. [Bookseller catalog 
describing the extensive collection of early herbals formed 
by Dr. Becher.] • K.E. Heilmann., Krauterbiicher in Bild und 
Geschichte, Munich, K. K61bl, 1966. 422 p., illus. [Heavily 
illustrated history of the early herbals.] • A.C. Klebs., 
"Herbals of the fifteenth century. Incunubula lists I," Papers 
of the Bibliographical Society of America, 11 (1917), nos. 3-4, 
p. 75-92 & 12 (1918), nos. 1-2, p. 41-57. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.3 Encyclopedias 

the common person. In short, the herbals 
retain their relevancy to early mineral studies. 

The early printed herbals are among the 
most remarkable of the stream of books printed 
in the incunabula period because they are 
milestones in the history of printing and 
scientific illustration. Although the name 
implies a strictly botanical treatise, this class of 
book refers to a practical medical text intended 
for both physicians and the common folk. It 
appeared in reaction against the expensive 
apothecary, calling attention to a wide range of 
easily available natural remedies derived from 
plants, animals and minerals. In fact the 
last section usually contains a good (for the 
time) descriptive mineralogy which emphasised 
the medical use of the described stone. In 
their time, these volumes were a very popular 
technical literature, and regularly relied upon 
by their readers to provide cures for various 

This class of literature may be organized 
into three broad categories, which were 
frequently intermixed. Sections and entire 
chapters were commonly copied into new 
editions from earlier printings. Priority for 
the Herbarius dates to the 1484 printing made 
by Schoeffer, which contains 150 illustrated 
chapters. Schoeffer's composed a second herbal 
comprising 435 chapters, was published at 
Mainz in 1485 and was termed generally Der 
Gart. The third and final member of the 
herbal triad consists of 1,066 chapters and 
is referred to by the descriptor Hortus or 
Hortus Santiatas. In the past, these three 
distinct families have been confused, with some 
researchers stating that they are translations of 
each other, which is not possible. By relying on 
the number of chapters within the text, 150, 
435 and 1,066 respectively, it is possible to 
determine if a specific herbal is derived from 
the Herbarius, Der Gart and Hortus. 

3.2.3 Pharmaceutical Mineralogy I 2 17 l 

l- 17 J Other historical information may be found in: U. 
Rath., Zur Geschichte der pharmazeutischen Mineralogie. 
Braunschweig, Universitat Braunschweig, 1971. 273 
p. [Published as: Pharmazeigeschichtlicher Seminar der 
Technischen Universitat Braunschweig, vol. 12. Covers the 
history of pharmaceutical mineralogy.] • Bernard E. Read 
and Phu Chu-Ping Pak., "A compendium of minerals and 

3.2.4 Mineral Poisons & Cures! 218 ! 

3.3 Encyclopedias! 219 ) 

Much information concerning medieval miner- 
alogy is derived from the encyclopedias of the 
period. It was impossible for everyone to at- 
tend a university, therefore, some method of 
distributing general knowledge was necessary. 
The issue was resolved by compiling encyclo- 
pedias that collected together facts, writings, 
and anecdotal information from a wide swath 
of sources. These works varied widely in ar- 
rangement and completeness, both their focus 
on education was always present. Encyclope- 
dias were the textbooks and main references 
for the learned class of scholars and well as 
the clergy, and were especially important when 
no library was available. In essence when they 
were written these works intended to capture a 
picture of the large palette of all human knowl- 

The writers of encyclopedias compiled 
their material by scouring other, usually older 
writers, whose works in some cases have 
since completely disappeared except for the 
quotations preserved in the encyclopedias. 
Thus, a large portion of the information they 

stones used in Chinese medicine, from Pen Tshao Kang 
Mu, Li-Shih-Chen, 1597 A. D.," Peking, Society of Natural 
History Bulletin, 3 (1928), no. 2, vii, 120 p. [Revised and 
reissued separately, French Bookstore, Peiping, 1936, 2nd 
edition.] • Wolfgang Rudolph Reinbacher., Healing earths 
the third leg of medicine. A history of minerals in medicine with 
rare illustrations from 300 to 1000 years ago. [Bloomington, 
IN, 1st Books Library], 2003. xiv, 244 p., illus. [ISBN 
1-403-35096-5]. • John M. Riddle., "Lithotherapy in the 
Middle Ages. Lapidaries considerded as medical texts," 
Pharmacy in History, 12 (1970), p. 39-50. [Briefly describes 
the importance of lapidaries in early medical history.] 
[21&\ Q enera i histories include: M. Amberger-Lahrmann 
and D. Schmahl, eds., Gifte: Geschichte der Toxikologie. 
Berlin; New York, Springer-Verlag, cl988. xi, 351 p., 
illus., portraits. Bibliography includes bibliographical 
references and indexes. [A general history of poisons.] • 
Dieter Martinetz., Poison: sorcery and science, friend and 
foe. Translated from the German by Alistair and Alison 
Wightman. [Leipzig,] Edition Leipzig, cl987. 175 p., illus. 
[ISBN 3361001374] 

[219\ j^ good general history is contained in: R. 
Collison., Encyclopaedias: their history throughout the ages. 
A bibliographical guide with extensive historical notes to the 
general encyclopaedias issued throughout the world from 350 
B.C. to the present day. Second Edition. New York and 
London, Hafner Publishing Company, 1966. xvi, 334 p., 
illus., index. 


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present about the natural world is derived 
from the authors of the Classical age. This 
is as it should be, because nature played an 
important and vital role in life. Many of these 
compendiums described animals, plants, and 
stones, and because they were the writings 
most easily available, they works became 
the basis for most mediaeval natural studies, 
including those attached to minerals. I 220 l 

3.3.1 Isidore of Seville (6th Century) 

Isidore of Seville! 221 ! was both a prolific 
and versatile writer. His voluminous output is 
said to be the beginning of Spanish literature. 
He was not an original or independent writer, 
however. Instead, he was a hard working 
compiler who attempted to collect together all 
existing knowledge. His best known writing, is 
the comprehensive Etymologiae, or Origins of 
Words as it is sometimes called. Written in 
the sixth century, it appeared shortly before 
Isidorus' death and is the culmination of a 
lifetime of scholarship and research being a 
vast warehouse of all the learning possessed 
at the time, which Isidorus had gathered, 
systematized, and condensed into a single large 
work. For centuries it was the most used 
textbook in educational institutions of the 
Middle Ages. So highly was it regarded as a 
depository of classical learning that in a great 
measure, it superseded the use of the individual 
works of the classics themselves. Not even the 
Renaissance seemed to diminish its authority 
with the text being printed at least ten times 
between 1470 and 1529J 222 ! 

The authority of the Etymologiae was well 
deserved. It furnishes abundant evidence that 
the writer possessed an intimate knowledge of 
the Greek and Latin authors, quoting in all 
one hundred and fifty-four Christian and pagan 

1 1 Zonta, M., "Mineralogy, botany and zoology 
in medieval Hebrew encyclopedias: 'Descriptive' and 
'theoretical' approaches to Arabic sources," Arabic Sciences 
and Philosophy: A Historical Journal, 6 (1996), 263-315. 

^ ' Isidore of Seville or Isidorus Hispaleisis (Born: 
Cartagena, 570 C.E.; Died: Seville, Spain, 636 C.E.) was 
for some thirty years Bishop of Seville. He "was canonized 

I 222 ! Bibliography 


writers. Many of these he had read in their 
original which is fortunate since several of the 
works cited are no longer extant. He also writes 
his entries in a clear and concise style that 
is very admirable. This combined to build 
the great popularity of Isidorus' work, which 
in turn gave rise to many imitatitions, some 
inferior, some excellent. 

Isidore divided his material drawn from 
all aspects of human knowledge into twenty 
books. The science he covers is broad 
and includes discussions of mathematics, 
astronomy, medicine, anatomy, geography 
(giving the first map of the world), zoology, 
meteorology, botany, agriculture, geology, and 
mineralogy. The various books of Isidorus are 
as follows: 

1. Grammar and metre of the written word. 

2. Rhetoric. 

3. Dialectic. 

4. Medicine and libraries. 

5. Law and chronology. 

6. Ecclesiastical books and offices. 

7. God and of the heavenly and earthly hierarchies. 

8. Church and of the sects, of which latter he numbers 
no less than sixty-eight. 

9. Languages, peoples, kingdoms, and official titles. 

10. Etymology. 

11. Of man. 

12. Of beasts and birds. 

13. Of the world and its parts. 

14. Of physical geography. 

15. Of public buildings and road making. 

16. Of stones and metals. 

17. Of agriculture. 

18. Of the terminology of war, of jurisprudence, and 
public games. 

19. Of ships, houses, and clothes. 

20. Of victuals, domestic and agricultural tools, and 

In the sixteenth book, Isidore gives 
information related to mineralogy. The 

descriptions are copied largely from Julius 
Solinus, which had been derived from Pliny, 
and he devotes special attention to the 
derivation of the names of the stones, minerals, 
gems, and fossils described. They are for 
the most part incorrect, and in some cases 
fabulous, such as aurum (gold) that Isidore says 


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is derived from aura (air) because it is by the 
air that the splendor of the metal is reflected in 
our eyes.! 223 ! 

3.3.2 Theophilus the Monk 

Theophilus the Monk, to distinguish him 
from Theophilus the Alchemist is thought to 
have written his encyclopedia, Diversarum 
Artium Schedula, probably towards the end 
of the eleventh century or at the start of 
the next. Based on incidental information 
contained in the work, the author is presumed 
to have also been German in origin. Nothing 
else of the author is known for certain. His 
work is a compendium of arts and crafts 
taken primarily from Greek and Egyptian 
sources, with traces of Byzantine and Arabic 
influences. It is of considerable value to the 
historian of technology and science, containing 
full descriptions of the subjects it treats, which 
in other works were only briefly described.! 224 ] 

The Diversarum Artium Schedula is 
divided into three major sections. The first 
treats the manufacture, preparation, and use 
of various paint pigments, as well as pottery 
glazes. Accounts are given of the raw materials 
required and the recipes used for making the 
glazes and other pigmentation, together with 
other techniques of chemical preparation that 
had no parallel until the chemistry texts of the 
fourteenth century. The second section gives a 
full description of glass manufacture, describing 
how various kinds of glass plates, flasks, and 
colored glasses are made. Directions are also 
given for painting and gilding glass articles, 
by fusing the colors or gold to the glass in a 
special furnace. Artificial colored gems and 
their polishing are carefully described. The 
final section describes the refining of metal and 
various techniques in metal working that takes 
up nearly half of the text. This part is of special 
interest because it fully describes many ancient 
and early medieval techniques that are only 
vaguely described by other authors. It contains 

[223] Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 138. 

I 224 ! Bibliography ... 

[ ] 

[ Wanting 1 

the earliest European account of bell founding, 
and other procedures it described were not 
bettered until the writings of Biringuccio and 
Agricola of the sixteenth century. 

Any mineralogical content is purely 
incidental to the other material Theophilus 
describes. Yet, there are numerous snippets 
in the text. Gold is said to be obtained from 
along the shores of the Rhine river, where the 
sand of the beaches is placed on wooden tables 
and water carefully and frequently poured over 
it, to separate the metal. The preparation of 
mercury from its native occurring cinnabar is 
accomplished by placing the mineral in a flask, 
which is then placed in a strong heat. 

3.3.3 Alexander Neckam (1157-1217) 

Another writer who deserves special mention 
here is Alexander NeckamI 225 ! (1157-1227), 
who was one of the most remarkable English 
men of science of the twelfth century. In him 
we have a curious link between the history of 
science and ordinary secular history, for he was 
the fosterbrother of King Richard the First 
of England (Coeur-de-Lion). In a chronicle 
formerly existing among the manuscripts of the 
Earl of Arundel it is recorded that "In the 
month of September 1157 there was born to the 
King at Windsor a sone named Richard and 
the same night was born Alexander Neckam 
at St. Albans, whose mother gave suck to 
Richard with her right breast and to Alexander 
with her left breast." He received his early 
education at the Abbey School of St. Albans 
and later studied at the University of Paris, 
where he became a professor in 1213. His 
relation to the King who was a lover of learning 
explains, in part at least, the brilliant position 
which Neckam achieved in later life. While 
still bound by a reverence for authority, he 
sought for something more satisfactory than 
the teaching of the schools and frequently shows 
a leaning toward experimental science. Neckam 
in his book has a long satirical discourse on the 
logical teaching of the schools of the University 
of Paris and especially on the quibbles and 

[225] Alexander Neckam ... 

[ ] 

[ Biography Needed 1 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

falsities into which, in the scholastic teaching, 
logic continually degenerated. Wright who 
edits Neckam's book and supplies an interesting 
and valuable preface to the volume, remarks 
that Neckam gives a number of examples of 
this he shows how, by the train of reasoning 
employed in the schools, a man-Sortes the 
man of straw employed in the language of the 
scholastic disputations-might be proved to be 
a stone, or a rose, or a lily, or any other 
object; how what Sortes or any other individual 
said was at the same time true and false; how 
Sortes at the same time knows something and 
knows nothing; and a number of other similar 

Reference ...I 226 ! 

Neckam's book' was intended to be a 
manual of the scientific knowledge of the 
time but has an additional interest from the 
introduction of many contemporary stories 
and anecdotes illustrating the conditions and 
manners of the age. He draws from almost 
every scientific fact which he mentions a moral 
or religious lesson or application, although 
these are often far fetched and their truth by 
no means very apparent. His book abounds in 
stories of animals and plants. He mentions the 
metals briefly and refers to a dozen minerals or 
stones but does not describe them. Concerning 
mercury he remarks: 

Quicksilver is necessary in gilding; at first 
the substance of the gold appears to be totally 
absorbed by the quicksilver, but afterward, by 
the agency of fire, the quicksilver is consumed 
and the colour of the gold comes out in all its 
brightness. So the mind is not gilt with the 
gold of wisdom without the agony of tribulation 
and sometimes the beauty of wisdom appears 
to have entirely disappeared in the tribulation 
until it is submitted to the solace of the 
Holy Ghost, represented by fire, and then the 
strength of wisdom returns to its brightness. 

Like most people in the Middle Ages, 
Neckam believed that gems and precious stones 
possessed extraordinary virtues. Thus in 
referring to agate he repeats the statement 
made by Marbodus, to the effect that the agate 

[226J Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 138-40. 

(achates) carried on the person rendered the 
bearer amiable, eloquent and powerful, and he 
explains the story of Aeneas having a faithful 
companion named Achates by supposing that 
he carried with him an agate stone whereby 
he acquired the love of many people and was 
rescued from many dangers. 

3.3.4 Bartholomaeus Anglicus (cl200-1247) 

BartholoMjEUS Anglicus! 227 ! While older 
authorities give precedence to the Basel edition, 
printed by Ruppel, it can now be stated 
that this is the first printed edition of 
Bartholomaeus, since the early manuscript 
dates found in two Ruppel books have been 
shown to be forgeries, and as it now seems that 
Ruppel did not begin printing in Basel until 
after 1472. 

Reference ..J 228 ! 

Besides being the first printed edition, this 
Cologne issue is important for its connection 
to William Caxton. The Cologne city ledgers 
record that Caxton arrived in the city in 
July 1471 (Birch) to learn the process and 
art of printing. In 1471, Johann Veldener 
chose Bartholomaeus' encyclopedia as his first 
project, and accepted Caxton as his pupil. 
However, indications are that Caxton's role 
was considerably more important as a financier. 
The necessary capital is more likely to have 
come from Caxton than Veldener who had 
only recently achieved independence by the 
establishment of his own printing office and 
who therefore would have been close to the 
limits of his financial capacity. Under these 
circumstances, would he have dared on his own 
to venture the publication of so large a book? 
There is the further possibility that Veldener 
got together the necessary funds by charging 
the Englishman for instruction in the art of 
printing (Corsten). Thus this edition is the 
earliest example of Caxton's printing. 

De Proprietatibus Rerum was the most 
popular encyclopaedia of the thirteenth cen- 

[227] Bartholomseus Anglicus ... 

[ 1 

[ Biography Needed ] 

[ 1 

[228J Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 140-1. 


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tury, which has been called the age of en- 
cyclopaedias. The intellectual renaissance of 
the preceding century had stimulated a de- 
sire for learning. It was impossible for a 
large number of students to acquire first hand 
knowledge of every science and the universities 
could not accommodate all those who wished 
to learn. Therefore some means of spread- 
ing knowledge was required. The problem was 
solved by writing encyclopaedias that collected 
together the opinions of the best known author- 
ities. These works varied in comprehensiveness 
and arrangement, but the educational aim was 
never forgotten. These books were to be used 
as textbooks and works of references for the 
preachers and scholars that did not have access 
to a library and who could not afford to col- 
lect one of their own. In fact, Bartholomaeus 
wrote his compilation primarily for the student 
of theology and for the preacher as he explains 
in the Prohemium. 

De Proprietatibus Rerum was written as 
an ordered encyclopedia of all the sciences of 
the time: theology, philosophy, medicine, as- 
tronomy, chronology, zoology, botany, geogra- 
phy, mineralogy, are the subjects treated in 
this work. It is the first important encyclope- 
dia written in the Middle Ages and the first in 
which the works of Greek, Arabian, and Jewish 
naturalists and medical writers, which had re- 
cently been translated from Arabic into Latin, 
were included as contributions. Aristotle, Hip- 
pocrates, Theophrastus, the Jew Isaac Medi- 
cus, the Arabian Haly, and other researchers 
are frequently quoted. Even in the age before 
mechanical printing, the De Proprietatibus Re- 
rum enjoyed widespread popularity as is shown 
by the many dozens of manuscripts still in ex- 
istence. In manuscript form, it was translated 
into five European languages: French, English, 
Spanish, Provencal and Italian. Thus, it had 
a widespread appeal to the general population 
and had a great influence on the cirriculum of 
the medieval university. 

Bartholomaeus based the structure of his 
book on the Etymologiarum Libri Duo written 
by the learned theologian, Isidore of Seville 
between 623 A.D. and 633 A.D. The 20 sections 
found in Isidore are reduced and rearranged 
to 19 by Bartholomaeus; however, he follows 

his own method in compiling the observations 
and adheres to the accepted medieval form 
of quoting ancient authorities. Sprinkled 
throughout the text are his own observations 
that give the De Proprietatibus Rerum a unique 

The 19 books of Bartholomaeus' text are 
ordered thusly: 

1. God. 

2. Angels and Demons. 

3. Of the Soul and Reason. 

4. Of the Body's Essences. 

5. The Human Body and Each of its Parts. 

6. The Ages of Man (Family Life and Household 

7. Of Infirmities and Medicines. 

8. Of the World and the Heavenly Bodies (Cosmology 
and Astrology). 

9. Of Time and the Divisions of Time. 

10. The Material, Form, and Properties of the Elements. 

11. Of the Air and its Natural Phenomena (Meteorol- 

12. Of Winged Creatures. 

13. Of Waters and Fish. 

14. Of the Earth and its Features. 

15. Of its Provinces (Political and Economic Geogra- 

16. Mineralogy, including precious and semiprecious 
stones, sand, coal, Bezoar stones, etc. 

17. On Plants and Trees (A Herbal). 

18. Of Animals. 

19. On Non-Essential Characteristics (i.e., Colors, 
Tastes, Odors, etc.), and a Miscellany on Food, 
Drink, Eggs, Weights and Measures, Music, and 
Musical Instruments. 

This ordering which can be classified 
into four distinct sections suggests that 
Bartholomaeus carefully planned his work. 

The order of the De Proprietatibus Rerum 
is founded on a medieval logic of progression. 
The first three books form the first section 
with God, as the supreme creator and the 
prime moving force, with angles, demons and 
the soul all occupying the first position. Next 
comes the second part (books 4-7) devoted 
to the important factors that affect the life 
of man. The third section (books 8-18) 
treats the universe and may be subdivided 
into two parts. The first (books 8-13) has 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

as its subject the world in general while 
the second (books 14-18) describes the earth 
in particular, including in book 16 metals, 
stones and minerals. The fourth section is 
composed solely of the nineteenth book in 
which everything not previously discussed finds 
a place including colors, odors, liquids, weighs, 
measures, music, etc. Since this work was 
intended as a reference to show mans place in 
God's universe, the text provides examples of 
good and bad conduct, and illustrates for him 
the principals of Christianity. 

Since the greatest importance was assigned 
to theological matters, it became fairly simple 
for Bartholomaeus to ignore the accuracy of 
his descriptions. Hence we find him with no 
clear idea of the locations of Egypt or India, 
the latter being a vague term which medieval 
men used to refer to the vast territory that 
stretched beyond Arabia. Bartholomaeus' own 
eyes would have told him that bees do not carry 
small stones to weight them against the wind, 
and that crabs do not employ stones to keep 
oyster shells propped open while they dine on 
the contents. It was as obvious then as now 
that the legs of a fox are not shorter on the 
right side, and that swiftly moving currents are 
not the cause of oars becoming disjointed in 
appearance when dipped under water. Yet we 
cannot blame him for being a man of his time. 

3.3.5 Thomas Cantimpre (1200-1270) 

Thomas Cantimpre! 229 ] Thomas of Bra- 
bant. Thomas Brabantinus, de Cantiprato, 
Cantipratanus, Cantimpratensis. Flemish Do- 
minican and encyclopaedist. Born in Brabant 
c. 1186-1210 (probably nearer to the latter 
date, c. 1204?); flourished in Chantimpre, near 
Cambrai; studied in Li6ge; entered the Domini- 
can Order in 1232; was in Paris in 1238; sub- 
prior in Louvain, 1246; died, probably in Lou- 
vain, c. 1271-1280. It is possible that he at- 
tended some of Albert the Great's lectures, but 
he can hardly be called the latter's disciple. His 
two main works are (1) a popular encyclopae- 
dia of science, De natura rerum, to the prepa- 

[229] Thomas Cantimpre ... 

[ ' ] 

Biography Needed 1 

ration of which he devoted some fifteen years 
of study and which he completed between 1228 
and 1244; (2) a collection of absurd stories for 
the edification of the clergy, Bonum universale 
de apibus, written late in life. 

Reference ..J 230 ! 

Another writer whose work is but lit- 
tle known is the Dominican Thomas Cantim- 
pratensis, who was born at Brussels in 1201 
and died between 1263 and 1280. He resided 
for many years at Cambrai, from which place 
he derives his name. His encyclopedic work en- 
titled De Natura Rerum, was never printed, but 
several manuscripts of it exist, one of the most 
perfect being in the Staatsbiliothek in Munich. 
He describes about 70 minerals, the number 
varying somewhat in the different manuscripts, 
and enlarges on the occult properties of the pre- 
cious stones, but adds nothing to the work of 
earlier authors from whom his information is 
derived. According to Valentine Rose a num- 
ber of the trade names for certain stones, as for 
instance corneolus, granatus and rubinus, first 
appear in this book. 

It is interesting to observe that the 
Dominican, Thomas of Cantimpre, and the 
Franciscan, Bartholomew the Englishman, 
were engaged in the same kind of undertaking 
about the same time: The Properties of 
things being completed c. 1230-1240, and the 
Nature of things c. 1228-1244. Both works 
were encyclopaedic in scope and divided into 
nineteen books, but they were otherwise very 
different, and in all probability independent. 
Judging by the number of MSS., both works 
were almost equally popular (if one takes into 
account that there are many MSS. of Thomas' 
work which do not bear his name); but with 
regard to printed editions, Bar tholomew's 
popularity was incomparably greater. Indeed 
Thomas' encyclopaedia has not yet been 
entirely published. 

Thomas' main authorities were Aristotle, 
Pliny, Solinus, Ambrose and Basil, Isidore, 
Adelard of Bath (whom he does not mention), 
James of Vitry, two lost works, Liber rerum 
and Experimentator, which were probably 

]230J Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 141. 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

contemporary or at any rate recent, and a few 
others to be quoted presently. The De natura 
rerum is divided as follows: 

1 The human body; anatomy, physiology, gynaecology, 
derived from Galen, Cleopatra, Ibn Sina, William of 

2 The soul, mainly after Augustine. 

3 Strange races of man, hermaphrodites, gym- 
nosophists, Brahmans, etc. (a sort of anthropologi- 
cal treatise). 

4 Quadrupeds. 

5 Birds. 

6 Marine monsters, including an account of herring 

7 Fishes. 

8 Snakes. 

9 "Worms," including amphibians, leeches, tortoises, 
etc. (these 6 zoological books, 4 to 9, fill more than 
half of the whole work). 

10 Ordinary trees. 

11 Aromatic and medicinal plants and trees. 

12 Herbs (the main authority here is Matthaeus 

13 Fountains and rivers. 

14 Precious stones (mainly derived from Marbode); 
includes the description of a mariner's compass of 
the floating type. 

15 Seven metals (gold, electrum, silver, copper, lead, 
tin, iron); includes allusions to the transmutation of 
metals and to the use of lead for plumbing. 

16 Seven regions of the air and their humors. 

17 The sphere and seven planets. 

18 Meteorology. 

19 Universe and four elements. 

Some MSS. have an additional book (20) 
De ornatu coeli et eclipsibus solis et lunae, 
derived from William of Conches. The 

structure of this work can be summed up 
thus: (1-3) man; (4-9) animals; (10-12) plants; 
(13) waters; (14-15) stones and metals; (16- 
18) astronomy, astrology, meteorology; (19) 
elements. A very logical plan, and extremely 
different from that of Bartholomew. 

3.3.6 Vincent of Beauvais (1190-1264) 

Vincent of Beauvais! 231 ! Another of the 

I 231 ! Vincent of Beauvais ... 

[ ] 

[ Biography Needed 1 

great encyclopedias is the Speculum Mundi 
by Vincent of Beauvais written between 1240 
and 1264. In the general prologue he says 
that there are a multitude of books and time 
is short and furthermore man's mind cannot 
gather in and retain all that the books set 
forth, therefore he had determined to condense 
all knowledge into one great work. It is 
indeed a great compilation in which he quotes 
from 450 writers by name, some of whom are 
now known only by the "excerpts" which he 
gives from their writings. In the brief portion 
dealing with minerals and rocks he seems to 
have added nothing to the observations of 
former writers. The work went through many 
editions: that in the Osier Library, which is 
one of the earliest, was printed "not later than 
1478." Among the writers whom he quotes 
most frequently is the almost unknown writer 
of a very early encyclopedia, Arnoldus Saxo, 
[4] whose work De Finibus Rerum Naturalium 
was written between 1220 and 1230. In it 
the section on stones consists of an annotated 
list in alphabetical order of 81 names, and is 
in turn taken from Albertus Magnus, "Evax," 
Dioscorides and certain Arabic writers. 

In the field of encyclopaedia-making, 
Vincent of Beauvais's Speculum mains was 
undoubtedly the outstanding achievement of 
the Middle Ages. Vincent was born about i 
tgo, became a Dominican at Paris by 1220, 
was appointed a lector at the monastery of 
Royaumont by Louis IX about 124.8, and 
died at Beauvais in 1264. The Speculum, 
a vast conspectus of the knowledge of the 
Middle Ages, was the last major work of 
its kind: after this, encyclopaedists began 
to compile for a wider public than the very 
limited world of religious communities, and it 
would also be true to say that the latter no 
longer retained the almost complete monopoly 
in scholarship which had been responsible 
for the theological framework within which 
each devout and monastic encyclopaedist had 
naturally felt obliged to work. It must be added 
that Vincent relied heavily on the research 
of his colleagues for many of his quotations 
from the outstanding works of the past (such 
as Adelard of Bath's Qgestiones naturales), 
plagiarized Isidore of Seville at times, and 


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imitated Bartholomaeus Anglicus. 

Vincent's great work must not be confused 
with his Speculum vel imago mundi which 
he had written some time before, though it 
is possible that he used the earlier work as 
a starting-point. The Speculum maius was 
first completed in 124.4, and was continually 
subject to revision by Vincent until his 
death. It comprises four books, of which the 
last-the Speculum moray-was added early in 
the fourteenth century by another, unnamed 
author. The contents of the four books are: 

1. God, divinity, angels, devil. 

2-8. The Creation: the first three days-used as a vehicle 
for physics, geography, geology, agriculture, alchemy 
9-14. Botany 
15-22. The Creation: fourth to sixth daysastronomy, 
weather, birds, fishes, animals (in the order in which 
they appeared on earth according to the Book of 
Genesis), and animal husbandry 
23-28. Man: soul and body 
29-31. God and man 

32. A resume of the Speculum historiale 


1-3. Language (including a glossary), grammar, logic, 
4-10. Ethics, family life and economics, politics, law 
11-12. Crafts, architecture, war, sports, navigation, 

hunting, agriculture, applied medicine 
13-17. Medicine, physics, mathematics, metaphysics, 


1. Summary of the Speculum naturale and of the 
Speculum doctrinale 
2-31. A world history to 1244, based mainly on Pierre le 
Mangcor's Historia scholastica (c. i i 6o), covering 
Biblical, secular and cultural matters. 


Ethics, astrology, and theology (based principally on 
St Thomas Aquinas). 

The Speculum doctrinale was originally 
planned to form part of the Speculum naturale, 
but the size of the work-and the demand for 
copies of specific sections-convinced Vincent 
that the formation of a separate division for 
the arts and sciences was advisable. In 
the same way, the inclusion of summaries of 

3.3 Encyclopedias 

the individual Specula in each other enabled 
the requests for complete sets to be reduced 
somewhat- Vincent even published a separate ' 
epitome of the Speculum historiale which he 
called the Msmorialt: 

The Speculum mains served as the world's 
only major encyclopaedia for many years 
afterwards, and even today it remains of 
inestimable importance as the only repository 
of excerpts from some works which no longer 
survive, as a mirror, to the state of knowledge 
during the thirteenth century, and-what is 
equally important-as a record of the cultural 
tastes and prejudices, of those times. It 
was responsible for the introduction of many 
quotations now in common use, and constituted 
the main source of such classics as the Roman 
de la rose, the Alexander romances, Colonna's 
Liber de viris illustribus, and of the lives 
of the saints as they are known, as well 
as one of the many sources of Boccaccio's 
Genealogia deomm, and The travels of Sir John 
Mandeville. In addition, it is invaluable for the 
history of Vincent's own lifetime. 

Translations of parts of the Speculum 
mains were made into French, Spanish, 
German, Dutch and even Catalan, and 
innumerable epitomes, borrowings, plagiarisms 
and plunderings were its inevitable lot for the 
next two centuries at least. 

Johann Mentelin of Strasbourg and his 
son-in-law Adolf Rusch (the 'R' printer), 
printed the first editions about the years 1472 
to 1476. Mentelin printed the first, third and 
fourth Specula, while Rusch printed the first 
three, complete sets being made up from the 
combined products of the two printing-houses. 
The Speculum historiale was also printed at 
the monastery of Saints Ulrich and Afra at 
Augsburg in 1474; the Speculum naturale by 
the Printer of the Golden Legend at Strasbourg 
about 1481; and the Speculum morale by 
Winters at Cologne about 1477. The earliest 
editions are best: during the next 150 years 
the text became increasingly corrupt as the 
scholars of the day amended-not always for the 
bestthe excerpts from Vincent's ggo sources in 
accordance with the contemporary editions of 
these works. 

Even so, the earliest printed editions are all 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

based on a fourteenth-century manuscript and 
there is need for a new critical edition which 
is now being undertaken by Professor Berthold 
Louis Ulman on behalf of the Mediaeval 
Academy of America. 

3.3.7 Lumen Animae (cl300) 

A late 13th- or early 14th-century encyclopedic 
work attributed to Berengarius de Landora and 
sometimes wrongly attributed to the Viennese 
Carmelite monk, Matthias Farinator [fl. 
1477], who compiled the index and edited 
the text. The Lumen Animae is a curious 
handbook of illustrative sermons for preachers, 
to explain the natural and moral world. 
Collison gives the following descripton: "The 
anonymous Lumen Animae, compiled about 
1300, comprises two books of 75 titles and 
267 chapters respectively. These chapters are 
arranged in rough alphabetical order. The 
materials collected in them are drawn chiefly 
from patristic sources or moral writers, and 
there are few items dealing with the natural 
sciences." This first printing was the work of 
Anton Sorg. 

The anonymous Lumen animae, compiled 
about 1300, comprises two books of 75 titles 
and 267 chapters respectively. These chapters 
are arranged in rough alphabetical order. The 
materials collected in them are drawn chiefly 
from patristic sources or moral writers, and 
there are few items dealing with the natural 
sciences. The 75 titles of the first book include 
moral and didactic items, and some attention 
is paid to scientific information. Some thirty 
years were required for the compilation of this 
encyclopaedic work which was addressed to 
Pope John XXII. The editio princeps was issued 
by Matthias Farinator, a Carmelite of Vienna, 
under the title Light of the soul, or Book of the 
moralities of great natural things (Augsburg, 
Anton Sorg, 1477), and was reprinted in the 
same year. Further editions were issued by 
Michel Greyss (Reutlingen, 1479), and by the 
Printer of Legenda Aurea (Salzburg, 1482). 

3.3.8 Konrad von Megenberg (7-1374) 

Konrad von Megenberg! 232 ! between 

[232] Konrad von Megenberg (Born: Megenburg (or 
Mainberg), near Schweinfurt, Germany, 2 February 1309; 

1349 and 1351 composed his Das Buch der 
Natur as a free translation of the De Natura 
Rerum of Thomas Cantimpratensis or Thomas 
of Cantimpre, although Konrad thought the 
source text to be the product of Albertus 
Magnus' youth. It also has material taken 
from Aristotle and Galen, coming through 
Arabian conduits. It is the first work of 
natural history that appeared in the German 
language, and was apparently a popular early 
book around Augsburg, the city where all the 
incunabula editions were published, the first 
coming from the press of Johann Bamler, was 
dated 1475. It states on the title page that it 
was translated ( "transferiert" ) from the Latin 
into German, probably a reference to the Latin 
text of Thomas Cantimpratensis. The content 
is reordered somewhat in this German version 
with other original material added, making it a 
book worthy of study because it presents a full 
picture of the medieval notion of the natural 
world. Megenberg, however, recognized that 
some of the statements in his book were open 
to doubt, eventhough they were considered to 
be from sources of the highest authority, and 
in many instances he states he does not believe 

Das Buch der Natur is divided into eight 
sections, which has at the beginning of each 
book is an introduction describing the various 

1. Von dem Menschen in seiner gemainen Nature, 50 
chapters, describes human anatomy, physiology and 
interpretation of character from physical signs and 

2. Von den Himeln und von den siben Planeten, 33 
chapters, descibes astronomy and meterology. 

3. Von den Tiern in ainer Gemain describes animals in 

Died: Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany, 14 April 1374) was 
a German scientist, theologian and historian. The dates 
of birth and death are not absolutely certain, and Konrad 
himself calls his native place Megenberg. His father was 
probably a bailiff or overseer in the old castle of Mainberg. 
Conrad studied liberal arts in Erfurt, and then went to 
Paris, where he became a magister and studied and taught 
theology and philosophy. He remained in Paris from 1329 
to 1337, then he "went to Vienna "where he was director of 
the St. Stephan School. In 1342, he transvered to Ratisbon 
(Regensburg), where he became a parish priest, then a 
canon of the cathedral. He remained there until his death, 
and is buried in the Benedictine nunery of Nieder-Miinster 
in Regensburg. 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

general, including 69 chapters on quadrepeds, 72 on 
birds, 20 on the creatures of the sea (e.g., crocidile, 
seal, dolphin, hippopotamus, sirens), 29 on fishes, 37 
on snakes, 31 on 'worms' (i.e., insects, toads, frogs, 
snails, leeches, spiders, earthworms). 

4. Von den Paumen, 84 chapters, describes trees. 

5. Von den Krautern, 89 chapters, describes plants and 

6. Von den edlen Stainen, 86 chapters, describes 
precious stones. 

7. Von dem Gesmaid, 10 chapters, on various metals, 
including gold, silver, Gunderfai (electrum), copper, 
tin, lead, and iron, quicksilver, orpiment, and 

8. Von den wunderleichen Prunnen, describes the 
wonderful properties of streams and waters and with 
human monstrosities. 

In the 6 th section of the book, "Von den 
edlen Stainen," are treated the gems, their 
color, their properties, both real and imagined, 
together with suggestions on how to increase 
their mystical powers. Eighty-six stones are 
described, some of them being quite fabulous 
as for instance the Terobolen, which are said to 
be "Stones which come from the orient, some of 
them presenting the form of a man and others 
that of a beautiful young woman. If they are 
brought near to one another they send forth 
flames and fire."! 233 ! Also the Dyadochos, 

a stone that when thrown into water causes 
spirits to appear who will answer questions that 
are asked of them. I 234 ! Animals and plants did 
not escape Megenburg's attention and the book 
contains many wonderful stories about them as 
well, which helped make it very popular to the 
general reader. Also enhancing the text are the 
numerous and wonderful numerous woodcut 
illustrations, which no doubt contributed to its 

3.3.9 Domenico Bandini (cl335-1418) 

The humanist Domenico Bandini! 235 ] wrote 

I 233 l Konrad von Megenburg., Buch der Natur. Stuttgart, 

1861, p. 465. 

[234] Konrad von Megenburg., Buch der Natur. Stuttgart, 

1861, p. 444. 

[235] Domenico Bandini (Born: Arezzo, Italy, cl335; Died: 

1418) spent his life teaching at Florence, Bologna, and in 

his native city. He came into close contact with the new 

humanism during his years in Florence, and was in touch 

with Coluccio Salutati, the leader of the movement. 

his gigantic encyclopaedia, the Fons Memora- 
bilium Universi by filling most of his leisure 
time with the project until he died. It was 
divided into five parts in honour of Christ's 

Part I. Theology. 

1. God. 

2. The angels. 

3. The soul. 

4. Hell, the Devil, and his demons (includes an added 
treatise on the art of magic). 

Part II. The Universe and Astronomy. 

1. The world. 

2. The heavens. 

3. The stars and constellations (alphabetically ar- 

4. The planets (alphabetically arranged). 

5. The seasons, and chronology. 

Part III. The Elements. 

1. The elements in general . 

2. Fire. 

3. Air. 

4. Weather. 

5. Birds; animal husbandry. 

6. Seas and oceans. 

7. Lakes, rivers, marshes, streams and fountains. 

8. Fish. 

Part IV. The Earth and its Geography. 

1. Provinces and regions, including the theory of 
politics and government 

2. Islands 

3. Cities and towns, ancient and modern 

4. Notable buildings, and miscellaneous items 

5. People and customs 

6. Mountains 

7. Trees and vines; wine-making 

8. Herbs, vegetables, etc. g Quadrupeds 

9. A tractate on the eating of flesh, fish and fowl 

10. Reptiles and worms 

11. Gems and precious stones 

12. Metals (and an added treatise-in some copies-on 

Part V. Man and his Conduct. 

1. Famous and illustrious men 

2. Philosophical sects-and a world chronicle to 1315 

3. Theological and moral virtues and vices 

4. Some medical remedies 

5. Heresies and heretical sects 6 Famous women. 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

Bandini's encyclopaedia is remarkable for 
its numerous cross references, particularly 
in the sections devoted to historysand . 
geography It is possible that some of 
the work may have been written by his 
son and literary executor, Lorenzo Bandini. 
This huge encyclopaedia of secular learning 
was, designed: ';xo provide educated men who 
lacked books with accurate information on any 
subject, and with edifying lessons to guide 
them in their lives. It was widely read in his 
own country until the middle of the fifteenth; 
century, but then fell into neglect for about 
three hundred years. 

The outstanding feature of the Fons is 
Book i of Part V, the De viris clans virtuts nut 
vitio, which is especially strong in information 
on Latin authors. The majority of people 
mentioned are in fact classical figures and their 
lives are based on classical sources, but there 
is some original material and much of interest 
in the selection and treatment of the subjects. 
It has been suggested that the De viris was 
intended to be an epitome of the Foes. The 
Fons has never been published-apart from brief 
extracts-but many manuscripts have survived. 

3.3.10 Gregor Reisch (cl467-1525) 

Gr.egor Reisch! 236 ] and his Margarita 

Philosophica published in Freiburg in 1503 is 
a popular and much reprinted work, being 
the first modern encyclopedia to appear in 
print. Handled in the form of a dialog between 
teacher and student, the book was written as 
a textbook to be consumed in a university 
curriculum, and provides an overview of many 
subjects. Reisch divides the text into twelve 

[236J G re gor Reisch (Born: Balingen, Wiirttemberg, 
Germany, cl467; Died: Freiburg, Germany, 9 May 1525) 
Reisch became a student at the University of Freiburg 
in 1487 and received the degree of magister in 1489. 
Then he entered the Carthusian Order. During the years 
1500-1502 he was prior at Klein-Basel, and from 1503 to 
shortly before his death he was prior at Freiburg. Reisch 
was confessor of Maximilian I. He was also visitor for 
the Rhenish province of his order. In this capacity he 
made many exertions to combat Lutheranism. He became 
friends of the most celebrated Humanists of the time, 
e.g., Erasmus, Wimpfeling, Beatus, Rheananus, Udalricus 
Zasius, and the celebrated preacher, Geiler of Kaisersberg. 
Reisch developed a good reputation for adaptability and his 
knowledge was so broad and profound he became regarded 
as an 'oracle.' 

books, each explaining one of the sciences: 

1. Grammar. 

2. Dialectic. 

3. Rhetoric. 

4. Arithmetic. 

5. Music. 

6. Geometry. 

7. Astronomy. 

8. Principles of Nature Philosophy (de principiis rerum 

9. Origin of Natural Objects (de origine rerum 
naturalium) containing references to minerals, 
metals and mining. 

10. Psychology. 

11. Logic. 

12. Ethics. 

The twelve editions published in the 16th 
century attest to its popularity. The book was 
very sought after on account of its comparative 
brevity and popular form, and was for a 
long time a customary textbook of the higher 
schools. Alexander von Humboldt said of it 
that it had "for a half-century, aided in a 
remarkable manner the spread of knowledge" . 

The volume is notable for several other 
reasons. It contains the first schematic 
representation of the eye, and its plate of the 
human brain, localizing psychological features 
in specific regions of the brain, is demeaningly 
discussed by Vesalius because it relates the 
three ventricles of brain to three specific 
functions. This diagram roughly shows the 
convolutional pattern of the brain and depicts 
the classic medieval representation of localized 
psychology. The numerous woodcuts show 
medical subjects, a mineral spring bath used by 
both sexes, earthquakes, scenes from the lifes of 
differenent professions, monsters, beasts, fishes, 
comets, mining of metals and minerals. There 
is also a depiction of an alchemist working in 
his laboratory on the transmution of metals. 

The large woodcut map of the world is 
an interesting combination of fact and fancy, 
mixing the Ptolemaic world with mideaval 
belief. It has no border, but is surrounded by 
twelve heads with inscriptions representing and 
naming the different winds. It shows Europe, 
Asia and Africa, whose coast line extends along 
the bottom side of the map until it joins with 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

Asia. Marks around the edge indicate longitude 
and latidue. The New World is not shown, 
although an inscription beneath the unfinished 
continent of Africa indicates a knowledge of the 
American discoveries. This map measures 300 
x 411 mm. (11 x 16.5 inches) and is extremely 
rare and often lacking from the book for the 
obvious reason that it is to large to easily have 
been bound up. 

The Strassburg printer Schott [see note 
below] was specially brought to Freiberg to 
print this work. There he established a by-press 
so that Reisch could oversee the publication of 
his work. 

3.3.11 Arnoldus Saxo (cl225) 

Recognized as one of the first encyclopedists 
of 13th century, Arnoldus Saxo! 237 ! At 
the beginning of the Renaissance he was 
a privileged witness to the transmission of 
the Greek-Arabic works to classical Latin, 
becoming a tool of that transmission himself. 

Recent research places during the medieval 
period the activity of Arnoldus Saxo as the 
author of several works touching upon nat- 
ural philosophy and morals in 13th century. 
In an 1885 study, Emil Stange identified him 
as the likely author of a small encyclopaedia 
De Floribus Rerum JVatura7ium.[ 238 l Subse- 
quently, Stange edited a critical edition of the 
encyclopedia that was its first appearance in 
print. P 39 l Consequently, Arnoldus is recog- 
nized as one of the sources for natural science 
of the thirteenth century. 

Like his near contemporaries Albertus 
Magnus, Vincent of Beauvais, Bartholomaeus 
Anglicus and Thomas Cantimpre, Arnoldus 

[237J Arnoldus Saxo (Arnold of Saxony or Arnoldus 
Luca) [Rikmersdorf near Helmstadt, Germany, cl316; 
Halberstadt, Germany, 8 July 1390] is a German naturalist, 
probably a doctor and teacher, who was undoubtedly 
widely read for his time. Refs. DBA, I 11, 206-211; II 
16, 124, 124a, 125a-128. • DSB, 1, 93-95. • Mayerhofer, 
Lexikon der Naturwissenschaften, p. 167-168. • NDB, 1, ??. 
• Poggendorff, 1, col. 24. • Sarton, Introduction, 2, pt. 2, 
592. • World Who's Who in Science, p. 24. 

1-^>°J Emil Stange., Arnoldus Saxo, der alteste Encyklopadist 
des XIII. Jahrhunderts. Dissertation. Halle, 1885. 67 p. 

1-^> 9 J Emil Stange., Die Encyklopadie des Arnoldus Saxo zum 
ersten Mai nach einem Erfurter Codex herausgeben. All three 
parts appeared as Beilage to Jahresbericht of the Konigliches 
Gymnasium in Erfurt. (I) "1905, Progr. Nr. 278," (II) "1906, 
Progr. No. 289" and (III) "1907, Progr. Nr. 289." 

used as his foundation a common corpus of 
sources for his text. As an author however, 
Arnoldus is especially useful in his description 
of stones and minerals that constitutes the 
most original part of the work since it is not 
presented in the form of interlacing citations. 

Except the studies of Stange, few studies 
devoted to Arnoldus Saxo have appeared. 
When it was studied interest in Arnoldus' 
encyclopedia has usually been in connection 
with its heavy use of quotations from Aristotle's 
works on which about a one third of 
its text is based. I 240 ! Another recent 

study has recently thrown light on Arnoldus' 
encyclopedic work.! 241 ! Otherwise, little 

research has evolved since Stange 's critical 
edition of the encyclopedia published in 1905- 

The text of the encyclopedia is divided 
into five parts. The first 'De celo and mundo' 
is devoted to a study of cosmology, where 
metaphysics is joined to physics in the structure 
of the scale of the causes. Five books distribute 
the subject respectively: 

1. The first cause and the heart. 

2. Stars and planets. 

3. Elements and their distribution in the animal world 
and vegetable. 

4. Meteorology. 

5. The mineral world. 

The second part 'De naturis animalium' 
describes the corruption and generation in 
the animal world, in the order adopted by 
the majority of earlier encyclopedists: man, 
quadrupeds, birds, fish, reptiles. 

The 'De virtutibus lapidum' as written 
by Arnoldus presents in its first book an 
alphabetical stone catalogue, accompanied by 
descriptions of the stones properties and their 
virtues with emphasis on their therapeutic or 
prophylactic nature. The second book 'De 
sigillis' the class according to sculptures' which 

I 24 °] Thorndike, History of Magic, 2, 260, 431-432, and 469- 

[-41J jgabeUe Draelants., "Introduction a l'etude d'Arnold- 
us Saxo et aux sources du De floribus rerum naturalium," 
(pp. 85-121), in: C. Meier, ed., Die Enzyklopadie im Wandel 
vom Hochmittelalter zur fruhen Neuzeit. Internationales 
Kolloquium des Teilprojekts D des SFB 231 der Univ. 
Miinster, 04.-07.12.1996. Minister, 2002. 


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3.3 Encyclopedias 

confer the virtue of talismans to them. The 
third book is very short and present in only a 
few of the preserved manuscripts. This part 
(De coloribus gemmarum) is devoted to the 
colors of gemstones and provides information 
similar to the material found in the works 
of Speculum Naturale of Vincent of Beauvais, 
book 8 and of the De Mineralibus, book 2, 
of Albertus Magnus. In 1875, Valentine Rose 
studied the book of the stones and compared 
its descriptions to lapidaries supposed to 
be the work of Aristotle. I 242 ! Besides 

Aristotle, the text relies upon Dioscorides, the 
Christian lapidaries and 'Evax' (i.e., Marbode) 
for its descriptions of minerals and gems. 
Arnoldus' work was probably used by Thomas 
of Cantimpre, Albertus Magnus, and Vincent 
of Beauvais, but was not quoted except by 
the last named and by the anonymous author 
of the Hortus Sanitatis. There is also an 
anonymous Hebrew translation of it, Sefer ha- 
abanim. Bartholomaeus Anglicus' lapidary is 
more elaborate than Arnoldus' suggesting that 
it was perpared at an earlier date.! 243 ! 

The fourth part 'De virtute universali' 
describes the virtues resulting from the 
universal force to form the whole of the animate 
and inanimate world. The final part 'De 
moralibus' defines the virtue, its divisions and 
the places where it is exerted such as happiness, 
time, life, death, eternity. 

3.3.15 Hrabanus Maurus! 244 ] 

Hrabanus Maurus (ca. 780-856), abbot of 
Fulda and Archbishop of Mainz, was theological 
and pedagogical writer. He was born at Mainz 
about 776 (or possibly 784) and died near 
there in 856. His name, which is spelled in 
various ways (Hrabanus, Rabanus, Rhabanus, 
Reabanus, Raban, Rabano), is connected 

[z42\ Valentin Rose., "Aristoteles 'De lapidibus' und 
Arnoldus Saxo," Zeitschrift fur deutsches Altertum und 
deutsche Literatur, 18 (1875), 321-455. 

I 243 ! Sarton, Introduction, 2, pt. 2, 592. 

[244J Possible references include: The Jewish encyclopedia; 
a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and 
customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the 
present day. Compiled by Isidore Singer and Cyrus Adler. 
New York, London, Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1901-06. 
12 vols. • Samuel S. Kottek., "Precious stones in Jewish 
and Christian medieval literature: natural and/or occult 
sciences?", Koroth, 16 (2002), p. 89-110. • 

with Old High German hraban, " raven" ; 
" Magnentius" , which sometimes appears before 
his surname, Maurus, is probably related to his 
residence in Mainz. At an early age he became 
a Benedictine monk at Fulda. In 802 he went 
to Tours to study theology and the liberal arts, 
under the great scholar Alcuin, from who he 
received the surname Maurus after the favorite 
disciple of St. Benedict. After a year of study, 
he was recalled to Fulda, where he taught at the 
monastic school and eventually became head- 
master. In 814 he was ordained as a priest; in 
822 he became abbot of the monastery. Under 
Abbot Hrabanus, the monastery flourished, 
becoming a renowned seat of learning in the 
Frankish kingdoms. Between 840 and 847 
Hrabanus became embroiled in royal political 
struggles, resigned as abbot, and fled from 
Fulda. In 847, after a reconciliation with the 
king, he was appointed Archbishop of Mainz. 

Reference ..J 245 ! 

Hrabanus was said to be the most learned 
man of his age. His knowledge of scripture, 
patristics, canon law and liturgy was without 
compare. The scope of his writing extended 
over the entire field of sacred and profane 
learning as then understood. He wrote 
commentaries on nearly all the books of the Old 
Testament, as well as the Gospel of Matthew 
and the Pauline Epistles. He also wrote more 
secular works such as De computo, a treatise 
on numbers and the calendar; the Excerptio 
de arte grammatica Prisciani, a treatise on 
grammar and his famous encyclopedia, De 
rerum naturis. 

De Rerum Naturis (On the Nature of 
Things), also known as De Universe*, is an 
encyclopedia in 22 books, covering a large range 
of subjects. It was written between 842 and 
847. Hrabanus' stated intent was to compile 
an encyclopedic handbook for preachers. He 
drew on earlier sources for his information, 
particularly the Etymologiae of Isidore of 
Seville, but the organization of the material was 
his own invention. 

Rabanus Maurus's De Rerum Naturis (On 
the Nature of Things), also known as De 

[245J Adams, Birth and Development of the Geological 
Sciences, 1938, p. 1.38. 


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3.4 Books of Secrets 

Universo, is an encyclopedic compilation which 
he assembled between 842 and 846. The earliest 
edition was edited and printed by Adolf Rusch 
(the so-called "R-Printer") about 1466. This 
edition was reprinted by George Colvener in 
his collected edition of Rabanus's works in 
1627, and again by J. -P. Migne in the series 
Patrologia Latina in 1851. 

The books and chapters of the De Rerum 
Naturis are listed below (based on Schipper). 

1. On God and angels. 

2. On man, the patriarchs, the status of man. 

3. ????????. 

4. People of the New Testement, martyrs, clerics, 
monastics, heretics. 

5. ????????. 

6. ????????. 

7. ????????. 

8. On animals. 

9. On astronomy - the world and the heavens. 

10. On time and the calendar. 

11. On water - oceans, rivers, Roods. 

12. On geography- the regions of the Earth, the globe, 

13. On geography - mountains, valleys, deserts. 

14. On architecture and building. 

15. On the liberal arts. 

16. On language. 

17. On geology - stones, minerals, gems, metals, De 
pulueribus et glebis terra; De glebis et aquis; De 
lapidibus vulgaribus; De lapidibus insignioribus; De 
marmoribus; De ebore; De gemmis; De margaretis; 
De christallis; De vitro; De metallis; De auro; De 
aere; De auricalco; De electro; De stagno; De 
plumbo; De ferro. 

18. On number, music, medicine. 

19. On agriculture. 

20. ????????. 

21. On textiles and clothing. 

22. ????????. 

3.4 Books of Secrets! 246 ! 

REWORK: The books of secrets tradition has 
not been treated in any comprehensive fashion, 

t ' Further historical information may be found in: J. 
Ferguson., Bibliographical notes on histories of inventions and 
books of secrets. London, Holland Press, 1981. 2 vols, in one. 
• S.J. Williams., The secret of secrets: the scholarly career of a 
pseudo-Aristotelian text in the Latin Middle Ages. Ann Arbor, 
University of Michigan Press, c2003. 

despite the fact that they were among the 
most widely read works of the medieval and 
Renaissance periods. Since the tradition it 
treats contains a large number of texts and 
fragments of texts (as well as, undoubtedly, 
hitherto undiscovered texts), it can not be 
described completely. 

Although the literature of secrets was 
present in the West from the 12th through 
the 16th century and beyond, it did not at 
any stage in its history have a place among 
the official sciences. Secrets referred to two 
types of phenomena: those which occurred 
unexpectedly as a result of some unknown, 
or occult cause; and those which occurred by 
artificial rather than natural causes. Scientia, 
on the other hand, aimed at revealing certainty 
about the physical world as it existed by 
nature. Secrets were idiosyncratic, in that 
they were peculiar to a relatively narrow 
class of phenomena, or could be affected only 
by some special insight, skill, or cunning, 
whether that be of the artisan or the magus. 
For these reasons, knowledge of secrets was 
restricted. They could be neither understood 
nor explained according to the ordinary canons 
of logic and natural philosophy. They occurred 
spontaneously, without evident cause, and 
hence lay outside the boundaries of official 

Nevertheless, the existence of a sizeable 
literature on the subject tended at various 
times to raise uncomfortable questions about 
the limits of knowable and of scientia 
itself. Medieval philosophers could not help 
but notice, for example, that many secrets 
attributed to known authors bore a striking 
similarity to beliefs and superstitions held by 
the ordinary folk. Normally, authority itself 
provided the stamp of approval, distinguishing 
truths based on established, written authorities 
from false opinions circulating among the 
people through an oral tradition. But the 
professional activities of the physician or 
craftsman often turned up events which could 
be proved neither by reason nor authority. In 
such instances, experience alone had to be one's 

3.4.1 The Literature of "Secrets" 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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3.4 Books of Secrets 

REWORK: Books of secrets were not, perhaps, 
what the term itself might conjure up in the 
imagination. To the modern reader expecting 
to encounter some mysterious, arcane wisdom, 
these works are bound to be disappointing. 
What was revealed, typically, was not the 
lore of ancient sages or magi, but recipes, 
formulae, and 'experiments,' often of a fairly 
conventional sort, associated with one of the 
crafts or with medicine: e.g., quenching 
waters for hardening steel, recipes for dyes 
and pigments, instructions for making drugs, 
and 'practical alchemical' formulae such as 
a jeweller or tinsmith might use. When a 
medieval or sixteenth century writer claimed 
to have discovered a 'secret,' he often had this 
meaning in mind; and when a contemporary 
library catalogue referred to a 'book of secrets,' 
it usually indicated a compilation of such 

The connotation attached to books of 
secrets was not completely neutral, however. 
They were not regarded with the same 
detachment that we would have, for example, 
for a cookbook or formulary, the closest modern 
equivalent of such a work. For one thing, 
behind books of secrets stood a long tradition 
of anonymous and pseudonymous writings that 
purported to reveal the esoteric teachings 
of famous philosophers. The best known 
of these works was the pseudo-Aristotelian 
Secretum Secretorum, an Arabic work that was 
translated into Latin in the 12th century and 
is found in about five hundred manuscripts 
dating to the seventeenth century! The core 
of this work is a handbook on statecraft in 
the form of a letter from Aristotle, the prince 
of philosophers, to Alexander the Great, the 
prince of princes. By a process of accretion, 
however, it gradually became an encyclopedic 
work encompassing rules for the preservation 
of health, medical diagnostics and recipes, 
physiognomy, medical astrology, a herbal, a 
lapidary, and an extended discussion of the 
occult sciences. Insofar as this work can be 
said to promote a philosophy, it was the view 
that the secrets of nature are revealed only to 
those worthy of them; and that with the aid 
of this knowledge, all things are possible in the 
material world. 

The Secretum Secretorum was obviously 
a medieval classic, but its influence on science 
has yet to be fully evaluated. Roger. Bacon 
edited the Latin text of the work and made 
extensive notations, and may have caused him 
to shift his interests from philosophy to scientia 

The popular tradition of secrets in 
literature was written for the masses, not 
scholarly persuit. Despite the scorn of 

the scholars, however, the popular literature 
capitalized on the prestige associated with 
the great scholars of the past. Almost all 
the ancient scholars have works spuriously 
attributed to them. This is not suprising 
when one realizes that the intellectual climate 
constrained many scholars of the medieaval 
age to cast their writings in the form of 
commentaries on the works of the ancients. For 
example, the whole of Albertus Magnus' vast 
output was intended by the author to be a 
commentary on Aristotle, though it ultimately 
contained much original work from Albertus. 
The Book of Secrets attributed to Albertus 
Magnus was one of the most widely known 
works in a literature that gained popularity 
during the Middle Ages. The popularity of 
this work is demonstrated by the survival of 
a large number of manuscripts from as early 
as the 12th century and by the fact that 
several continued to be copied, anthologized, 
translated, and printed well into the 17th 

As its Latin name, Liber Aggreationis, or 
"book of collected items" , suggests, The Book 
of Secrets is an anthology rather than a single 
work. The treatment of the subject matter is 
also sensational, reinforcing the popular myths 
about nature. It is divided into sections 
describing the marvellous properites of herbs, 
stones, and beasts. However, within each 
part the text is collected from a wide variety 
of sources. The text may be divided into 
these component parts: (1) On Herbs describes 
16 herbs described in terms of their magical 
properties, (2) On Stones repeats 45 entries 
from Albertus Magnus' Mineralia, which is 
followed by a single paragraph taken from 
the 7th century encyclopedist, Isidore of 
Seville, (3) On Beast, in which 18 beasts — 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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4.1 Mining in Saxony 

animals, birds and fish are described, and 
(4) On the Astrological Influence of Planets 
containing a treatise on the hours of the day 
governed by the various planets. In later 
editions another formerly independent treatise 
describing "The Marvels of the World" is 
sometimes appended. 

Although the preface and a passage at the 
end of the section dealing with beasts attribute 
this as an original work of Albertus Magnus, it 
is very different from the other known writings 
of him. It was written, however, contemporary 
with Albertus or shortly after he died; the 
earliest surviving manuscripts are from the late 
13th century, and Albertus died in 1279. It may 
be that The Book of Secrets was written by 
a follower of Albertus; certainly, as Thorndike 
writes, "There can be little doubt that it 
pretends to be a product of his experimental 
school among the Dominicans at Cologne." 

4.0 Agricola and his Time! 247 ) 

By the mid-point of the second millennium, 
around 1500, nature and science came 
under intense review by the intellectuals and 
philosophers. The ancient explanations of 
physical phenomena that had persevered for 
centuries simply did not stand up against what 
was being observed in the world. Church 
dogma, an authority that had once been 
absolute saw its power crumble as its doctrines 
were shown to be flawed. Into the vacuum 
created flowed new ideas and theories based 
upon practical observation and presented in 
scholarly books written by keen observers. It 
was one of the most dynamic times in science. 

^ ' Further historical information may be found in: 
Walther Fischer., Mineralogie in Sachsen von Agricola bis 
Werner. Die altere Geschichte des Staatlichen Museums fur 
Mineralogie und Geologie zu Dresden (1560-1820). Dresden, 
Verlagsbuchhandlung C. Heinrich, 1939. viii, 348 p., 24 
plates. • Hans Prescher and Otfried Wagenbreth., Georgius 
Agricola - seine Zeit und seine Spuren. Leipzig, Dt.Verlag fur 
Grundstoffindustrie, 1994. 234 p., 94 illus. • Arthur J. 
Wilson., The living rock. The story of metals since earliest 
times and their impact on developing civilization. Cambridge, 
England, Woodhead Pub., 1994. xix, 291 p., illus., maps, 
portraits. [Published as a Festschrift in honor of the 
quincentenary of the birth of Georgius Agricola, 1494-1555, 
the 'Father of Mineralogy'.; ISBN 1855731541.] 

4.1 Mining in Saxony! 248 ! 

The ancient lands occupied by the Celtic 
peoples extended across all of Europe and 
contained the territories of Eastern and 
Western Europe, and the British Isles. They 
were excellent workers of metals, especially 
gold, as is known by the marvelous artifacts 
that have been found in their graves. Raw 
material was probably recovered from placer 
deposits from all regions under their control, 
including present day Hungary, which lies to 
the southeast of Saxony. They also build up 
extensive trade between their people and the 
surrounding societies that brought in other 
raw mineral material. Later, as the Romans 
expanded their Empire into central Europe 
they were continually looking for new sources 
of metals, and actively created complex mining 
technologies to extract mineral wealth from 
the earth. This is well documented by the 
discovery of ancient dewatering wheels at the 
ancient Roman mines of Rio Tinto in Spain. I 249 ! 
Although the mineral wealth of Saxony were 
not know until long after the Roman Empire 
fell, the techniques they introduced to the 
mining process remained. Vestiges of its 
technologies remained through out its former 
European domains. I 250 ! 

[248] pother historical information may be found in: 
Anonymous., Studien zur Geschichte des Montanwesens in 
Sachsen vom 16. bis 19. Jahrhundert. Leipzig, Deutsche!' 
Verlag fur Grundstoffindustrie, cl989. 106 p., illus. 
[History of mining in Saxony 1500 to 1900. Published 
as: Freiberger Forsdimigsfrefte, D 194.; ISBN 3342009942.] 
• Oliver Davies., Roman mines in Europe. Oxford, 1935. 
xii, 291 p., 4 plates, illus., maps (3 folding). [Reprinted, 
New York, Arno Press, 1979.] • J.C. Edmondson., 
"Mining in the later Roman Empire and beyond," Journal 
of Roman Studies, 79 (1989), p. 84-102. • W. Liessmann., 
Historischer Bergbau im Harz: Kurzfiihrer. Koln, Sven von 
Loga, 1992. 320 p., illus. [A history of mining in the 
Harz Mountains of Germany. Published as: Schriften des 
Mineralogischen Museums der Universitat Hamburg, vol. 1.; 
ISBN 3873612429.] 

[249] GD B j ones ; « The R oman Mines at Riotinto," 
Journal of Roman Studies, 70, (1980), p. 146-165. • T.A. 
Rickard., "The mining of the Romans in Spain," Journal of 
Roman Studies, 18 (1928), p. 129-143. 

[250] p T Craddock., Early Mining and Metal Production. 
Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995. • O. 
Davies., Roman Mines in Europe. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 
1935. • J.C. Edmondson., "Mining in the later Roman 
Empire and beyond," Journal of Roman Studies, 79 (1989), 
p. 84-102. • R.J. Forbes., Studies in Ancient Technology. 
Leiden, E.J. Brill 1963, vol. 7. * John F. Healy., Mining and 


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4.1 Mining in Saxony 

Thus it happened that during the Dark 
Ages, the territory of Saxony came under 
the control of the Germanic tribes. This 
mountainous region in the southeast of modern 
Germany is particularly rich in ores of several 
useful metals such as tin, copper, and silver. 
Mines in the Harz mountains of Saxony became 
active in the time of Charlemagne (742-814 
C.E.). Operations in the Saxon mines, just 
as in those of the Greeks and Romans, were 
carried out by slaves. With no power tools or 
explosives, tunneling through the hard rock was 
slow and difficult with daily progress probably 
only inches per day. New mines were found 
in neighboring areas, like the Erzgebirge range 
separating Saxony and Bohemia. Eventually 
these mines became the most prosperous in all 

Landowners opened their estates to 
prospectors who had becme adept at looking 
for minerals. Some of these prospectors were 
former serfs. A prospector staking a claim 
could sell the minerals he found after paying a 
royalty to the landowner. Mine owners became 
financiers and creditors of the royal courts of 
Europe. Certainly, gold was recovered from 
regions further south, in the ancient province 
of Dacia (modern Transylvania and Hungary). 
But Bohemia and Saxony appear to have only 
minor mineral exploitation until the eighth 

Mining was established in Bohemia at 
Pfibham and at Schemnitz by the eighth 
century (probably around 750 C.E.). Gold 
mining in the Tavern, which had been operated 
for a long time before the Romans by the Celts 
is again worked in 908 C.E.. In 930 C.E. ore 
is discovered near Rammelsberg and Goslar 
and mines are opened. Around 1000 the first 
section of the "Kupferschiefer" (copper sheet) 
is developed and mined, and in about 1100 
tin and silver veins are discovered at Freiberg. 
Albertus Magnus visited the silver mines there 
doing his travels in the following century. 

By the mid- fourteenth century mining 

Metallurgy in the Greek and Roman World. London, Thames 
and Hudson, 1978. • T.A. Rickard., "The mining of the 
Romans in Spain," Journal of Roman Studies, 18 (1928), p. 
129-143. • R. Shepherd., Ancient Mining. London, Elsevier 
Applied Science, 1993. 

Main area of Saxon mining 

through out the region of Saxony was in 
full blossom. It was the principal industry 
of the area and was supported by ancillary 
smelting and mining works. Surprisingly, 
there appears to be no evidence of theoretical 
speculation as to why so much mineral wealth 
was concentrated in the area. It was taken 
for granted that the mines would continue 
to deliver minerals and metals to the Saxon 
economy, as the area already had for centuries. 
This nonspeculative attitude would change over 
the next centuries, however, as new ideas took 

The major change from the casual magical 
attitude toward gems and minerals received its 
most powerful impetus from the beginnings and 
development of the great mining industry in the 
Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) of Saxony. This 
range of mountains extended into Bohemia and, 
as the Harz Mountains, was located west of 
Saxony and east of this region, reaching into 

In this comparatively small area mining 
expanded and the region became one of the 
most prosperous in all Europe. Families 
grew rich from the mining operations and 
this wealth brought great advances in the 
technology of mining, the processes of ore 
reduction and the refining of metal. The area 
also developed a high order of literacy so that 
a body of theoretical and practical information 
and experience was gathered and interchanged. 


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Here by the fourteenth century, metallurgy 
and mineralogy attained true proportions as 

4.1.1 The Renaissance 

In the 1200s the exceptional figures of Dante, 
Roger Bacon, Vincent of Beauvais and Marco 
Polo expanded the frontiers of knowledge of 
their time. They initiated in Italy a revolution 
in intellectual thought that spread to other 
countries. The "Renaissance," adopted from 
the French equivalent of the Italian word 
"rinascita," meaning literally rebirth, describes 
the radical and comprehensive shift that took 
place across the social, political, cultural, and 
scientific fabric of Europe during the next 
centuries. This intellectual trend, also called 
humanism, or studio, humanitatis, was at 
the heart of development in literature, art, 
and science, which was a fresh alternative 
to the dark atmosphere of the Middle Ages. 
It was a period when the first focus was 
on the restoration of the natural knowledge 
of the ancients followed by a period of 
innovation. During this epoch there lived such 
scientists as Leonardo Da Vinci [1452-1519], the 
astronomers, Nicolaus Copernicus [1473-1543], 
Giordano Bruno [1548-1600], Johannes Kepler 
[1571-1630], Galileo Galilei [1564-1642], and the 
anatomist Andreas Vesalius [1514-1564]. 

The astronomers placed the sun at the 
center of the heliocentric system, which had 
a tremendous impact on weakening church 
authority in scientifc matters. The scientists 
thus looked at the earth, and its animals, 
plants, and minerals, from a fresh viewpoint. 
Leonardo Da Vinci in his notebooks formulates 
the idea of mountains being formed from 
uplifted sedimentary rock and being destroyed 
by weathering agents. He also speculates after 
seeing the first maps of the Atlantic coast lines 
of South America and Africa, that these land 
masses were once joined (predating modern 
plate tectonic theory by centuries) . 

During the Renissance Aristotle's concept 
of the round immobile world was fairly well 
fixed in men's minds. Around the spherical 
core of the world there rested, like mantles, the 
three additional Aristotelian elements in order 
of their weight. Upon the sphere of the earth 

4.1 Mining in Saxony 

flowed the mantle of water and over it rested 
the air and, above this, the sphere of fire. 

It was generally accepted that each planet 
was the source of some great spiritual power 
reigning over heaven and earth. Not only in 
astrology but in many of the accepted practices 
in agriculture, animal husbandry and in most 
walks of life, the influence of the stars was 
believed to be of primary importance in shaping 
the lives of individuals and of nations. The 
moon was considered the abode of the angels 
and Mercury that of the archangels. Venus was 
the seat of the principalities, the sun the center 
of the powers; Mars was that of the virtues, 
Jupiter of the dominations, Saturn the center 
of the thrones, the fixed stars of the cherubim 
and the Primum Mobile of the seraphim. At 
birth, the life of a person was predestined by the 
position and influence of the planets in the sky. 
Calendars were prepared so that men might be 
guided by the heavenly signs; astrologers were 
consulted in the preparation of horoscopes. 

This practice reached into mining and 
metallurgy. The seven common metals were 
related to the seven planets. Mercury and 
its "mercurial" characteristics were related to 
the quick-moving planet named after the swift 
travelling messenger of the gods. Copper was 
related to Venus, and gold shone with the 
yellow warmth of the sun. Silver and the 
silvery moon were thought of together, and 
iron, essential to war and the "martial" spirit, 
was associated with Mars. Jupiter (Jove) and 
the "jovial" spirit were thought of as relating to 
tin, and distant Saturn was associated with the 
dull qualities of lead. The association of planet 
and metal was carried to the point of using 
common signs by astronomers and astrologers 
in the designation of the planets and, later, 
geologists adopted these signs to represent the 
corresponding metals. 

The ancients judged rocks, minerals 
and gems entirely by their appearance, and 
whatever classification was attempted was 
based on their superficial resemblance. No 
effort was made to determine the chemical 
composition or crystallographic structure of 
minerals. Color and transparency were of 
primary consideration. Metals differed from 
minerals in that the former were either fusible 


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4.2 Technological Heritage 

or malleable. 

It was stated by Aristotle that the heat 
and rays of the sun reaching the earth's 
surface and interior caused exhalations which 
penetrated the earth's crust, made possible 
new combinations of elements, created metals 
and minerals and formed the various kinds of 
stones. This belief continued into the Dark and 
Middle Ages and was explained by Albertus 
Magnus in his De Mineralibus. This early 
treatise on minerals and metals repeats the 
essence of the celestial influences of the sun, the 
stars and the planets in creating and changing 
minerals, metals and stones. Therefore his 
reiteration of the Aristotelian doctrine of the 
creating of stones and metals thru celestial 
influences on earth remained unchallenged until 
the end of the 1500s. 

Ancient views of the underworld continued 
to dominate. Their speculation of the earth's 
inside bore no evidence of being based on 
actual observation, and are instead curious 
ideas based upon myth and lore. The four 
elements proposed by Aristotle remained the 
accepted explanation from which the physical 
world was build, and descriptions of nature 
were based in those terms until the middle of 
the eighteenth century. 

The word "fossils" , as used in medieval 
times, applied equally to rocks, minerals or 
fossils. Its meaning stemmed from the Latin 
word fossilis that described anything dug out 
of the earth. As the arts and sciences of 
mining and metallurgy advanced, distinctions 
arose and three sub-sciences of mineralogy, 
petrography and paleontology were applied 
respectively to the specific science of inorganic 
substances, the science concerned with the 
description or classification of rocks, and 
the science dealing with fossilized plants and 

Metals constituted a distinctive part of 
"fossils" because of their bright luster which 
distinguished them from other stones and the 
fact that they could be extracted from the 
ores by means of fire. According to Aristotle, 
a metal was a combination of the elements 
of earth and water, as seen from the fluid 
character of metals when heated and by their 
malleability when hammered. The attempts 

of Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas to 
coordinate the teachings of Aristotle and those 
of medieval theology carried the notion of the 
celestial origin of metals and metallic ores into 
the literature of scholastic philosophy. Because 
of this, Aristotle's notions became an integral 
part of scholastic literature down thru the 
ages. The invention of printing in the 1450s 
multiplied and distributed man's knowledge in 
undreamed of numbers of books. 

So recent is the science of geology that 
the very word Geology or Geologia, used 
approximately in its present sense, was first 
used in literature as late as 1605. Similarly 
the first reference to " geologia" appeared in an 
English book in 1661. 

4.2 Technological Heritage! 251 ! 

After the wave of Black Death swept across 
Asia and Europe in the fourteenth century, 
many events came to pass that had a profound 
influence on civilization. During the social 
upheaval, perhaps the most important was that 
"when the plague was over, . . . everybody 
was better off in gross terms, since those who 
survived took what had belonged to those who 
died." I 252 l With the rise in living standards, 
more property began to be exchanged, which 
meant larger quantities of documents were 
prepared. This in turn created a heavy demand 
for skilled scribes, who wrote virtually all of the 
legal agreements of the period. 

Since the plague is transmitted by a 
bacteria that infects rats, places where close 
contact with rodents was probable were the 
places hardest hit by the Black Death. 
Coincidentally, population centers, such as the 
towns and monasteries of Europe were also the 
residences of virtually all the learned men of the 
time, including the scribes. As a result many of 
the literate members of the community died in 
the Plague, thereby allowing those scribes that 

L J Further historical information may be found in: 
Arthur J. Wilson., The living rock. The story of metals 
since earliest times and their impact on developing civilization. 
Cambridge, England, Woodhead Pub., 1994. xix, 291 p., 
illus., maps, portraits. [Published as a Festschrift in honor 
of the quincentenary of the birth of Georgius Agricola, 
1494-1555, the 'Father of Mineralogy'.; ISBN 1855731541.] 

I 252 l J. Burke., Connections, 1978, p. 98. 


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4.2 Technological Heritage 

survived to command astronomically prices. To 
further unsettle the situation, a cheap and easy 
method of making paper had been established 
by the end of the fourteenth century. Clearly, 
there was a necessity to develop a cheaper 
means to place writing upon the paper, and 
this method must inevitably be some form of 
mechanized writing. 

Mechanical Printing 

In Europe, an early form of mechanical printing 
appears in several forms among which are decks 
of playing cards and several small booklets 
known as block books. These were created by 
carving a mirror image of what was wanted on 
the paper into a block of wood, and then using 
this block to transfer the inked image to the 
paper. The technique required a great amount 
of time to carve the block (gross mistakes 
caused the carver to start over from scratch), 
which because it was wood, was relatively soft 
and tended to wear away quickly during the 
printing process. 

A German goldsmith from Mainz is 
generally regarded as the person who brought 
great leaps of technology to printing. He was 
Johann Gansfleisch, but is better known by 
his mother's maiden name - which he adopted 
- GUTENBURG. He learned the goldsmith 
trade through his father, who had officiated 
at the Mainz mint, and his knowledge of how 
to work metals played a great role in his 
development of a new method of printing. The 
principal component missing from developing a 
true mechanical printing was the invention of 
a moveable type, and for this Gutenburg had 
two great assets. He knew how to work metals, 
and the German alphabet of his time contained 
only twenty-three letters (no j, v, or w). 

Gutenburg recognized the problem was to 
develop a reusable type that was uniform in 
size, that could be set side by side to print 
an even line of text, and that would be made 
of materials not easily worn down during the 
printing process. To solve the problem every 
letter had to be cast into an identical mold, and 
this is where his knowledge of metals became 
a necessity. The material from which the 
mold was made had to have a higher melting 
temperature than the metal used to make 

the casting. Additionally, the stem for each 
letter must be the same height and dimensions, 
regardless of what letter it represented. The 
problem was that after the casting had cooled 
inside the mold, it had to be extracted without 
breaking the mold. The solution required 
genius to create the intricate three piece mold 
that was undoubtedly developed over a period 
of years. The three pieces slid together like a 
puzzle and are held together by a large curved 
spring. After casting the letter, the pieces of 
the mold could slide apart to extract the cast 
letter, and then be put back together again to 
cast another identical letter. It satisfied the 
requirement that the stems of every letter be 
the same size. Thus one letter could easily be 
interchanged with any other in a given line of 
type, which is what makes moveable type an 
efficient technology. 

Very quickly after Gutenburg introduced 
his invention, publishing houses appeared in 
most of the major European cities. The first 
subjects to be published were by and large the 
writings of the classical authors or theological 
books, but as the sixteenth century came, texts 
of a more practical nature appeared. The 
printing press made it possible for cheap hand 
books to be prepared, I 253 l and the vast 

amount of practical knowledge concerning all 
manner of technologies that had been built up 
over the centuries, and passed from master to 
apprentice was ripe for dissemination to the 
eagar reading public. There began to appear 
at the beginning of the century a new class of 
literature, used by its practitioners and those 
aspiring to enter technical professions. It was a 
literature devoted to the practical application 
of knowledge with illustrative examples, with 
essentially no theoretical discussions. These 
technical booklets were designed to give useful 
information as to how to accomplish specific 
tasks. They were apparently widely popular, 
especially in the German communities, as 
is indicated by the large number of titles 
published on a wide selection of subjects and 
of which numerous editions appeared. These 
books were also apparently much read as the 

[253] p ar tington, History of Chemistry, 1964-71, 2, p. 32- 


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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

4.2 Technological Heritage 

few surviving copies show tremendous wear 
from their years of service. 

4.2.1 Bergbiichlein (cl505)[ 254 l 

The Bergbiichlein (Little Book on Ores) 
that appeared about 1505 is the first in a 
long series of printed books, dedicated to 
the mining arts. It is a practical handbook 
designed for beginners rather than experts in 
the field of mining, and as an introduction 
to mining geology, which means that it was 
not addressed to the practicing expert but was 
intended to rouse the interest of beginners in 
the various aspects of a future vocation. The 
booklet comprises instructions from Daniel, 
a skilled miner, to Knappius, 'his mining 
boy'. In ten chapters, the work contains 
an introduction to mining geology, touches 
on some theories of the generation of ores, 
which is of mineralogical interest, introduces 
and defines many of the important technical 
terms of the profession, discusses the ores of 
the seven most important metals, and how to 
prospect for them. Not all the information 
contained in its pages is based on fact or 
even first hand knowledge of the author but 
enough of the material was sufficiently practical 
for Agricola to have used it as a reference 
book and even copied certain passages verbatim 
in writing his more comprehensive work. It 
touches on the theories of the generation of 
ores, introduces and defines some of the most 
frequently encountered technical terms of the 
profession, and indicates what knowledge and 
tools are required for successful prospecting 
and mining. It also describes the ores of 

t ' Further historical information may be found in: 
Ernst Darmstadter., Berg-. Probir- und Kunst-Biichlein. 
Miinchen, 1926. Ill p. [Published as: Miinchener 
Beitrage zur Geschichte und Literatur der Naturwissenschaften 
und Medicine (Heft 2-3). The bibliography describes 80 
early books related to mining and assaying.] • A.G. 
Sisco and C.S. Smith, Bergwerk- und Probirbiichlein. New 
York, 1949. 196 p., illus., biblio. [A translation of two 
sixteenth century works on mining (Bergbuchlein, 1518) 
and assaying (Probierbuchlein, 1534), the earliest printed 
books on the subjects. With technical annotations and 
historical notes, bibliography of known editions, etc.] • 
H. Wilsdorf, Praludien zu Agricola. I. Das Joachimstahler 
Bergbuchlein des Hans Rudhart 1523. II. Die Cosmography 
des Sebastian Munster 1544. Berlin, Akademie, 1954. 224 p., 
illus. [Published as: Freiberger Forschungshefte, Kultur und 
Technik, D-5.] 

the seven most important metals. For those 
parts that deal with theory the author accepted 
uncritically the traditional teachings of the 
alchemists and the astrologers; his hints on 
where to find promising ores are based partly 
on superstition; but there is enough factual, 
practical information, for example, on veins 
and their differences, on the occurrence of a 
metal in different ores, and on the association of 
a specific ore with others or with certain gangue 
materials, so that even a scholar like Agricola 
used the Bergbuchlein as a reference book. 

Actual authorship of the Bergbuchlein is 
unknown, but based on circumstantial evidence 
is attributed to 'Calbus of Freiberg, a well- 
known doctor', i.e., Ulrich Rulein von 
Calw.I 255 ! Indeed Rulein is accepted 

by present-day scholarship as the author, 
although most editions of the Bergbuchlein 
were published anonymously. 

4.2.2 Probirbiichlein (cl510)[ 256 l 

The Probierbuchlein (Little Book on Assaying) 
that appeared about 1510 is the first printed 
work on any aspect of assaying, displaying 
the art fully developed as it applied to gold 
and silver, and to a lesser degree copper 
and lead. It is a treatise very important 
for the history of the development of mineral 
chemistry. It contained much detailed and 
accurate information concerning the methods 
of separating gold and silver from other metals 
and from one another by so-called cementation 
processes, but contained no reference to 
methods depending on the use of the mineral 

[255] ui ric h Rulein von Calw (or Kalbe) (Born: cl467; 
Died: Leipzig, Germany, 1523) was appointed the health 
officer of Freiberg in 1497, before being elected a member 
of the city council in 1509 and mayor in 1514 and 
1519. He is thought to have worked as a mine surveryor, 
mathematician, astronomer and physician. 
[256J pother historical information may be found in: 
Ernst Darmstadter., Berg-, Probir- und Kunst-Biichlein. 
Miinchen, 1926. Ill p. [Published as: Miinchener Beitrage 
zur Geschichte und Literatur der Naturwissenschaften und 
Medicine (Heft 2-3). The bibliography describes 80 early 
books related to mining and assaying.] • A.G. Sisco 
and C.S. Smith, Bergwerk- und Probirbiichlein. New York, 
1949. 196 p., illus., biblio. [A translation of two sixteenth 
century works on mining (Bergbuchlein, 1518) and assaying 
(Probierbuchlein, 1534), the earliest printed books on the 
subjects. With technical annotations and historical notes, 
bibliography of known editions, etc.] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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4.3 Georgius Agricola 

acids. It was intended to be used as a practical 
guide for the assayer, and is a compilation of 
the accepted practices and recipes that must 
have been developed over a long period. 

This little book provides many detailed di- 
rections describing the apparatus and furnaces 
used in preparing the ores, separation of one 
metal from another, and other processes re- 
lated to metallurgy and assaying. It covers ev- 
erything from making touch needles, furnaces, 
crucibles, cupels, and weights to compounding 
fluxes and reagents and prescriptions for their 
use. Also of interest is the fact that the man- 
ufacture of various balances for the laboratory 
seems to have been well developed, because the 
text refers to the importance of accurate weigh- 
ing. In fact a later edition of the Probierbiich- 
lein (1533) gives woodcut illustrations of these 

4.2.3 Biringuccio (1540) P 57 l 

In this new era metallurgical works were further 
developed in central Europe. Innovative 
techniques were tried, and the results published 
in widely circulated books. Popular handbooks 
on mining and assaying began to appear. The 
interest in metallurgy is reflected in the work 
of Vannoccio Biringuccio. In his 1540 
Pirotechnia^ 25 ^ that consists of ten sections, 
Biringuccio describes the different metals and 
their ores, deriving much about the theory 
of their origin that is derived from Aristotle, 
methods of locating ores, and their properties, 
including comments about sulfides, the action 
of sulfur, alum, oxides, halite, and many other 
substances. He fully describes methods of 
ore processing, melting and refining of metals, 
glass manufacture, separation of silver from 
gold, and preparation of nitric acid. He 
gives many practical procedures, that were well 
adopted to metallurgical operations, and gives 
descriptions of the various apparatus necessary 

[257J Further historical information may be found in: O, 
Johannsen., "Biringuccio und seine 'Pirotechnia'," Beitrage 
zur Geschichte Technische Industrie, 16 (1926), p. 153-61. • 
James R. Partington., "Biringuccio and Agricola," Jsis, 26 
(1936), p. 37-8. • C.S. Smith., "Biringuccio's 'Pirotechnia' 
— a neglected Italian metallurgical classic," Mining <fe 
Metallurgy, 21 (1940), p. 189-192. 

[258J Vannoccio Biringuccio., De la Pirotechnia Libri X. 
Venetia, 1540. 

including furnaces, bellows, balances, and the 
like. Biringuccio also comments on the increase 
in a metals weight during calcination (i.e., 
forming an oxide). 

4.3 Georgius Agricola! 259 ! 

The time was ripening for an intelligent man, 
with an inquisitive and practical nature to 
bring a new, fresh insight toscientific views of 
the geological world. On March 24th, 1494, 
at Glauchau, Germany, just such a man in the 
person of Georg Bauer was born to a local 
dryer and woolen draper. However, in writings 
of later years, he would Latinze his name to 
Georgius Agricola, by which he is today 
best remembered. In his youth he attended 
various primary schools in Glauchau, Zwickau, 
and Magdeburg, and in 1514 he matriculated 
at Leipzig University, hi 1515 he received his 
first degree, and stayed at the university as 
lecturer in elementary Greek. In 1517, he took 
a position at Zwickau, where he taught Latin 
and Greek in several schools. 

Zwickau, as a center of the Lutheran 
Reformation, caused Agricola to evaluate his 
religious belief. He came to believe that a 
reformation was necessary, but did not care 
for the revolution championed by the Lutheran 
supporters and remained catholic. Therefore, 
in 1523 he returned to the more moderate 
Leipzig to study medicine and in 1524 he 
travelled to Italy for additional studies in 
philosophy, medicine and the natural sciences 
at the ancient universities at Bologna, Padua 
and Ferrara, finally taking his degree in 
medicine at one of them. About this time 

l- 5y J Further historical information may be found in: Bern 
Dibner., Agricola on metals. Norwalk, Conn., Burndy 
Library, 1958. 128 p., illus. [Published as Burndy Library, 
no. 15.] • Walther Fischer., Mineralogie in Sachsen von 
Agricola bis Werner. Die altere Geschichte des Staatlichen 
Museums fur Mineralogie und Geologie zu Dresden (1560-1820). 
Dresden, Verlagsbuchhandlung C. Heinrich, 1939. viii, 
348 p., 24 plates. • ibid., "Zum 450. Geburtstag Agricolas, 
des "Vaters der Mineralogie," Neues Jahrbuch Mineralogie, 
Geologie und Palaenotologie, Series A, 1944, nos. 7-9, p. 113- 
225, 42 figs., one table. • ibid., "Dr. Georg Agricola," 
Zeitschrift der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft, 96 (1944), 
pts. 1-3, p. 124-8, one fig. • ibid., "Johannes Mathesius zu 
St. Joachimsthal (1504-1565)," Der Aufschluss, 11 (1965), p. 
267-91. • Hans Prescher and Otfried Wagenbreth., Georgius 
Agricola - seine Zeit und seine Spuren. Leipzig, Dt.Verlag fur 
Grundstoffindustrie, 1994. 234 p., 94 illus. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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4.3 Georgius Agricola 

he was befriended by the famous humanist 
Erasmus, who Agricola met during a visit to 
Basel. It was Erasmus, who recommended that 
he be appointed to the editorial staff for the 
Aldina editions of Galen and Hippocrates. 

In 1526, Agricola traveled through the 
mining districts of Carinthia, Styria, and the 
Tyrol, returning to Germany in the fall. The 
following spring he opened an apothecary in St. 
Joachimsthal (now Jachymov), Slovakia, and 
was subsequently elected town physician. Here 
he continued to study the pharmaceutical use 
of minerals and smelting by-products, with a 
view to compiling a commentary on the medical 
texts of Galen and Hippocrates. At the time, 
St. Joachimsthal was one of the most important 
mining centers in Europe. The diseases that 
afflicted the miners and smelters of the region 
became Agricola's focus of study. Day after 
day, he visited the mines and refineries, and 
soon developed a deep knowledge of mining and 
metallurgy. It was a confluence of man and 

There was a great need for a practical 
mind to organize the techniques and processes 
employed in the mining technology of the time. 
The economic activity which came with the 
Renaissance made it possible for a man like 
Agricola to enter the mines, to study the 
structure of the earth's crust and to organize 
his observations into a logical pattern which 
evolved into the sciences of mineralogy and 
geology. It was based on these observations, he 
recorded his observations in the first of his great 
mining works, Bermannus sive de re Metallica 
Dialogus, published in 1530. The success of this 
pioneering work on mining and metallurgy was 
assured by Erasmus, who contributed a letter of 
recommendation. The publication of this small 
book by Froben, one of the foremost printers of 
the time, was followed in 1533 by another book 
also by Froben and also at Basel. This was 
the De Mensuris et Ponderibus, a discussion 
of Greek and Roman weights and measures. It 
was also at this time that Agricola began to 
organize and gather the material for his later 
work De Re Metallica, which took some 20 
years to write and an additional five years for 
printing. But after his initial books, Agricola 
was now a well-known author, and to build on 

that reputation he needed to make a change. 

There were too many demands on his 
time in St. Joachimsthal, and Agricola made 
the decision to move to the smaller, quieter 
mining town of Chemnitz, where he became 
town physician. Chemnitz was a copper 
producer that had a smelter which was also 
used to extract silver from the ore. Agricola's 
knowledge of minerals and mining enabled 
him to make profitable investments in the 
local mining operations. His partnerships were 
almost always successful, and by 1542 he was 
one of the town's richest inhabitants. 

Beginning in 1546 he published a series 
of six works on mining, metallurgy, geology 
and animals used in mining. Continuing his 
friendship with Erasmus, Agricola remained 
loyal to the Catholic faith, tho he was 
surrounded by men who sided strongly with the 
Reformation. In addition to his metallurgical 
works, Agricola also published studies in 
medical, religious, political and historical 
subjects. These reflect his many interests and 
a dedicated professional attitude. 

His success enabled Agricola to work on 
what is considered his greatest achievement in 
science, although this had to take a subordinate 
postion to diplomatic missions he took on for 
the court of Saxony. For three years, he was a 
councillor of Moritz Duke of Saxony, and was 
one of the few Roman Catholic representatives 
in the Protestant court. Finally in 1548, he 
was able to return to his scientific writings, and 
new books began to appear in the next year: 
De animantibus subterraneis (1549) and an 
enlarged edition of De mensuris et ponderibus 

In 1550, he had with him the finished text 
of his chief work, De Re Metallica Libri XII, 
begun twenty years before in St. Joachimsthal. 
He then found in St. Joachimsthal an expert 
designer Blasius Weffring, who spent the next 
three years creating woodblock to illustrate the 

When the plague spread through Saxony 
in 1552-1553, Agricola worked day and night, 
attempting to alleviate the suffering of those 
afflicted. Notes and observations during this 
time led him to publish his description of the 
disease in 1554 as his De Peste Libri III. 


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4.4 The Influence of Agricola 

In November of 1556, Agricola fell ill 
and died. Four months after his death, De 
Re Metallica Libri XII, illustrated with 292 
woodcuts, appeared. A year later a German 
translation by the physician Philippus Bech 
was published using the same woodcuts. The 
importance of De Re Metallica can be shown 
by its immediate translation into German 
and Italian and its subsequent reissue in ten 
editions. It remained the leading textbook 
for miners and metallurgists for nearly two 
centuries. At a time when most industrial 
processes were held secret by families, guilds or 
towns, Agricola saw fit to publish every practice 
and improvement that he considered of value, 
and to use Latin to gain the widest circulation 
in his homeland and abroad. He had little 
to draw on from earlier sources that had any 
practical value except possibly Biringuccio. 

4.4 The Influence of Agricola! 260 ! 

The period into which Georgius Agricola 
was born was a remarkable time in human 
achievement. It was the height of the 
Renaissance, and Columbus had discovered 
America just two years before he was born. 
Luther and Diirer were Agricola's countrymen 
and contemporaries, and Copernicus and 
Vesalius had just transformed the universe and 
dissected man, its most interesting inhabitant. 
A slumbering world had awakened and Agricola 
added his voice to acclaim its rebirth. 

Agricola to his credit, abandoned induc- 
tive speculation in favor of the results of obser- 
vation. In this respect he was one of the first to 
prescribe to the theory. This helps explain why 

1-60J Further historical information may be found in: Ernst 
Darmstadter., "Georg Agricola, 1494-1555. Leben und 
Werk," Miinchener Beitrage zur Geschichte und Literatur 
der Naturwissenschaften und Medicine, pt. 1 (1926), 96 p., 
portrait. • Walther Fischer., "Zum 450. Geburtstag 
Agricolas, des "Vaters der Mineralogie," Neues Jahrbuch 
Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaenotologie, Series A, 1944, nos. 
7-9, p. 113-225, 42 figs., one table. • H. Hirai., Le concept 
de semence dans Jes theories de la matiere a la Renaissance: 
de Marsile Ficin a Pierre Gassendi. (doctoral dissertation), 
University of Lille 3, 1999. [Contains: Agricola, pp. 81-98; 
Cardan, pp. 99-115; Cesalpin, pp. 116-130; Paracelse, pp. 
132-161; Palissy, pp. 247-262; Boece de Boodt, pp. 282- 
300; de Clave, pp. 305-326.] • Hans Prescher and Otfried 
Wagenbreth., Georgius Agricola - seine Zeit und seine Spuren. 
Leipzig, Dt.Verlag fur Grundstofhndustrie, 1994. 234 p., 
94 illus. 

so much of his text is devoted to refutation of 
the many ancient and deep-rooted beliefs of the 
Scholastics. To Agricola we owe the first ade- 
quate declaration of the part played by erosion 
in the shaping of mountain masses. Similarly 
no predecessor gave a clearer interpretation of 
the origin of ore than did Agricola, because in 
experience and penetrating observation he was 
among the most gifted in his time. To him also 
goes the credit for accuracy and clarity in main- 
taining that ore channels filled the interstices in 
rocks by the process of deposition from circu- 
lating solutions. This was an enunciation of 
a fundamental modern theory and constitutes 
one of his greatest contributions to geology and 

In mineralogy, the contributions of Agri- 
cola were mainly in classifying minerals on the 
basis of the properties of solubility and homo- 
geneity in addition to those of color and hard- 
ness. This was still a long way from the radical 
changes that followed chemical and crystallo- 
graphic analysis of the late 1700s. He also was 
the first to add bismuth and antimony to the 
list of true primary metals. Similarly, to the 
60 actual mineral species known in his time, 
Agricola added 20 new ones, thus increasing the 
original number by a third. 

The rewards of mining technology and 
the broad interest in mineralogy attracted 
alert and inventive minds to the field in 
which Agricola worked. They gathered data 
and tried to relate it to broad principles. 
For example, Christoph Entzelt (Latin, 
Encelius) published a small book on metals 
in 1551. Buth Agricola's authority was such 
that his chief selling point was that he claimed 
to record information not to be found in 
Agricola! I 261 ! 

Conrad Gesner, another contemporary 
of Agricola, was born and lived mainly in 
Zurich in Switzerland, where he, like Agricola, 
was the city physician (Stadtarzt). He was 
a prolific writer on plants and animals and 
his book De Rerum Fossilium Lapidum et 
Gemmarum was printed in 1565, the year 
of his death, a victim of the plague. It 

[261] Christoph Entzelt., De Re Metallica, Francofurti, 
1551. [16], 271, [1] p., 5 woodcuts. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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4.4 The Influence of Agricola 

was, with a minor exception, the first book 
devoted entirely to this subject which was 
illustrated by woodcuts and figures. Stressing 
the importance of the figures contained in 
his book, Gesner changed from the classic 
system oi alphabetically listing minerals by 
the initial letter of their Latin names; he 
grouped his "fossils" in accordance with the 
form of the stone, gem or fossil. He arranged 
his illustrations in an order of increasing 
complexity from the simple spherical stones to 
true fossil complexes. Since the book could 
not readily be printed in colors, this additional 
means of identification was largely neglected. 
Not only was this an improvement over the 
classic listing by alphabetical arrangement, but 
Gesner also avoided reference to the magic and 
miraculous properties of minerals. Although he 
stated that his book was essentially prepared 
to stimulate an interest in stones, fossils and 
minerals and that it was prepared as a work 
of recreation rather than as a profound study, 
Gesner reflected the new point of view created 
by Agricola from whom he borrowed heavily. 

Another Swiss native, Theophrastus 
Bombast von Hohenheim [1493-1541], who 
called himself PARACELSUS I 262 ! initiated 

substantial changes in the development of 
chemistry of the time by helping to transform 
the old alchemy into the science of chemistry 
recognized today. Trained as a physician, 
he looked skeptically at the alchemists, 
but recognized that chemistry could play 
a useful role in medicine. He introduced 
"iatrochemistry" (from the Greek, 'iatro', 
meaning doctor), which marks the begining 
of chemisty as an independent science. 
His Ettliche Tractat Philippi Theophrasti 
Paracelsi ... von naturlichen Dingen (1570) is 
his most direct statement on mineralogy that 
includes descriptions all types of natural things 
including turpentine, salt, magnets, sulfur, 
vitriol, alum, arsenic, the metals, and various 

1 1 Johann E. Hiller., "Die Mineralogie des Paracelsus," 
Philosophia Naturalis. Archiv fur Naturphilosophie, 2 (1952), 
p. 293-331 and 435-478. * Joachim Schroeter., "Die Stel- 
lung des Paracelsus in der Mineralogie des 16. Jahrhun- 
derts," Schweizerische mineralogische und petrographische 
Mitteilungen, 21 (1941), p. 313-331. [A study of the Swiss 
native Paracelsus' influence in sixteenth century mineral- 

minerals. His chemistry revolved around 
minerals because they are naturally chemical 
compounds; however, his ideas about the orgin 
of minerals are charactistic of the period giving 
fantastic speculation. Following the Arabic 
authors, for example, he believed that the 
seven planets influenced the creation inside the 
earth of the various minerals and metals (DSB; 
Partington, 1961-70). 

The direct influence of Agricola in the 
realm of metallurgy is also reflected in 
the activities of Lazarus Ercker and the 
publication, in 1574, of his treatise on ores 
and assaying. This was basically a textbook 
for the practicing assayer. Ercker, chief 
superintendent of mines and comptroller of the 
Holy Roman Empire and Kingdom of Bohemia, 
stressed the economic and commercial aspects 
of his craft, rather than the theoretical. 
He amplified the descriptions by Agricola of 
separating precious metals from copper by 
liquidation with lead, the smelting of tin, and 
the production of saltpeter. Ercker, with 
Biringuccio and Agricola, together represented 
the published metallurgical knowledge of the 
1500s. The instructions and descriptions which 
they prepared were so factual and accurate that 
they continued as handbooks for nearly two 

Lazarus Ercker Beschreibung Aller- 
furnemisten Mineralischen Ertzt vnnd Berck- 
wercksarten (1574) Together with Agr.ICOLA's 
De Re Metallica (1st ed., Basel, 1556), Ercker's 
treatise is the most authoritative and practical 
work on 16th century metallurgy and assaying. 
He provides a systematic review of methods 
of testing alloys and minerals and of obtaining 
and refining various metals. Also described are 
procedures for manufacturing acids, salts and 
other chemical compounds, including saltpeter 
and vitriol. Apparatus and laboratory equip- 
ment used in metallurgy and assaying as well 
as detailed accounts of laboratory procedures, 
all of which had been used by Ercker in his ev- 
eryday work as inspector of mines. 

Ercker was an accurate recorder of facts, 
not a builder of theoretical systems. He 
writes with amazing clarity, with completely 
realistic descriptions of the apparatus used 
and straightforward instructions for various 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.0 Physical Properties 

laboratory operations. His treatment of the 
subject is basically the same as found in any 
modern treatise on fire assaying, and in fact 
his work remained the standard text for several 
centuries after its first appearance. 

In five books Ercker defines assaying and 
what knowledge the practicing assayer should 
possess. The first book deals with silver ores, 
how to distinguish them and the apparatus 
required to perform accurate tests, and refine 
the resultant metal. Book two describes 
the same for gold and its ores, while book 
three covers copper. Book four concerns lead, 
bismuth, tin, antimony, mercury, iron and 
lodestone. Book five describes the preparation 
of saltpeter and the assay of vitriol from pyrite 
and alum in the ores of alum. 

Georg Meyer Bergwercks Geschopff 
und wunderbare Eigenschaften der Metall- 
fruchte (1595-7) Only edition. Among the 
books on mining published in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, the one by Georg Meyer is one of the 
rarest. In contrast to the works by Agricola, 
Entzelt. Matthesius, and Ercker, it hardly ever 
appears on the market. The book is dedicated 
to the Emperor Rudolph II, the patron of Ty- 
cho Brahe and Kepler who was a strong sup- 
porter of alchemy. At the beginning is a 4 1/2 
page poem in praise of miners. The text is then 
divided into thirteen chapters dealing with ores, 
metals, minerals, antimony, mercury, bismuth, 
sulphur, salt, and saltpeter, with a short sec- 
tion on glassmaking in the last chapter. 

Georg Engelhard von Lohneyss 
Bericht vom Bergkwerck (1617) Printed at 
the author's own press, this work, which 
ranks with Agricola, is among the rarest of 
the early mining books. It was the first 
and only book printed at Zellerfeld, due to 
the destruction of the press and most of 
the first edition during the thirty years war. 
Lohneysen designed the plates, woodcuts and 
initials, employing as engraver of the cuts the 
German Moses Thym. The plates illustrate the 
construction, machinery and work in the mines, 
the processes of metallurgy, etc. Especially 
valuable for giving an accurate description of 
German mining and metallurgical methods at 
the beginning of the XVII century. 

As the mineral resources of the ancient 

mining centers became exhausted, activity 
moved northward into Saxon, Norman and 
Swedish mining centers. In Saxony, the work of 
Agricola helped establish at Freiberg a central 
source of mining and metallurgical knowledge 
and information, later formalized into a definite 
curriculum. Emphasis on observation and 
the sharing of information began to replace 
the secretiveness and mysticism of the earlier 
craftsmen and writers. Agricola's legacy was 
to bring in his many writings a new openess 
that was based upon practical observation, 
with little or no emphasis placed on mystical 
qualities. All writers on geological and 
mineralogical subjects after him, in some 
measure, followed or ignored his example. 

5.0 Physical Properties! 263 ) 

Minerals are physical objects, formed through 
complex processes with in the earth. Each 
mineral species has its own set of physical 
properties that define its existence. For 
example, every species has a standard hardness 
or density that is a physical manifestation of 
its internal crystal-chemical structure. From 
the earliest times these properties were used 
to successfully extract minerals and metals 
from their host rock. As science developed, 
minerals became objects of formal study. In 
an effort to describe their objects, authors 
frequently would mention a minerals physical 
look and feel. Eventually, researches got the 
idea that each mineral species had a set of these 
characteristics that were different from other 
minerals, and in fact could be used to identify 
one mineral type from another. An active effort 
began to test and record the characteristics 
of each mineral type, in order to identify the 
mineral represented in an actual specimen. 
Soon, tables of these relative values of these 
characteristics developed, which in turn led to 
elaborate printed descriptions of the mineral 
species. Mineralogists were trying to place their 
study on a foundation of accuracy. Over a 
succession of trials, they began to develop new, 
ingenious methods to derive the values placed 

[2bS\ puj-thgj. historical information may be found in: 
Werner, Von den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der Fossilien, 1774, 
p. ??-?? [Introduction]. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.1 Color 

in their identification tables. Instruments 
were invented to make repeated tests on 
minerals, and from all the experimentation, not 
unexpectedly, new properties were discovered 
to even more accurately define a mineral 
species. These were, therefore, folded into the 
list of properties that could be used in mineral 

5.1 Color I 264 l 

REWORK: The most obvious property of 
any mineral species is its color. Sometimes 
extremely vibrant as with red crocoite or blue 
azurite, and other times dull, a mineral's 
color can be a key indicator to identifying its 
species. As a property, color was probably 
the first distinguishing characteristic used in 
mineralogy. It is of course a manifestation of 
the interaction between wavelengths of visible 
light with the crystal-chemical composition of 
the mineral as detected by the human eye. 
Because it requires a great deal of theory as 
to how color manifests its presence, the earliest 
studies simply list the color as a characteristic. 
It was not until the nineteenth century, when 
techniques in chemistry developed to develop 
trace elements, that the actual mechanisim for 
coloring could be described. In addition, the 
discovery of radiation and its effect on minerals 

t ' Further historical information may be found in: 
Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte der Physik, 1926, p. 285- 
291. • Albert Johannsen., Manual of petrographic methods, 
1918, p. 309-312. * Christel Meier., Gemma spiritalis. 
Teil I. Miinchen, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1977. 542, [2] p., 
biblio. [Impressive study of theories and ideas about 
gems from ancient times through the Middle Ages and 
Renaissance.] • Kurt Nassau., The physics and chemistry 
of color. Second edition. New York, 2001. [Describes 
coloring factors in a large variety of natural objects 
including minerals.; ISBN 0471391069.] • Ulrich Rath., Zur 
Geschichte der pharmazeutischen Mineralogie. Braunschweig, 
Universitat Braunschweig, 1971. 273 p. [Published as: 
Pharmazeigeschichtlicher Seminar der Technischen Universitat 
Braunschweig, vol. 12. Covers the history of pharmaceutical 
mineralogy.] • Karl Simon., "Contributions to our 

knowledge of the colors of minerals," Mineral Collector, 15 
(1909), no. 11, 165-168 and no. 12, 177-181. [Condensed 
translation by Edgar T. Wherry from the original article 
published in Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, Geologie und 
Paleontologie, Beilage-Band, 26 (1908), 249-295.; it contains 
an excellent review of color studies in the nineteenth 
century] • Sigmund Skard., "The use of color in 
literature. A survey of research," Proceedings of the 
American Philosophical Society, 90 (1946), no. 3, p. 163-243. 

and crystals led to a broader understanding of 
how color happens in a mineral. 

A reference to something early during the 
Islamic science ...I 265 ! 

1728: Du Fay wrote on the the coloring of 
artificial gems ( 1728)— (DSB). 

Color was one of the most prominent phys- 
ical characters used by the great ABRAHAM 
Gottlob Werner in distinguishing one min- 
eral from another. In his Von den dusser- 
lichen Kennzeichen der Fossilien (1774), he 
uses descriptive terms to differeniate the vari- 
ous shades of color he means.! 266 ] He includes 
a folding chart that lists his eight principal col- 
ors together with their subdivisions. Words 
only however can not always convey the color 
meant. The approach was improved upon in 
the works of Werner's students and supporters. 
For example, in Henri Struve's Methode An- 
alytique des Fossiles of 1797, the descriptions 
are backed up with hand-colored plates illus- 
trating the various colors described, together 
with degrees of the various hues. 

The colors of minerals are said to be 
dilute or diffuse when the coloriug substance 
is not recognizable as microscopic inclusions, 
but is in a condition comparable with that of 
a dye dissolved in a liquid. Van't HoffI 267 ! 
has introduced for this state of affairs the 
conception of solid solutions, a view which has 
received universal acceptance. 

A number of the diffusely colored minerals 
are characterized by the great sensitiveness of 
the color toward high temperature, and even 
toward daylight; here belonging smoky quartz, 
amethyst, halite, fluorite, zircon, tourmaline, 
topaz and others. 

As to the chemical character of the 
coloring substances there exists a wide 
difference of opinion. 

The early attempts at explanation were for 
the most part only conjectures being supported 
by few experiments. The great difficulty of 

[265] g Wiedemann., "Uber die Entstehung der Farben 
nach NasTr al-dln al-TusT," Jahrbuch der Photographie und 
Reproduktionstechnik (Halle), 1908, p. 86-89. 
[2bb\ \\r ernel ^ Von den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der Fossilien, 
1774, p. 97-128. 

I 267 ] Van't Hoff, "?????," Zeitschrift fur Physkalische 
Chemie, 1892. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.1 Color 

proving the existence of inorganic substances 
as the coloring principles by analysis led to the 
view that these consisted of unstable organic 
compounds. Schneider.! 268 ] was the first 
to ascribe the colors of the precious stones to 
hydrocarbons, and in 1855 he claimed to have 
established this in the case of colored quartz. 

SENAR MONTI 269 ! artificial coloration of 
strontium nitrate by an extract of logwood 
and other similar experiments appear to have 
promoted the opinion that a large number 
of mineral colors were produced by organic 

Proceeding from this view-point, Levy! 270 ! 
ascribed the green color of emerald to 
hydrocarbons, having proved the existence of 
.09% of carbon and .05% of hydrogen in 
the mineral. Later Fr.iedr.ich WohlerI 271 ! 
showed that the color is to be attributed 
to minute traces of chromium oxide, and 
Hautefeuille and PerreyI 272 ! used this 
compound with success as a coloring agent in 
the artificial production of emeralds. 

1860: Fr.iedr.ich EisenlohrI 273 ! 

Sandber.gerJ 274 ] obtained in the 

decomposition of dark zircon a distinct 
test for copper, and considered the oxide 
of this metal as the coloring substance. 
Further investigations were carried on by 
WyronboffI 275 ! In his work "On the 

coloring substances of fluorite," he showed that 
colored fluorspar, on heating, besides showing 
phosphorescence, suffered a loss of weight, and 
that small amounts of carbon dioxide and water 
could be detected. From this he likewise 
concluded that an organic substance was the 

[268] Schneider, "?????," Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 
96 (1855), p. 282. 

I 269 ! Senarmont, "???," Compt. Rend., 38 (1854?), p. 101.; 

ibid., Annales des Physique., 91 (1854), p. 491. 

[27u\ L eV y 5 "???," Annales des Chemie et Physique, 55 

(1858), p. 5 

[271] priedrich Wohler, "???," Annales des Physique, 122 

(1864), p. 492 

I 272 ] Hautefeuille and Perrey, "???," Compt. Rend., 106 
(1888), p. 1800 

[273] p_ Eisenlohr., "Erklar. des Farbenzerstr. A d. 
Verhaltens d. Lichts in Krystallen," Annalen der Physik, 
109 (1860), 28 p. 

I 274 l Sandberger, "???," Neues Jahrbuch, 1881, p. 258. 
[275] Wyronboff; "???," Bull. Soc. Chim., 5 (1866), p. 334. 

coloring principle. On the other hand Low! 276 ! 
and Moissan and Becquerel! 277 ] found in 
specimens from Wolsendorf and in other deep 
blue varieties free fluorine. 

Henri Becquerel! 278 ] further succeeded 
in coloring previously decolorized fluorite and 
halite, violet and brown upon the surface by 
exposure to cathode rays. This phenomenon 
could certainly not be explained by the theory 
of organic coloring matter. ForsterJ 279 ! 
arrived at results similar to those of Wyronboff; 
upon heating smoky quartz he obtained a liquid 
with empyrenmatic odor and a carbonaceous 
coating, the quartz being decolorized Otto 
Lehmann,! 280 ! Retgers,! 281 ] and 

RosenbuschI 282 ! extended our knowledge of 
organic and inorganic salts diffusely colored 
by organic substances. These studies showed 
that only in exceptional cases are inorganic 
salts colored by organic compounds. Retgers 
believing, however that organic substances 
are to be generally regarded as the causes 
of the colors, with few exceptions. A 

totally different standpoint was taken by 
WeinschenkJ 283 ! He endeavored to piove the 
universally inorganic character of the coloring 
agents, assuming, as in glasses colored by 
metallic oxides, higher or lower, and in part 
hypothetical, oxides for the natural colors. 

hi opposition, L. Wohler and Kraatz- 
KoschlanI 284 ! energetically maintained 

the organic character of the pigments in 
a number of minerals. They proved both 
qualitatively and quantitatively the presence 

I 276 ] Low, "???," Bericht. d. d. Ch. Ges., 14 (1881), p. 


[277] Mcl ssan and Becquerel., "???," Compt. Rend., Ill 

(1890), p. 669. 

I 278 ] Becquerel., "???," Compt. Rend., 101 (1885), p. 205 
[279] porster., "???," Annales des Physique, 143 (1871), p. 

I 28 °] Otto Lehmann., "???," Zeitschrift fur Physikalische 
Chemie, 8 (1891), p. 543. 

I 281 l Retgers., "???," Zeitschrift fur Physikalische Chemie, 12 
(1893), p. 600. 

I 282 l Rosenbusch., "???," Mikrok. Physiogr. d. Mill., 1892, 

p. 210. 

[283] Weinschenk., "???," Zeitschrift fur Anorganische 

Chemie, 12 (1896), p. 375. 

[284] Wohler and Kraatz-Koschlan., "???," Mill, und Petr. 

Mitth., 18 (1899), p. 304, 447. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.1 Color 

of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen in zircon, 
smoky quartz, amethyst, celestite, fluorite, 
apatite, barite, halite, calcite, microcliue 
and topaz, considering the preseuce of an 
organic coloring matter established when the 
mineral on heating yielded an empyreumatic 
odor, gave carbon; dioxide in a current of 
oxygen, and showed phosphorescence during 
the coloration. SpeziaP 85 ! attributed the 
color of brown zircon to a trace of iron an 
inorganic substance at the same time admitting 
the presence of hydrocarbons, and in a second 
paper brought! 286 ] forward further proof of 
the inorganic character of the coloring matter, 
while WeinschenkI 287 ! also adhered to his 
previous views. Wohler and Kraatz Koschlau 
were also opposed by NABL,I 288 1 who had 
suggested iron sulphocyauatc as the coloring 
agent in amethyst; by extended analyses he 
had established the preseuce of sulphur and 

A very voluminous literature exists on the 
subject of blue halite. It has been collected 
with a fair degree of completeness by Focke 
aud BruckmoserJ 289 ! Even in this 

mineral opinions vary as to the organic or 
inorganic character of the coloring matter. 
The fact that the blue color can be produced 
artificially in several different ways has further 
led to different views of the constitution of the 
pigment. Various investigators have succeeded 
in turning salt blue either by sodium vapor or 
by exposure to cathode rays, and this has been 
by some attributed to subhaloides, by others to 
colloidal solutions of the metal. 

Wohler and KasaruowskyI 290 ! have 
defended the view that naturally blue halite 
contains an organic coloring matter. They 
sought for distinctions between the natural and 

I 285 ! Spezia., "???," Neues Jahrbuch, 1877, p. 304. 
I 286 ! Spezia., "???," Neues Jahrbuch, 1900, (2) 344. 
[ 287 1 Weinschenk., "???," Mill, und Petr. Mirth., 19 (1900), 
p. 144. 

I 288 l Nabl., "???," Sitz-Ber. Akad Wiss Wien, 2 (1899); ibid., 
"???," Mill, und Petr. Mirth., 19 (1900), p. 273. 

I 289 l Focke aud Bruckmoser., "???," Mill, und Petr. Mirth., 
25 (1906), p. 43. 

[290] Wohler and Kasaruowsky., "???," Zeitschrift fur 
Anorganische Chemie, 47 (1905), p. 353.; ibid., "???," Mineral 
Collector, 13 (1906), p. 120. 

artificially colored salt, and called particular 
attention to the difference in the temperature 
at which decolorization occurs. Further 

indications of the inorganic character of the 
color were, however, soon brought forward, and 
SlEDENTOPFl 291 ] finally succeeded in deciding 
the uncertainty as to whether it was subhalide 
or metal, in favor of the latter. With the 
aid of a very powerful microscope he found in 
both natural and artificially colored halite the 
same arrangement and optical character of the 

J. KonigsbergerI 292 ! repeated the 

experiments of Wohler and Kraatz. Koschlau 
upon smoky quartz. He established the 
presence of minute quantities of carbon dioxide 
and water, but obtained only one-tenth the 
loss of weight they had found, and attributes 
their higher figures to mechanically held 
moisture. The coloring substance he considered 
as nonvolatile, and therefore thought it by 
no means certain that it was a hydrocarbon. 
He further cited the work of Lenard and 
Klatt,! 293 ! from which it follows that 

thermoluminescence is merely phosphorescence 
accelerated by heat, and can in no case be 
considered a sign of the presence of organic 

Finally Ernst Anton WulfingI 294 ! was 
able to reduce the loss of weight during 
the decolonization of the smoky quartz by 
ignition to .0003 per cent, showing thereby that 
isolation of the coloring matter by distillation 
is not to be thought of. His most exact 
measurements showed, moreover, that the 
optical constants were not noticably influenced 
by the pigments. 

In later years the action of Roentgen, 
cathode, and radium rays upon minerals have 
been extensively investigated. Kunz and 

I 291 ! Siedentopf., "???," Ber. d. deut. Phys. Ges., 3 (1906), 
p. 268. 

I 292 l J. Konigsberger., "???," Mill, mid Petr. Mirth., 19 
(1900), p. 148. 

I 293 l Lenard and Klatt., "???," Annaies des Phys., 15. 
[294] E rns t Anton Wulfing., "Einiges iiber Mineralpig- 
mente," Festschrift H. Rosenbusch, 1906, p. 49-67. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.1 Color 

BaskervilleI 295 ! andLocKHARTl 296 ! studied 
the resulting luminescence. MlETHEl 297 ! 

examined the color changes in precious 
stones produced by radium preparations. 
CrookesI 298 ! observed that the color of a 
diamond embedded in radium bromide changed 
to bluish green He considered possible a 
superficial change into graphite, and a further 
alteration of the color of the entire stone by 
the radiation. In the opinion of the author 
the color change is probably secondary, arising 
from the fluorescence vibrations ptoduced by 
the radium. 

Furthermore at high temperatures decol- 
orized minerals when exposed to radium re- 
sume their color, and it is similar to the orig- 
inal color only-thus zircon treated in this way 
returns brown, amethyst, violet, smoky quartz, 
brown, red, tourmaline, red, rose-topaz, oran- 
gered. This returned color, superinduced by 
the radium rays, disappears in the same way as 
the natural original color, and such recoloring 
is independent of the gas in which the mineral 
may be immersed: finally the nature and state 
of the coloring substance is not known. 

BerthelotI 2 "] showed that amethyst 
decolorized by heating, regains its violet color 
on exposure to radium rays. Quartz and 
glass containing small amounts of manganese 
behaved similarly, and on this account he 
referred the color of the amethyst to a slight 
manganese-content. The color of smoky quartz, 
green fluorite and emerald, not being restored 
by these radiations, he considered the coloring 
agents of these minerals to be organic. 

Observations of the chemical action of 
radium and its decomposition products will no 
doubt contribute toward the explanation of the 
mineral colors at some future date, but yet they 
are not established with sufficient certainty to 
be of use in this connection. 

[z9b\ k u11z anc j Baskerville., "???," Science, new series, 18 
(1903), p. 769.; ibid., "???," Mineral Collector, 11 (1904). 

[ 1 Lockhart., "???," American Journal of Science, 4th 
series, 8 (1905), p. 95. 

[297] Miethe., "???," Anuales des Phys., 19 (1906), p. 633, 

[298] Crookes., "???," Zeitschrift fur Krystallographie, 42 

(1907), p. 315. 

[299] Berthelot., "???," Compt. Rend., 143 (1906), p. 477. 

A paper by KARL Simon! 300 ! offered 
in 1908 a contribution to the knowledge of 
the colors of minerals, contained a variety of 
instructive observations. Cornelio Doelter. 
wrote an entire monograph on the subject 
of color in precious stones, I 301 ! which was 
an enlargement of an article he authored on 
mineral coloring agents in general. I 302 ! 

hi the 19th century the colour of 
minerals was studied from only two points 
of view, namely the absorption of light 
and polychroism. Since then, advances in 
crystallography have made it possible to relate 
the optical properties of minerals to their 
crystallochemical properties. A.E. Fer.SMAN 
(1937) introduced a distinction between: 

1. Idiochromatism, in which the color of the mineral 
depends on its chemical composition and the nature 
of the atomic bonds in the crystal lattice. 

2. Allochromatism, in which the colour of the 
mineral is due to the replacement of certain atoms 
or ions in the lattice by other atoms or ions of 
similar dimensions, or else to the spread of inclusions 
through the lattice. 

3. Pseudochromatism, in which the colour of the 
mineral is due to the dispersion of light by the crystal. 

Coloration may vary slightly with the tem- 
perature of crystallization and the presence of 
foreign substances in the mother liquid. It may 
also change when powerful electrical influences 
(cathode rays, radio activity, ultraviolet rays) 
act upon crystal atoms and ions, to create new 
absorption bands. The resulting colors have 
been the object of many experimental studies, 
particularly by V. Przibram (1927-1953). 

1862 H. Rose., "Ueber blaues Steinsalz" , Zeitschr. d. 
deutsch, geol. Gesell, 14 (1862), p. 4-5. 

[300J K ar | Simon., "Contributions to our knowledge of 
the colors of minerals," Mineral Collector, 15 (1909), no. 
11, 165-168 and no. 12, 177-181. [Condensed translation 
by Edgar T. Wherry from the original article: "Beitrage 
zur Kenntniss der Mineralfarben," Neues Jahrbuch fur 
Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Beilage-Band, 26 
(1908), 249-295.] 

[301j Cornelio Doelter., Die Farben der Mineralien insbeson- 
dere der Edelsteine. Braunschweig, Sammlung Vieweg, 1915, 
96 p., 2 illus. [Reprinted, 1987.] 

[3v2\ Cornelius August Doelter. Uber die Natur der Mineral- 
farben. Wien, 1915. 15 p. [Reprinted from Sitzungsberichte 
der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch- 
Naturwissenschaftliche Classe (Wien).] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.1 Color 

1866 E. Reichert., "Das Steinsalzbergwerk Stassfurt und 

die Vorkommnisse in demselben" , Neues Jahrb., 1866, 

1866 G. Wyrouboff., "Sur les substances colorantes des 

fluorines", Bull. Soc. Chim. Paris, 5 (1866), 334-347. 
1871 A. Forster., "Studien fiber die Farbung der 

Rauchquarze oder sogenannten Rauchtopase" , Pogg. 

Ann., 143 (1871), 173-194. 
1881 Otto Low., "Freies Fluor im Flussspath von Wolsen- 

dorf," Berichte der deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 

14 (1881), p. 1144-1146. 
1885 Edm. Becquerel., "Etude spectrale des corps rendus 

phosphorescents par Paction de la lumiere ou par les 

dicharges ilectriques" , Comptes Rendus, 101 (1885), 


1890 Henri Becquerel et Henri Moissan., "Etude de la 
fluorine de Quinc" , Comptes Rendus, 111 (1890), 660- 

1891 O. Lehmann., "Ueber kiinstliche Farbung ton 
Krystallen", Zeitschr. f phys. Chemie., 8 (1891), 543- 

1896 E. Weinschenk., "Die Farbung der Mineralien", 
Zeitschrift der deutsches geologischen Gesellschaft, 48 
(1896), p. 704-712. 

1896 A. Pelikan., "Ueber den Schichtenbau der Kryslalle" , 
T. M. P. M., 16 (1896-7), 1-64, in particular 46-50. 

1898 K. v. Kraatz-Koschlau und Lothar Wohler., "Die 
natiir lichen Farbungen der Mineralien", T. M. P. M. , 
18 (1898-99), 304-333, 447-468. 

1899 J.G. Koenigsberger., "Ueber die farbende Substanz 
im Rauchquarz" , Tschermaks mineralogische und 
petrographische Mitteilungen, 19 (1899-1900), p. 148- 

1899 Arnold Nabl., "Natiirliche Farbung der Mineralien", 
T. M. P. M., 19 (1899-1900), 273-276. 

1899 Arnold Nabl., "Ueber farbende Bestandteile des 
Amethysten, Citrins und gebrannten Amethysten" , 
Sitzb. Akad. Wiss. Wien., 108 (1899), Abth. II, 48-57. 

1899 E. Weinschenk., "Natiirliche Farbung der Miner- 
alien", T. M. P. M., 19 (1899-1900), p. 144-147. 

1903 Carl Ochsenius., "Blaues Steinsalz" , Centralbl. f 
Min., 1903, 381-383. 

1904 Hans Dudenhausen., "Optische Untersuchungen an 
Flussspath und Steinsalz", Neues Jahrb., 1904 (I), 8- 

1906 Ernst Anton Wulfing., "Einiges iiber Mineralpig- 

mente" (pp. 49-67) in: Festschrift fur Harry Rosen- 

busch. Stuttgart, 1906. 
1906 Fr. Focke and Jos. Bruckmoser., "Ein Beitrag zur 

Kenntniss des blaugefarbten Stein-salzes" , T. M. P. 

M., 25 (1906), 43-60. 

1910 C. Doelter., Das Radium und die Farben. Dresden, 
1910, 133 p. 

1911 R. Brauns., "Die Ursachen der Farbung dilut 
gefarbter Mineralien und die Einfluss von Radi- 
umstrahlen auf die Farbung", Fortschritte der Min., 
Kryst., und Petrog., 1 (1911), 129-140. 

5.1.1 Streak! 303 ! 

REWORK: The streak, or the color of a 
powedered mineral, is usually obtained by 
scratching the mineral on an unglazed porcelain 
streak plate. For some minerals the streak 
and color are the same. For others, the streak 

[303J purthgj- historical information may be found in: Ul- 
rich Rath., Zur Geschichte der pharmazeutischen Mineralo- 
gie. Braunschweig, Universitat Braunschweig, 1971. 273 p. 
[Published as: Pharmazeigeschichtlicher Seminar der Technis- 
chen Universitat Braunschweig, vol. 12. Covers the history of 
pharmaceutical mineralogy] 

may be quite different from the visible color, as 
for example the red-brown streak of hematite, 
which is often a gray to silver-gray mineral 
in hand specimens. For some species, the 
combination of luster, color, and streak are 
enough to permit identification of the mineral. 
In fact streak is a more reliable indication of the 
intrinsic color of a mineral than is its general 
appearance, being less influenced by impurities 
than by the visible color of the mineral itself. 
Apparently using the color of the powdered 
mineral as a means of identification is a very old 
technique, perhaps because powdered minerals 
were used in cosmetics and medicine from a 
very early time. The streak of graphite used 
in modern pencils is, for example, a practical 
application of mineral streak. 

Moore notes that in Pliny's description 
of Morochites that streak is used as a 
diagnostic. I 304 ! Morochites described as 

leek colored, but its streak white-for so the 
words 'lacte sudat' seem by commentators 
generally to be understood- was otherwise 
called moroxus; and hence has Karsten derived 
his name for asparagus stone, which he calls 
moroxiteJ 305 ! This morochites or moroxus 

we have already, when speaking of saline 
substances, found occasion to consider. 

Abraham Gottlob Werner in his 
famous Von den dusserlichen Kennzeichen 
der Fossilien (1774) uses streak as his 
ninth diagnostic tool in his determinative 
mineralogy.! 306 ] From Werner's time forward 
streak is included in mineral descriptions when 
it is appropiate. By the mid- 19 th century, 
virtually every textbook of mineralogy gives a 
description of the property. Suprisingly, only 
a few studies on streak have apparently been 
published in the scientific literature. 

Other possible sources. Check Oxford En- 
glish Dictionary and the Grimm Brothers Dic- 
tionary (Strich) . I 307 ! 

Moore, Ancient Mineralogy, 1834, p. 183. 

Pliny, Book 37, 63. 

Werner, Von den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der Fossilien, 




1774, §167 

1 1 Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm., Deutsches 
Worterbuch. Leipzig, S. Hirzel, 1962-70. 16 vols. [Extensive 
entomological dictionary of the German language, this is a 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.2 Specific Gravity and Density 


1901 Jacques Schroeder van der Kolk., "Ueber die Farbe 
des ausgeriebenen Strichs des Bornits," Centralblatt 
fur Mineralogie, 1901, p. 519. [A note on the streak 
color of bornite.]. 

1901 Jacques Schroeder van der Kolk., "Der Strich 
der sogenannt opaken Miner alien," Centralblatt fur 
Mineralogie, 1901, p. 75-80. [A study on the streak 
of the so-called opaque minerals.]. 

5.2 Specific Gravity and Density! 308 ! 

REWORK: Modern science defines the specific 
gravity or density of a substance to be the 
ratio of its weight in air to its weight in water 
at 4° C. (39.2° F.). In other words, it is 
the ratio of the weight of any fragment of a 
substance to the weight of an equal amount 
of water. The specific gravity of a mineral, 
provided it is pure and free from inclusions 
of solids, liquids, or gases, is a constant 
quantity. In isomorphous series, or in minerals 
whose chemical composition differs in different 
specimens, there is, however, a variation, and 
this serves as a means of separation. 

Specific Gravity or density is a very useful 
feature with which to distinquish minerals 
of different types, and in fact is one of 
the oldest to be used. If two minerals of 
approximately the same size are hefted, it will 
become quickly clear to the observer which of 
them is heavier, and in this way the specific 
gravity of the mineral is being roughly judged. 
The density, or specific gravity, of a solid 
depends, first, upon the nature of the chemical 
substances which it contains, and, second, 
upon the state of molecular aggregation. The 
specific gravity of a mineral species is a 
character of fundamental importance, and is 
highly constant for different specimens of the 
same species, if pure, free from cavities, solid 
inclusions, etc., and if essentially constant in 
composition. In the case of many species, 
however, a greater or less variation exists in the 
chemical composition, and this at once causes a 
variation in specific gravity The different kinds 

reprint of the original 1854-1959 edition, with the original 
title pages.] 

[30s] pother historical information may be found in: 
R. Davies., "Tables of specific gravities", Philosophical 
Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 45 (1748), p. 
416-89. [A long list of specific gravities, with a history to 
the mid-eighteenth century of the subject.] • E. Hoppe., 
Geschichte der Physik, 1926, p. 14-15. 

of garnet illustrate this point; also the various 
minerals intermediate between the tantalate of 
iron (and manganese) and the niobate, varying 
from G. = 73 to G. = 53. 

The ancient mathematician and theorist, 
Archimedes was once presented with a 
problem to determine if an intricate crown was 
made from pure gold or was alloyed with some 
other lesser metal. At the time, the only way 
known to determine if it was pure metal would 
be to melt the object down and test the metal. 
While taking a bath, he noticed that his mass 
displaced a specific volume of water, and he 
made the connection that knowing the exact 
volume of an object in proportion to its weight 
would decisively tell him if the crown was pure 
gold. If it was in fact an alloy, the density 
of the object would be less than that of pure 
metal because the alloying material will have a 
density less than that of gold. Legend records 
that at the moment of discovery Archimedes 
jumped from the tub and ran naked through 
the streets shouting "Eureka!" (in Greek: it 
is found!). Measurement of density became a 
useful tool for determining purity. 

In Book 33 of his Histoire Naturalis, 
Pliny speaks of quicksilver (mercury) being 
the heaviest of all substances, except for gold. 
Using the principal of Archimides, Arabic gem 
merchants of the Dark and Middle Ages relied 
upon specific gravity to determine both the 
type of gemstone (for example, distinguishing 
between ruby and spinel), and uncovering 
imitation stones. I 309 ! Al-BTrunT includes 

careful measurements of the specific gravity of 
the gemstones and minerals he describes.! 310 ] 

In the seventeenth century specific gravity 
was recorded for a large number of objects, 
including minerals and gemstones. In 1603 
Marinus Ghetaldus published a treatise 

[309] Eilhard Wiedemann., "Beitrage zur Geschichte 
der Naturwissenschaften VIII. Uber Bestimmung der 
specifizischen Gewichte," Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch- 
medizinischen Sozietat in Erlangen, 11 (19??), p. 240-257. 
[310J "Wiedemann, E., "Arabische specifische Gewichtsbes- 
timmnungen," Annalen der Physik, 20 (1883), p. 539-541. ■ 
Wiedemann, E., "Uber das al-Berunische Gefass zur spez- 
ifischen Gewichtsbestimmung," Verhandlungen der deutsche 
physikalische Gesellschaft, 10 (1908), p. 339-343. • Wiede- 
mann, E., "Verbreitung der Bestimmungen des spezifischen 
Gewichtes nach al-Beruni," Beitrage 31, Sitzungsbericht Er- 
langen, 45 (1914), p. 31-34. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.2 Specific Gravity and Density 

on the principal of Archimedes, Promotus 
Archimedes I 311 ! that contains a comparision 
that he made between the specific gravities of 
water and eleven other substances. 

The Jesuit, Johannes Baptista Villal- 
PANDUS of Cordova, Spain published his Appa- 
ratus Urbis et Templi Hierosoymitani (Rome, 
1604), in which he exhibits a table of pro- 
portional weights of the seven metals together 
with some other substances. This table was 
reprinted several times. I 312 ! In the col- 

lected works of Francis Bacon a table of 
specific gravities for 78 articles is given in his 
"Tabula Coitionis et Expansionis Materiae" . It 
was probably prepared about 1620, but was 
not published until after its inclusion in his 
works. I 313 ! He preformed his measurements 
by comparing cubes of the measured substance 
against the weight of a cube made of pure gold 
of the same size. 

GHETALDUS table was the basis for 
several other researchers. Edmund Gunter 
mentions the specific gravities of several metals, 
quoting from Ghetaldus in his postumonous 
Description and Use of the Sector (London, 
1626), as does WILLIAM OuGHTRED in the 
Circles of Proportion (1633) , and D. Henrion 
his his Usage du Compas de Proportion (Paris, 

Petitus' L'Usage ou le Moyen de 
Pratiquer par une Regie toutes les Operations 
du Compas de Proportion. Augmentees des 
Tables de la Pesanteur et Grandeur des 
Metaux (Paris, 16?????) gives the proportional 
densities of the seven metals. 

Marinus Mersennus gives a table of 
specific gravities of the metals and some 
other substances in his Cogitata Physico 
Mathematica (Paris, 1644). He calculates pure 
gold to be 100, with other materials given in 
propotion to that number. For example, water 


Title Needed 

1 312 J Joh. Henr. Alstedius., Encyclopaedia Universa. 

Herborn, 1630. 2 vols.; Henry Van Etten., Mathematical 

Recreations. London, ????, which was itself copied into 

other works. 

[313] pj-ancjg Bacon., Historia Densi. London, 1741, 2, p. 


is given the value 5 1/3. 

In 1670, Smethwick, an early member 
of the Royal Society of London, communicated 
the weights of a cubic inch of several different 
substances that are indicated to have been 
measured by a Mr. Reynolds in the Tower 
of London. This seems to have been the 
same Reynolds that published The Secrets of 
the Goldsmith's Art (London, 1676), where 
in several tables show the price of gold and 
si l ver . [3i4] 

The Philosophical Society at Oxford 
conducted experiments into the specific gravity 
of various materials using a hydrostatic 
balance, the results from which were placed in 
a table and published in the Transactions of 
the Philosphical Society of LondonA 315 ^ A 
supplement to this table appeared in 1693. I 316 ! 

Robert Boyle appended a table of 
specific gravities of various bodies to his 
Medicina Hydrostatica (1st ed., London, 1690). 
He used a hydrostatic balance of his own design 
in his experiments. Also, in other of his 
works from time to time he makes reference 
to densities he has measured. Boyle suspected 
that stones contained metallic substances that 
could not be seen, even with the most 
powerful microscopes of the day. To prove 
his hypothesis, he turned to determining the 
specific gravity of various minerals. Boyle 
choose a colorless rock crystal as his normal 
precious stone, to which he would compare the 
density of all other stones. He determined the 
specific gravity by weighing a specimen both 
in air and in water (=1.0), and found that 
rock crystal, had a density 2 2/3 times that of 
water. This result also drew Boyle's attention 
to the long held theory that rock crystal was 
actually some form of very hard ice. Boyle 
believed that he shows conclusively from his 
density measurement that because rock crystal, 
which is harder than ice, is also much more 
dense (rock crystal sinks in water while true 
ice floats) that rock crystal was not some 
form of ice. This conclusion also lead Boyle 

I 314 ! Davies, p. 424-425. 

[315J Musgrave, "???," Transactions of the Philosphical 

Society of London, no. 169 (1684). 

1 316 J John Caswell., "???," Transactions of the Philosphical 
Society of London, no. 199 (1693). 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.2 Specific Gravity and Density 

to the idea that the harder precious stones 
contained metallic particles that might also act 
as a coloring agent to the gem. He found 
that garnets from America were four times 
heavier then water. Thereby he precieved that 
colored precious stones which did not exceed 
the density of rock crystal, were nonetheless 
colored from a metallic substance. Boyle then 
observed that ice made from mineral water 
were not preceptibly heavier than ordinary 
water. Experimenting with opaque stones he 
found similar differences in specific weight, and 
calculated the density of jet at 1.22, white 
marble to be 2.7, magnet at 4.6, hematite 
at 5.7, etc. Atypical of his age, Boyle did 
not entangle himself in the medical virtues 
of stones; however, he did say, that of 
the diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, that 
were carried in rings, never has any medical 
effect been noted, and that many downright 
unbelievable stories have been told. I 317 ' 

In 1699, HOMBERG of the Royal Academy 
of Sciences in Paris read a memoir that 
showed that bodies expand when hot and 
contract when cold. Thereafter, it was quickly 
realized that the specific gravities of the same 
body could change depending on whether the 
measurement was made in summer or winter. 
Homberg actually showed that this change did 
occur by experimenting on several fluids and 
using an insturment he called an Araeometer, 
which consisted of a large vial with a long 
and slender stem from which he could make 
exact measurements. He filled the vial with the 
fluids he wanted to measure and showed that 
depending on the temperature the density of 
the liquid changed. He appended a short table 
to his memoire published that year. I 318 ! 

Appended at the end of John Freind's 
PrtBlectiones ChymictE (London, 1709) are a 
series of tables listing the specific gravities of 
both solid and fluid bodies, made entirely from 
the results of his own experimentation. Davies 
(1748) considers his trials poorly conducted 
with many errors. 

The famous English geologist John 

\i\l\ Robert Boyle., Essay about the Origine and Virtues of 

Gems, London, 1672, p. 80-84. 

[31oJ Homberg., Memoires de Academie des Sciences, 1699. 

Woodward made a great number of experi- 
ments on the specific gravities of minerals and 
other solid bodies, but that remained unpub- 
lished at his death in 1728. Only occassional 
mentions of densities are made in his An At- 
tempt Towards a Natural History of the Fos- 
sils of England (London, 1729). 

The Dutch physicist Peter van Muss- 
CHENBROEK included a large table of spe- 
cific gravities of solids and liquids in his Ele- 
menta Physicce (Leyden, 1734). It was some- 
what expanded in the French translation of the 
work, Essai de Physique (Leyden, 1739). The 
data for the tables was collected from previous 
works, without naming the authors cited. 

A Fellow of the Royal Society, John 
Ellicott had an amazing opportunity in 1745 
to weigh 14 large diamonds. Using the best 
assay scales available, accurate to l/200th of 
a grain, he took the specific gravities of those 
stones. Four of them came from Brazil, while 
the remaing ten were recovered from the East 
Indies. Ellicott sent his results to the Royal 
Society, where they were published in the 
Transactions.^ 31 ^ Due to the large size of 

the stones, and the quality of his equipment, it 
was all the easier to calculate their densities at 
3.51 as compared to the modern 3.511. 

Richard Davies in his "Tables of Specific 
Gravities" combines the results of about two 
dozen authors into a short series of tables 
together with a valuable history of experiments 
on density prior to his paper. I 320 ! 

Abraham Gottlob Werner in his Von 
den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der Fossilien 
recommends an accurate determination of the 
density when it can be obtained, but otherwise 
generally divides the determination of specific 
gravity into five divisions: 1. Supernatant, or 
the mineral floats on water, 2. Light, 3. Not 
remarkably heavy, 4. Heavy, and 5. Very 
heavy. This gross determination he explains 
is learned from long experience of weighing 
specimens by hand. 

The accomplishments of RICHARD KlR- 

I 319 ! John Ellicott., "???," Transactions of the Royal Society, 
1745, no. 476. 

[32v\ Rj cnar d Davies., "Tables of specific gravities", 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 45 

(1748), p. 416-489. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.2 Specific Gravity and Density 

WAN in eighteenth mineralogy were impor- 
tant. In his important Elements of Mineralogy, 
he concentrated on the physical and chemical 
properties of a mineral to determine its place- 
ment in his classification. Although he uti- 
lized all properties available, he did not really 
use crystal form saying: "The variation in the 
forms of crystallized bodies I will not specifi- 
cally examine, especially since I regard them as 
very little details." I 321 ! Specific gravity Kir- 
wan sought to determine exactly, believing that 
it was one of the most accurate properties to 
distinguish one mineral from another. For ref- 
erence, he utilized the information published by 
Mathurin Jacques Brisson in his important 
Pesanteur Specifique des Corps (Paris, 1787), 
which was considered complete and superior to 
all other specific gravity studies. Kirwan in his 
examination used a hydrometer of the form in- 
vented by William Nicholson (see §14.3.2). 

Rene Just Hauy had previously reported 
on the usefulness of the instrument in 
determining the density of minerals, even 
publishing a report on the instrument. I 322 l He 
also used an areometer based on Nicholson's 
design in his evaluation of specfic gravities that 
were incorporated into his mineralogical studies 
and published in his Traite de Mineralogie 

Francois Sulpice Beudant used a 
similar device in determing his densities, which 
he published in his Traite Elementaire De 
Mineralogie (1824). Beudant also published 
a study on the measurement of specific 
gravity. I 323 l He examines the fluctuations in 
the measurements, especially when examining 
varieties of mineral species, and attributes the 
difference to minute cavities in the specimen. 
He suggests grinding the mineral to a powder 

[321] p^i c hard Kirwan., Elements of Mineralogy. London, 

1794, 1, p. 38-42. 

[S2z\ r j Hairy., "Exposition abregee de la theorie sur 

la structure des cristaux," Journal d'Histoire Naturelle, 1 

(1792), p. 159 ff..; ibid., "Exposition abregee de la theorie 

sur la structure des cristaux," Journal de physique, 1793, p. 


^ J F.S. Beudant., "Notice sur la pesanteur specifique 
des corps, consideree comme caractere mineralogique," 
Annales de Chimie et de Physique, 38, p. 398-411.; German 
translation, "Ueber das specifische Gewicht der Korper, 
als Kennzeichen der Mineralien," Annalen der Physik 
(Poggendorff), 14 (1828), p. 474-484. 

before measuring its density to eliminate air 

Other mineralogists of the nineteenth 
century also focused attention on specific 
gravity determination. 

Wilhelm Haidinger (1825),[ 324 1 

In earlier times used of Hessel for 
the pumice stone suggested pulverizing the 
material before making its specific gravity 
determination, are (Leonhard's Taschenbuch 
fur Mineralogie, 1825, II, p. 344), supplies in 
some cases completely surprising, and anyhow 
such results, the very close normal specific 
Weight of the substance to represent would be 
allowed to do. 

Robert Hare (1826),[ 325 l 

Although after OsANN and GlRARD that 
influence of the capillaritiit small fluctuations 
causes, depending on a larger or smaller 
quantity of the cut up mineral is weighed.! 326 ] 

Between 1841 and 1845 HERMANN Kopp 
[??-??] apparently studied the specific gravity 
of bodies with particular enthusiasm. He 
authored papers on the subject of specific 
gravity, I 327 ! as well as a book.! 328 ! 

T. SCHEERER (1846),[ 329 1 

1848: One compares also Gustav Rose's 
paper over the errors with that determination 
of the specific weight of very finely ground 
bodies from which he gives itself that 
those much purify chemical precipitation, not 

[324] Wilhelm Haidinger., "Account of the specific gravity 

of several minerals," Edinburgh Journal of Science, 2 (1825), 

p. 67-74. 

[325] Robert Hare., "On specific gravity," American Journal 

of Science, 11 (1826), p. 121-132.; ibid., "Opinion on 

hydrometers," American Journal of Science, 11 (1826), p. 


[326J Osann and Girard., "???," Archiv fur Mineralogie, 

Geognosie, Bergbau und Hiittenkunde (Kastner), 1 (1829), p. 

58 ff. 

[327J j-[ Kopp., "Ueber die Verhaltnisse zwischen Atom- 

gewicht und specifischen Gewicht bei festen und fliissi- 

gen Korpern," Liebig, Annal, 40 (1841), p. 173-182.; 

ibid., "Uebersicht der Resultate einiger Arbeiten, welche 

Regelmaffigkeiten in den specifische Gewichten und den 

Siedepuncten chemischer Verbindungen behandeln," Erdm. 

Journ. Prak. Chem., 34 (1845), p. 1-36. 

L J Hermann Kopp., Uber das spezifsche Gewicht der 
chemischen Verbindungen. Frankfurt am Mainz, 1841. 
[329J rp^ Scheerer., "Ueber die Bestimmung des specifisen 
Gewichtes von Mineralien," Poggendorff 's Annalen, 67 
(1846), 120.; idem., Journal, pr. Ch., 24 (1846), 139. 

On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.2 Specific Gravity and Density 

however by mechanical cutting up represented 
powders show a higher specifisches weight, 
than such the concerned Conies to bodies in 
the crystallization. Rose finds however, that 
the specific gravity of the powdered mineral 
is significantly different than the unground 
mineral.! 330 ] 

1852: Gustav Adolf KenngottI 331 ! 

1856: Kohlrauach, Praktische Regeln 
zur genaueren Bestimmung des spezifischen 
Gewichtes (Marburg, 1856). 

1856: Uses one however by Miller in 
the years 1856 indicated improvement of this 
apparatus, so giebt giebt-er more exact results; 
the Modification of the same suggested by 
REGNAULT is still more appropriate. 

1856: Also Jenzsch describes in an 
apparatus and a method for more exact 
determination the specific weight. I 332 l 

1858: Hugo Schiff [1834-????] gave 
occasionally remarks over the influence of 
mechanical cutting up of the mass on the 
large one the specific weight, and it found 
by attempts that the latter fills out usually 
more highly, if the mass is finely ground. He 
believes the cause of this feature in one, by 
the attraction of mass caused compression of 
the water at the surface to be able to find the 
weighed body. He described his own method 
for determining specific gravity. I 333 l 

Specific gravity of powdered substances 
was investigated at the end of the 18th century. 
Leslie suggested determing the specific gravity 
by measuring the powdered substance. But 
actually SAY had already described the 
procedure and invented apparatus to make the 

[SSu\ Q us t av R ose , "Ueber die Fehler, welche in der 

Bestimmung des specifischen Gewichtes der Korper 

entstehen, wenn man dieselben im Zustande der feinsten 

Vertheilung wagt," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 73 

(1848), p. 403 & 75 (1848), p. 403. 

[331] Q \ Kenngott., "Verhaltniss zwischen dem Atom- 

gewichte, der Harte und dem specifischen Gewichte 

isomorpher Minerale," Wien, Geol. Jahrb., 3 (1852), Heft 

4, p. 104-116. 

]332J Jenzsch., "Ueber die Bestimung der specifischen 

Gewichte," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 99 (1856), p. 

151 ff. 

[333J j-[ Schiff, "Uber die Bestimmung des specifisches 

Gewicht," Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie., 108 (1858), 

p. 29. 

measurement.! 334 ] In the paper he described 
apparatus and gives a long exercise, but his 
accuracy is never great. That is why KARSTEN 
could not recommend the procedure. I 335 l 

1859: Axel Gadolin indicated a simple 
method, which substantially on application one 
dares with divided daring bar been based, on 
which the sample which can be balanced and 
the weight to be shifted can! 336 ! 

1859: Good remarks over the more exact 
determination of the specific weight gave 
also Schroder in the introduction to his 
paper: I 337 ! 

1859: Gottfried Wilhelm Osann 
[1797-1866] gives a paper on a new method to 
determine the weight. I 338 l 

[ADD all before 1864: Raimondi, Eckfeld 
and Dubois, A. Meyer] 

1863: A similar procedure has Tscher- 
MAK into that Sitzungsberichten der Kais. 
Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Wien, 1863, 
suggested.! 339 ! 

1866: Methods and apparatuses for the 
exact determination of specific weights is indi- 
cated by Scheer er I 340 ! and Marchand. I 341 l 

In 1868, Websky published a system 
of mineral classification based principally on 
the specific gravity of the mineral species. I 342 l 

I 334 l Say., "???," Ann. de Chimie (33, 1797, p. 1 
[335] Karsten., "???," Schweigger's Neuem Jahrbuch, 5, 
1832, p. 408 f. 

[336] a. Gadolin., "Eine einfache Methode zur Bestim- 
mung des Specifischen Gewichte der Mineralien," Annalen 
der Physik (Poggendorff), 106, 1859, p. 215 ff.; See also, 
Sitzungsber. d. W. Ak., 47, p. 11-11. 

[337J Schroder., "Neuere Beitrge zur Volumentheorie" 
AnnaJen der Physik (Poggendorff), 106, 1859. p. 226 ff.; ibid., 
"Die Volumconstitution einiger Mineralien," Jahrbuch fur 
Mineralogie, (1873), 561 & 932; ibid., (1874), 399, etc. 
[338] q/\y_ Osann., "Uber Bestimmungen der specifisches 
Gewicht fester Korper," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 
73, 1848, p. 11-11. ; ibid., "Neue Bestimmungsweise der 
specifische Gewicht fester Korper," Annalen der Physik 
(Poggendorff), 106, 1859, p. 334 ff. 

]339J G U stav von Tschermak, "???," Sitzungsberichten der 
Kais. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Wien, 47 (1863), 292. 

I 340 l Scheerer., "Ill," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 67 

(1866), p. 120. 

I 341 ] Marchand., "???," Journal for prakt. Chemie, 24, p. 


[342] 77 Websky, Die Mineralien nach den fur das specifische 

Gewicht derselben angenommenen und gefunden Werthen. 

Breslau, 1868. 170 p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.3 Cleavage 

It never found wide acceptance, however, 
and today remains a curious book in the 
mineralogical literature. 

1879: V. ThouletI 343 ! 

1880: PisaniI 344 ! 

1881: ThouletI 345 ! 

1881: C. Klein! 346 ! 

In his 1881 dissertation, Viktor Gold- 
SCHMIDT mentions his procedure for obtaining 
the specific gravity. I 347 ! 

In 1882 P. GlSEVlUS published a disserta- 
tion on the subject of specific gravity and its 
determination in minerals. I 348 l In 1885, Gise- 
vius also published a further paper on the sub- 
ject. I 349 ! 

Victor Goldschmidt (1886). I 350 ! 

1886-1888: R. Brauns, Uber die Verwend- 
barkeit des Methylenjodids etc. N. Jahrb. f. 
Min. 1886, II, 72; 1888, I, 263. 

Dolter, Sitzungsber. d. W. Ak., Bd. 85, 
S. 47. 

In the twentieth century other mineralo- 
gists studied mineral densities: 

Earl Berkeley (1907), l 351 ! 

H.E. Merwin (1911),[ 352 1 

[343] v Thoulet., "???," Bull, soc. min., 2 (1878), p. 189. 
[344J p_ pisani.j "Neues Instrument fur Bestimmungen 
der specifisches Gewicht," Zeitschrift fur Krystallographie, 3 
(1880), p. 105. 

[345] Thoulet., "Bestimmung der specifisches Gewichte 
kleiner Mineralfragmenten," Zeitschrift fur Krystallographie, 
4 (1881), p. 421. 
[346] Klein ; " ???] " BuUi soc min ; 4 (1881), p. 149. 

[347J v. Goldschmidt., Verwendbarkeit einer Kaliumquecksil- 
ber-jodidlosung bei mineral. Untersuchungen. Dissertation, 
Heidelberg 1881. Abstracted in, Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, 

1881, Beilageband I, p. 179 ff. 

[34oJ p^ Gj sev j us ^ Beitrage nur Methode der Bestimmung des 
specifisches Gewichts von Mineralien und der mechanischen 
Trennung von Mineralgemengen. Inaug.-Dissertion, Bonn, 

1882. 81 p. [Abstracted in Annalen der Physik, 7 (1883), 
no. 5, p. 325-326, and in Ffesenius' Journal of Analytical 
Chemistry, 23 (1884), no. 1, p. 51. 

[349] p Gisevius., "Methode zur Bestimmung des specifis- 
ches Gewicht," Zeitschrift fur Krystallographie, 8 (1885), p. 

[350] Victor Goldschmidt., "Ueber das specifische Gewicht 
von Mineralien," Verhandlungen Geologischen Reichsanstalt 
(Maybe Verhandlungen der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, 
Wien, 1886, p. 439-445. 

[ 351 J Earl Berkeley., "The more exact determination of 
the densities of crystals," Journal of the Chemical Society, 
London, 91 (1907), p. 56-62. 
[352] pj g_ Merwin., "A method of determining the density 

Friedrich Becke (1911), I 353 ! 
Maurice Billy (1913),[ 354 1 
Edgar B. Wastell (1914)J 355 ] 
A valuable list of the specific gravities of 
minerals that gives minimum and maximum 
values was given by Leonhard J. Spencer. 
in 1927. I 356 ! 

5.3 Cleavage! 357 ! 

Of all the physical characters of a crystal, the 
curious property known as "cleavage" is one 
of the most easily observed. When struck 
with a hammer or pressed with the blade of a 
knife, many crystals separate along molecular 
planes. For example, mica and gypsum may 
be easily split into large sheets of any desired 
thickness. Diamond which crystallizes in the 
form of an octahedron may also be split or 
"cleaved," parallel to each of its eight faces, 
thus forming a smaller octahedron. These 
cleavage planes, which in diamond are very 
pronounced, are often perfectly smooth and 
have a brilliance comparable to the natural 
crystal faces. Noticed by the ancient Indian 
jewelers cleavage was used effectively to help 
shape natural diamond crystals into gemstones. 
Cleavage is also pronounced in many other 
minerals and was probably also known in 

of minerals by means of Rohrbach's solution having a 

standard refractive index," American Journal of Science, 

Series 4, 32 (1911), p. 425-428. 

[353] pj-jedrich Becke., "Das spezifisches Gewichte der 

Tiefengesteine," Min. Petr. Mitt., Neue Folge, 30 (1911), 

p. 475-478. 

[354] Maurice Billy., "Methode simple pour determination 

la densite des poudres minerales," C.R. Acad. Sci., 156 

(1913), p. 1065-1067. 

l 355 J Edgar B. Wastell., "Specific gravity differences," 
Chemical News London, 109 (1914), p. 58. 
[356] Leonhard J. Spencer., "Specific gravities of minerals: 
an index of some recent determinations," Mineralogical 
Magazine, 21 (1927), p. 361-365. 

[357] pother historical information may be found in: 
A. Johnsen., "Die Struktureigenschaften der Kristalle," 
Fortschritte der Mineralogie, Kristallographie und Petrogra- 
phie, 3 (1913), p. 93-140. [In this discussion of structural 
properties of crystals, the section on cleavage begins with a 
short historical introduction.] • M.D. Shappell., "Cleavage 
of ionic minerals," American Mineralogist, 21 (1936), no. 2, 
p. 75-102. [Contains an interesting history to the subject 
in the late 19th and first decades of the 20th century] • 
H. Tertsch., "Zur Frage der Spaltbarkeit," Tschermaks min- 
eralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, ?? (1986), p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.3 Cleavage 

Europe during the Middle Ages, if not earlier. 
Galena, a common ore of lead in central 
Europe, can be easily split parallel to all its 
three pairs of faces and may thus be subdivided 
into small cleavage cubes and undoubtedly 
would have been easily identified by the Middle 
Age miners because of this property. 

Starting in the 17 th century, cleavage 
angles were measured by researchers, and 
although they may have suspected that the 
property occurred because of some internal 
structure of the crystal, aparently all they 
did was record their observations. Robert 
Boyle compared the cleavage of diamond with 
that of rock salt (halite), I 358 ! and Domenico 
GUGLIELMINI recognized that the cleavage 
angle of rock salt was always constant. I 359 l 

Other minerals which showed a good 
cleavage were soon discovered. Antonio 
van Leeuwenhoek found that the interfacial 
angle of the gypsum cleavage on face (111) 
against (100) or (010) was constant at 68° 
(compared to the modern 69° 9 1/2'). I 360 ! 
The common mineral, calcite, which in its 
crystallized form can easily be split along 
molecular planes, quickly became a favorite 
material for cleavage investigations. ERASMUS 
Bartholin was the first to show that the 
interfacial angle of its fragments was always 
constant. In 1669, he measured the angle at 
103° 40'J 361 ] In 1690, Christian Huygens 
measured the angle at 105°, I 362 ! which was 
followed in 1710 by Gabriel de LA Hire's 
measurement of 10 5°. I 363 ! A century later, with 
better instruments, including the reflecting 
goniometer invented in 1809, the angle was 
more exactly measured by Etienne Louis 
Malus in 1810 at 105° 5', I 364 ! by William 

[358] j^ Boyle. , Specimen de Gemmarum Origine. Hamburgi, 


[359] D Guglielmini., Opera Omnia. Genevae, 1719, p. 83. 

[360J j^ van Leeuwenhoek., Arcana Naturae Detecta, 

Delphis Batav., 1695, p. 124. 

]^> 61 J E. Bartholin., Experimenta Crystalli Islandici Disdia- 
clastici. Hafniae, 1669. 

[362] c fjuygens., Traite de la Lumiere. Leiden, 1690. 
[363J q ^ e i a Yiire ., "Observations sur une espece de talc 
qu'on trouve communement proche de Paris au-dessus des 
bancs de pierre de platre," Memoires de l'Academie Royale 
des Sciences, 1710, p. 341-352. 

I 364 ! E.L. Malus., Theorie de la double Reflexion. Paris, 

WOLLASTON in 1812 at 105° 5', I 365 ! and by 
Adolph Theodor Kupffer in 1825 at 105° 
4.5'. I 366 ! 

In the 18 th century during a lengthy 
discussion of fracture in minerals, ABRAHAM 
Gottlob Werner also includes a section 
"On the Form of Fragments" that describes 
the cleavage property. He notes that when 
broken some minerals separate into one of six 
different geometric shapes: cubic, rhomboidal, 
pyramidal, cuneiform, scaly, and tabular.! 367 ! 
He also includes "irregular" as a seventh option, 
which serves as a catch all for those minerals 
that show no distinct cleavage. Although 
Werner observes that the broken fragments 
have a geometrical shape to them, in no way 
does he relate this to a mineral's crystal form. 
In his mind it is simply a mineral diagnostic, 
and from Werner's time forward, cleavage was 
routinely included in the description of those 
minerals that exhibited the property. 

Cleavage was one of the few properties 
available in the 18 th century that reflected 
information about the atomic structure of a 
crystal. For a long time it was implicitly 
recognized that an interrelationship existed 
between the geometrical arrangement of the 
molecules of a mineral and the cleavage 
it exhibits. Theories of crystal structure 
therefore led to attempts to explain cleavage 
while similtaneously research on cleavage 
gave an understanding of crystal structure. 
Nevertheless in spite of attempts to resolve the 
problem, the phenomena of cleavage continued 
as one of great difficulty to fully understand. 

Guglielmini speculated that the cleave 
fragments of calcite represented a primitive 
polyhedra from which the crystals were built. 
Decades later, after his own experimentation, 
Christian F. Westfeld concluded that 
crystals of calcite were formed from a 

1810, p. 98. 

[365] w ^ Wollaston., "On the primitive crystals of 

carbonate of lime, bitter-spar and iron-spar," Philosophical 

Transactions, 1812, p. 159. 

[366J j^ rp Kupffer., Preisschrift iiber genaue Messung der 

Winkel. Berlin, 1825, p. 65. 

[367] A.G. Werner., Von den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der 

Fossilien. Leipzig, 1774, p. 227-230. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.3 Cleavage 

rhombohedral shaped molecule. I 368 ! JoHANN 
G. Gahn who was an expert in blowpipe 
analysis, worked in the 1760's in the laboratory 
of Torbern Olaf Bergman. Together, they 
investigated many minerals and crystals, and 
sometime during that period they found that 
when crystals of Iceland spar (calcite) were 
split along their cleavage planes, the resulting 
fragments could be reduced to smaller and 
smaller rhombohedrons. In 1773, Bergman 
published his findings including observations 
about cleavage.! 369 ] According to Bergman, 
calcite was built from a rhombohedron shaped 
nucleus whose surfaces had angles of 101 1/2° 
and 78 1/2°. These could easily be discovered 
by measuring the cleavage fragments of the 
calcite which Bergman said reflected the shape 
of nucleus. He goes on to explain how the 
hexagonal crystal of calcite can be constructed 
from these smaller rhombohedrons. I 370 ! 

Richard Kirwan suggested that a rela- 
tion exists between magnetism and cohesion in 
1797. I 371 ! He attributed crystallization and 
magnetism to the same physical cause, and the 
parting along cleavage planes as a breaking of 
a bond similar to a magnetic connection. 

In 1784, the property acquired a new 
importance with the researches of the Abbe 
Rene Just Hauy, who was the first to make 
the general observation that all crystals of 
the same substance possess the same cleavage. 
He was led by this observation to develop a 
mathematical theory of crystal structure that 
explained all the known facts, and for the first 
time set mineralogical science as a whole on a 
mathematical foundation. 

"The fundamental idea of my whole theory was suggested 
to me by an observation which I made upon calcareous 
spar in six-sided prisms terminated by two hexagonal faces. 
I had noticed that a crystal of this variety, having been 

[368] CF Westfeld., Mineralogische Abhandlungen. Gottin- 

gen, 1767, p. 50. 

[369] rp^ B er g man-; "Variae crystallorum formae a spata 

ortae," Nova Acta Regiae Societatis Scientiarum Upsaliensis, 

1 (1773), p. 150-155. 

[370] yi. Hooykaas., "Torbern Bergman's crystal theory," 

Lychnos, 1952, p. 21-54. • J. A. Schufle., Torbern Bergman. 

A man before his time. Lawrence, Kansas, Coronado Press, 

1985, p. 328. 

[371] yi. Kirwan., "Thoughts on Magnetism," Transactions 

of the Royal Irish Academy, 7 (1797), p. 177. 

detached by chance from a group, was broken obliquely 
across in such a way that the fracture presented a clean 
surface, having the luster which may be recognized as 
Nature's polish. I then endeavored to obtain from the 
same prism sections in other directions, and after several 
attempts succeeded in obtaining from each side of the 
prism three oblique sections; by new sections parallel 
to the first I removed from the center of the prism a 
rhomboid precisely similar to Iceland spar. Struck with 
this observation, I took other calcareous spars, ... and 
I found in them the same rhomboidal kernel which had 
been yielded by the prism mentioned above. Similar trials 
made upon crystals of several different kinds soft enough 
to be smoothly divided gave me kernels which had other 
shapes, but of which each was invariable in the same kind 
of crystal." I 372 l 

Until that time, cleavage was used only as 
a deterministic property to distinguish one 
mineral species from another. However, Hauy 
for the first time explicitly stated that cleavage 
was intertwined with the molecular structure 
of crystals, and theoretically, its study would 
allow the mineralogist to discover ideas about 
the arrangement of atoms within the crystal 
lattice.! 373 ! Around this central concept 

Hauy developed a comprehensive view of 
mineralogical science, which was ultimately 
published in the important and influential 
Traite de Mineralogie (1801). 

Cleavage was described by Friedrich 
Mohs in his Grundriss der Mineralogie. He 
believed that the property was a remarkable 
phenomenon of inorganic nature, intimately 
related to the mineral species that exhibited 
the property. One infers from his discussion 
that he believed cleavage integral to the crystal 
and was, therefore, a property that would 
continue to be exhibited even if the crystal was 
microscopic in size. I 374 ! 

Francois Sulpice Beudant included a 
description of cleavage in the first edition of his 
own Traite de Mineralogie (1824), and notes 
its presence in those minerals that display the 

[ 372 1 R.J. Hairy., Essai 
crystaux. Paris, 1784, p 

I 373 l R.J. Hairy., Essai 
crystaux. Paris, 1784, p 

d'une theorie sur la structure des 


d'une theorie sur la structure des 


[374] R Mohs., Grundriss der Mineralogie. Berlin, 1822, 1, 
p. 269, 277. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [i200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September i8, 2007 

5.3 Cleavage 

property. I 375 ! He notes that in crystallized 

minerals that the cleavage displayed by the 
interior structure can be totally different than 
the external form, and that the property is 
most prominent in calcite. 

In 1823 Antoine Cesar Becquerel 
studied the electrical current created by some 
crystals when they are pressed or cleaved. I 376 ! 
Similar studies later in the century lead to the 
recognition of piezoelectricity property (§5.7.3). 

In 1835, Moritz Ludwig Frankenheim 
theorized that during the formation of a crystal, 
interruptions in the crystallization process 
could create a layering effect in the molecular 
structure and, thereby, contribute to cleavage 
planes. I 377 ! 

Beginning in 1848, Auguste Bravais 
published a series of papers in which he first 
treated the variety of geometric shapes formed 
by points distributed regularly in space and 
then applied these ideas to crystals, with 
the points representing the centers of gravity 
of the chemical molecules or as points of 
atomic force. I 378 ! Under this approach, 

Bravais developed a method to explain the 
cleavage and external symmetry of crystals as a 
result of the reticular density of the molecules 
inside the crystal. He theorized that cleavage 
occurred most easily parallel to the plan of the 
greatest point density. Using this model he 
calculated relative values for potential planes 
where cleavage occurred and ranked them from 
strongest to weakest. Just how the atoms or 

[375] F g Beudant., Traite de Mineralogie. Paris, 1824, p. 

[376] a.C. Becquerel., "Sur le developpement de l'electri- 
cite par la pression," Annals de Chimie, 22 (1823), p. 
5-34.; German translation, "Von einigen durch Driicken 
und Spalten der Krystalle hervorgebrachten elektrischen 
Erscheinungen," Annalen der Physik (PoggendorfT), 12 
(1828), p. 147-152. 

I 377 ] M.L. Frankenheim., Cohaesion. Breslau, 1835, p. 325. 
[37s[ j^ Bravais., "Les systemes formes par des points 
distributes regulierement sur un plan ou dans l'espace," 
Journal de l'Ecole Polytechnique, 19 (1850), p. 1-128. [The 
paper was presented to the Academy of Sciences on 11 
December 1848. There is an English translation of this 
"work by Amos J. Shaler, On the Systems Formed by Points 
Regularly Distributed on a Plane or in Space published by the 
Crystallographic Society of America, 1949.]; ibid., "Etudes 
cristailographiques," Journal de l'Ecole Polytechnique, 20 
(1851), p. 101-276. The paper was presented to the 
Academy of Sciences on 26 February and 6 August 1849.] 

molecules were arranged within the unit cells 
formed by the space lattice stayed, however, a 
matter of conjecture. Because it was known 
that the symmetry of the crystal was related to 
the pattern of the internal structure, it was not 
a stretch to believe that cleavage also developed 
from the same structural elements. 

When the great German crystallographer 
Leonard Sohncke was developing his own 
theory of spacial points arranged in crystallo- 
graphic patterns, he used his observations of 
cleavage to support his work. An early paper 
described his investigations into the cohaesion 
of crystals of rock salt (halite) along different 
directions.! 379 ] While in his later work he 

thought cleavage depended upon the breaking 
of atomic bonds tangential to where the cohe- 
sion was greatest. I 380 ! The assumption being- 
made that such layers are more strongly held 
together the restult is greater tangentail cohe- 
sion inside the layer while the interlayer con- 
nections are weaker, thus giving rise to cleav- 
age. Judging if Sohncke's application was cor- 
rect required knowledge of the crystal struc- 
ture. Only in 1914 were Peter Paul Ewald 
and WlLHELM Friedrich able to conclude 
that this model was correct after examing the 
structure of pyrite using the newly invented X- 
ray method. I 381 l Johannes Stark took the 
model further by considering crystals in which 
the atoms can be considered as ions. He consid- 
ered cleavage to be the repulsion of similar ions 
located on adjacent planes as they approached 
each other during the shearing process. I 382 l 

In some cases cleavage which is not 
ordinarily observed in a mineral may be 
developed by a sharp blow or by sudden change 
of temperature. Quartz is, for example, usually 
free from obvious cleavage but a quartz crystal 

[379J l_ Sohncke., "Ueber die Cohasion des Steinsalzes in 

krystallographisch verschiedenen Richtungen," Annalen der 

Physik (PoggendorfT), 213 (1869), p. 177-200. 

[3S0J j^ Sohncke., "Ueber Spaltungsflachen und naturliche 

Kristallflachen," Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie, 13 (1887), p. 


[381] p_p E wa }d and W. Friedrich., "Rontgenaufnahmen 

von kubischen Kristallen, insbesondere Pyrit," Annalen der 

Physik, 4 (1914), p. 1183-1184. 

[382] j stark., "Neuere Ansichten fiber die zwischen- und 
innermolekulare Bindung in Kristallen," Jahrbuch der Rad. 
und Elek., 12 (1915), p. 279-296. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.3 Cleavage 

heated and plunged into cold water often 
separates along planes to form both the positive 
(+) and negative (-) rhombohedrons and to the 
prism as well. 

In 1886 Johannes Georg Lehmann 
discusses cleavage and parting planes in various 
minerals, including quartz, I 383 ! while John 
Wesley Judd examined the property in 
quartz specifically. I 384 ! Quartz cleavage 

was also studed in 1890 by Francois Ernest 
Mallard. l 385 l 

Other minerals were investigated as well. 
Alexander Sadebeck treats the property 
in an 1876 paper that covers cleavage shapes, 
the condition of the cleave surface, relationship 
between cleavage and crystal form, and glide 
planes for a number of species. I 386 ! SAMUEL 
P ENFIELD describes the perfect of cleavage of 
topaz in his study of the mineral.! 387 ] The two 
perfect cleavages of calcite and how to obtain 
them were studied by Georges Friedel in 
1902.I 388 ! 

The Italian crystallographer CARLO VI- 
OLA investigated aspects of cleavage in a vari- 
ety of minerals, I 389 ! while Her mann Tertsch 
concentrated his investigation to cleavage ob- 
served in minerals that crystallized in the trig- 
onal and hexagonal system. I 390 ! Many crystals 

[383\ j q Lehmann., "Contractionsrisse an Krystallen," 

Zeitschrift fiir Kristallographie, 11 (1886), p. 608-613.; 

Abstracted in: Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau, 2 (1886), 

no. 11, p. 87. 

[384] J.W. Judd., "On the development of a lamellar 

structure in quartz crystals by mechanical means," 

Mineralogical Magazine, 8 (1888), p. 1-9. 

[385] pg Mallard., "Sur les clivages du quartz," Bulletin 

Societe Mineralogie France, 13 (1890), p. 61-62. 

[386] A Sadebeck., "Uber die Teilbarkeit der Krystalle," 

Schriften des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins fiir Schleswig- 

Holstein (Berlin), 1876, p. 29-47. 

[387J g Penfield., "Zusammensetzungen der Topas. Be- 
ziehung zu physikalische Eigenschaften," Zeitschrift fur 
Kristallographie, 23 (1894), p. 262-271. 

[388] q pj-iedel., "Sur deux clivages de la calcite," Bulletin 
de la Societe Francaise de Mineralogie, 25 (1902), p. 113-115. 
[See also J. Donnay et al., "Various modes of attack in 
crystallographic investigations ," American Mineralogist, 19 
(1934), p. 437-458.] 

[389] q Viola., "Beitrag zur Lehre von der Spaltbarkeit 
der Krystalle," Neues Jahrbuch fiir Mineralogie, 1902, I, p. 

[390] H. Tertsch., "Spaltbarkeit und Structur im trigonalen 
und hexagonalen Systeme," Zeitschrift fiir Kristallographie, 

of this type were exceptional because they did 
not strictly follow Bravais' theory of structure 
and cleavage, and Tertsch records those excep- 
tions he has encountered. 

William Barlow considered the prob- 
lem of the internal structure of crystals from 
the point of view of a physical model, where the 
atoms in a crystal behaved like small spheres 
that packed themselves into as tight a volume 
as possible. I 391 ! After examining the issues 
of packing identical sized spheres or atoms, he 
attempted to model the structure that was cre- 
ated by packing of spheres of different sizes, 
which were probably necessary for the arrange- 
ment of atoms in simple binary chemical com- 
pounds. He accepted that cleavage was a condi- 
tion that broke the atomic bonds between par- 
ticles and used experimental observations of the 
property to strenghten his theoretical model. 

It was becoming clear that a great deal of 
information about the internal arrangement of 
chemcial molecules could be inferred from how 
cleavage developed in crystals. In 1904 a few 
years before X-ray analysis was invented JACOB 
BECKENKAMP wrote on cleavage and molecular 
structure. I 392 ! Years later, after X-ray 

analysis was fully established, he retuned to the 
subject when he presented his theory of atomic 
structure and its relationship to cleavage in 
crystals. I 393 l Now Beckenkamp's treatment 

is a combination of the theories of Sohncke and 

It was in 1912 with the introduction of 
X-ray analysis that the most profound impact 
on understanding the arrangement of atoms in 
minerals. Conversely, the overlay of cleavage 
planes on crystal structures began to be studied 
by mineralogists. Hermann Tertsch looked 
at the question of cleavage and matched the 
property to geometric planes contained in the 

47 (1909), p. 56-74. 

[391] "\y_ Barlow., "A Mechanical Cause of Homogeneity of 
Structure and Symmetry," Proceedings of the Royal Dublin 
Society, new series, 8 (1897), 527-690. 

[J J. Beckenkamp., "Beziehg. der Spaltbarkeit zur 
Molekularstruktur," Zeitschrift fiir Kristallographie, 39 
(1904), 2 p. 

[393] J. Beckenkamp., "Atomanordnung und Spaltbarkeit," 
Zeitschrift fiir Kristallographie, 58 (1923), p. 7-39. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.4 Luminescence 

Bravaisian lattice strucutureJ 394 ] MAURICE 
L. HUGGINS in 1923 matched the observed 
cleavage planes of several minerals to the 
atomic structure derived from their X-ray 
analysis. I 395 l Of the several minerals examined 
there were included diamond and sphalerite. 
He concluded that the new crystal surfaces 
that resulted from cleavage must be electrically 
neutral, that weak atomic bonds would rupture 
in preference to strong bonds, and that when all 
bonds were equally strong, the plane of cleavage 
would break the fewest bonds per unit area. In 
a comprehensive study published in 1936, M.D. 
SHAPPELL explored the reasons that cleavage 
occur in ionic minerals.! 396 ] 

Through out most of the 19 th century, 
cleavage was only included in the description 
of a mineral if the species in question exhibited 
the property. However, in 1892, with the 
publication of the sixth edition of Dana's 
System of Mineralogy by EDWARD SALISBURY 
DANA, cleavage became a standard diagnostic. 
Every mineral Dana listed now included a 
description of its cleavage, even if the species 
did not exhibit one. So influential was the 
sixth edition that every handbook after it that 
gave any meaningful description of minerals 
also includes cleavage as a physical property for 
each of the species. I 397 ! 

Testing Apparatus 

Suprisingly, no attempts were undertaken to 
create a standard measure of a crystals ability 
to cleave until the 20 th century. Through 
out the history of mineralogy, the property 
was given in the description of minerals as 
perfect, distinct, non-distinct, nonexistant, 
etc. It was not until Hermann Tertsch 

[394J H. Tertsch., "Zur Frage der Spaltbarkeit," Tschermaks 

mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, 35 (1921), p. 

13-30.; ibid., "Bemerkungen zur Spaltbarkeit," Zeitschrift 

Fiir Krystallographie, 65 (1927), p. 712-718. 

[395J M L_ Huggins., "Crystal cleavage and crystal 

structure," American Journal of Science, 5th series, 5 (1923), 

p. 303-313. 

[S9b\ jyj j-j Shappell., "Cleavage of ionic minerals," 

American Mineralogist, 21 (1936), no. 2, p. 75-102. [Contains 

an interesting history to the subject in the late 19th and 

first decades of the 20th century] 

[397\ j^ recen t example is contained in John W. Anthony, 

Richard A. Bideaux, et al., Handbook of Mineralogy. 

Tucson, Arizona, 1990-2003. 5 vols. 

in the 1930's that any attempt was made 
to develop a standard method to test the 
cohesion of crystals. I 398 l Using a guillotine- 
like machine that could apply a measured 
pressure along a thin line of a mineral plate 
placed beneath, Tertsch tested the cleavage of 
sample. With this device the same conditions 
could be reproduced on a variety of minerals 
and determine the exact amount of pressure 
required to cause cleavage. However, few other 
researchers followed in his footsteps, I 399 ! and 
the property generally remains a measurement 
of relative values. 

Tertsch's Cleavage Tester. (1930) 

5.4 Luminescence! 400 ] 

[398J jlj Tertsch., "Einfache Kohasionsversuche I," Zeit- 
schrift fiir Kristallograpriie, 74 (1930), p. 476-500.; 
ibid., "Einfache Kohasionsversuche II," Zeitschrift fur 
Kristallographie, 78 (1931), p. 53-75.; ibid., "Einfache 
Kohasionsversuche III," Zeitschrift fiir Kristallographie, 81 
(1932), p. 264-274. 

[S99\ q p renze ] ^ "Cleavage in pyrite," American Miner- 
logist, 52 (1967), p. 994-1005. [Includes a picture of a 
machine similar to Tertsch's to make his measurments of 

[400j pother historical information may be found in: 
M.C. Goldberg and E.R. Weiner., "The science of 
luminescence," (pp. 1-22) in: M.C. Goldberg and E.R. 
Weiner., Luminescence applications in biological, chemical, 
environmental, and hydrological sciences. Denver, ACS 
Symposium Series, 1989. [Gives a short history of 
luminescence.] • E. Harvey, A history of luminescence, 
from earliest times until 1900. Philadelphia, American 
Philosophical Society, 1957. xxiii, [1], 692 p., plates. • 
Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte der Physik, p. 295-301. • 
John Rakovan and Glenn Waychunas., "Luminescence in 
minerals," Mineralogical Record, 27, (Jan., 1996), p. 7-19. • 
W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical crystallography" 
(pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.4 Luminescence 

REWORK: Luminescence is the non-thermal 
emission of visible light by a substance. The 
emission of visible light by minerals in response 
to irradiation by ultraviolet light is a prime 
example. The principal mechanism for most 
types of luminescence is essentially the same, 
that is, the interaction of incident energy with 
electrons in a solid. One of the great scientific 
discoveries of this century is that the electron 
energy levels within an atom can have only 
discrete, specific values; that is, they are 
quantized. Because these energy levels have 
discrete values, the energy differences between 
levels are also quantized, and this provides 
the basis for explaining the mechanisms of 
luminescence in minerals. 

There are numerous varieties of lumines- 
cence. Those produced by exposure to incident 
energy or radiation sources are distinguished 
by the type of incident radiation. Of the var- 
ious types of luminescence two have had the 
greatest use by mineral enthusiasts and pro- 
fessional mineralogists. These are photolumi- 
nescence and cathodoluminescence. The pri- 
mary reason for their popularity is the relative 
ease of producing ultraviolet light (for fluores- 
cence) and an electron beam (for cathodolumi- 
nescence) . 

John Rakovan and Glenn Waychunas., 
"Luminescence in minerals," Mineraiogicai Record, 
27, (Jan., 1996), p. 7-19. 

The detailed summary of some key 
elements in the history of luminescent studies 
in minerals is well presented in the following 
books and reviews: 

Walker G (1985) In: Berry F, Vaughan 
D (eds) Chemical bonding and spectroscopy in 
minerals chemistry. University of Birmingham 

Waychunas, G., "Luminescence, X-Ray 
Emissionand New Spectroscopies," (pp. 638- 

698) in: F.C. Hawthorne, ed., Spectroscopic Methods 
in Mineralogy and Geology. Mineraiogicai Society of 

America, 1989. [Published as part of the series, 

Reviews in Mineralogy, Volume 18.] 

Leonard J. Spencer! 401 ) 

Gorobets B, Portnov A, Rogojine A 
(1995) Radiation Measurements 24: 485-49. 
[electronic resource] 

Nasdala L, Gotze J, Hanchar J, Gaft 
M, Krbetschek M (2004) In: Biran A, 
Lubowitzky E (eds) EMU Notes in Mineralogy, 
Spectroscopic Methods in Mineralogy vol 6, 
Chapter 2, pp 43-91. 

Tarashchan, Arkadii Nikolaevich. (1978) 
Liuminestsentsiia mineralov. [Luminescence of 
minerals]. Kiev, Naukova Dumka, 1978. 296 p., 
illus. (in Russian) A classic, comprehensive 
treatise on luminescence, unfortunately not 
available in English translation, is the book 
Luminescence of Minerals by Tarashchan 
(1978) [DLC QE369.06 T37]. 

Gorobets and Rogojine (2001) Lumines- 
cent Spectra of Minerals, contains a systematic 
compilation of luminescence spectra of miner- 
als and also contains a summarization of the 
main achievements in the field upto 2000. 

A good bibliography is in : Michael 

Gaft and Reiiata Reisfeld., Modern luminescence 
spectroscopy of minerals and materials. Berlin; New 

York, Springer, c2005. xvi, 356 p., illus. 

M. Robbins (1983) The collectors book 
of fluorescent minerals. New York, Van 
Nostrand, 1983. 289 p. 

Cathodoluminescence observations of min- 
erals and gems date back to the early work 
of Crookes (1879), who conducted spectral 
and polarization experiments. The book by 
Marshal (1988) cover its history and applica- 
tions. [402] 

D.R.Vi]., Luminescence of Solids. 1998. XV, 427 

p. : ill. [QC476.5 .L86 1998] 

Nalwa, Hari Singh and L.S. Rohwer., 
Handbook of luminescence, display materials, 
and devices. Stevenson Ranch, Calif., 

American Scientific Publishers, c2003. 3 vols. 

Curie, Daniel., Luminescence in crystals. 
London, Methuen; New York, Wiley, 1963. 
332 p., illus. [535.35 C975, tG2] 

Galanin, M.D., Luminescence of molecules^ 
and crystals. Cambridge, England, Cambridge 

[401] l j Spencer., "Fluorescence of minerals in ultra- 
violet rays," Nat. Hist. Mag (British Mus.), 1 (1928), p. 

[402] Y) J. Marshall., Cathodoluminescence of geological 
materials. Boston, Unwin Hyman, 1988. 146 p. [QE431.5 
.M365 1988] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.4 Luminescence 

International Science Publishing, 1996. 130 p., 
illus. [QC476.5 .G34 1996] 

Leverenz, Humboldt W., An introduction 
to luminescence of solids. New York, 

Dover Publications [1968]. xxii, 569 p., 
illus. [ QC476.5 .L38 1968; "An unabridged 
and corrected republication of the work first 
published in 1950 ... The author has written a 
preface to the Dover edition, and a new Early 
history of luminescence . . . and has replaced the 
periodic chart with a new one."] 

T.C. O'Haver., "The development of 
luminescence spectrometry as an analytical 

tool," Journal of Chemical Education, 55 (1978), p. 423- 


Malley, Marjorie., "Thermodynamics and 

Cold light," Annals of Science, 51 (1994), p. 203- 

224. ['During the late 19th century, interest 
in thermodynamics led to several attempts 
to apply it to the puzzling phenomena of 
phosphorescence and fluorescence. These 

efforts reveal the pervasiveness of heat concepts 
for both experimental and theoretical physics of 
the period.'.] 

5.4.1 Phosphorescence! 403 ! 

REWORK: The oldest known written observa- 
tions on bioluminescent phenomena in nature 
were made in China, dating roughly from 1500 
to 1000 B.C. regarding fireflies and glow-worms; 
however, no effort was directed at understand- 
ing and applying knowledge of such phenomena 
until the full flowering of alchemy in Europe 
during the 16th and 17th centuries. Aristote- 
les' (Greek: ???????) is the first to remark that 
Holzschwamm, sheds of fish the ability have de- 
caying meat to shine in the dark. 

Later still special cases are probably 
communicated, but this characteristic seemed 
to be only with organic bodies. With 

inorganic substances phosphorescence was first 
mentioned in 1612 by La Galla in De 

Phaenomenis into Orbe Lunae, 1612. I 404 ! 

1640: Fortunio Liceti, Litheosphorvs, 
Sive De Lapide Bononiensi, a phosphorescent 
barite is described. A work on the 

phosphorescent stone of Bologna. Kopp says 
that the first chemical preparation known to 
show phosphorescence was a paste made from 
a barite found near Bologna, and that it 
was described in this book. This is the 
most comprehensive 17th century work on the 
subject, and at the same time it is the least 
scientific approach. In the 55 chapters there is a 
detailed account of the various names by which 
the Bolognian stone was known, its discovery, 
the places where it occurred, and an attempt 
at explanation of its luminescence. 

1665: Boyle suggests at least that first of 
Kircher (Mundus subterraneus, 1665, p. 210) 
described sea lights with the observations of the 
Aristoteles in connection of conditions (Phil, 
mentioned above. Trans. 59, p. 450). 

1671: A. Kircher described in detail 
the manufacture of artificial phosphor from the 
Bologian stone. I 405 ! He means, air contains 
a fine vapor, which can be illuminated easily; 
from this vapor aspirate the stone and radiate 
then in the dark one this up-sucked light. 

1698: The first chemical investigation 
of the Bolognian stone, which is however 
incomplete, was made by LuiGl MarsigliI 406 ! 
In the meantime however different were 
"Phosphore " discovered 1676 observed spades 
pool of broadcasting corporations shining the 
vacuous tree in the Quecksilberbarometer 
when vibrating and called the same Merkurial 
phosphorus. I 407 ! Only Hauksbee (f 1713) 

showed that this did not have to do anything 
with phosphorescence.! 408 ] 

Balduin made in 1675 an artificial 
phosphorus of Kalkerde and nitric acid, which 
when it was no longer in contact with air lost 
its phosphoresce, therefore to be hermetically 

[ ' Further historical information may be found in: E. 
Harvey., A history of luminescence, from earliest times until 
1900. Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1957. 
xxiii, [1], 692 p., plates. • Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte 
der Physik, p. 298-301. * W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of 
physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, 
ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 

[404] L a G a n a _ 5 De phaenomenis into orhe lunae. 1612. 

[405] A Kircher, Acre de Magna. 1671, p. 18. 

[406] L Marsigli., Acta Erud., 1698, p. 148. 

I 407 ! Hist. Paris II, p. 202, 1733. 

I 408 ! Hauksbee, Phil. Trans. 1705, No. 303, p. 2129, and 
1706, No. 307, p. 2277, 2327). 


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5.4 Luminescence 

locked kept had. I 409 ! Balduin wanted to 

make gold, the same goal that Brandt had. 
He made a real phosphorus from the urine, 
1669/77. I 41 °] 

Oldenburg (1705) described the lumines- 
cence of fluorite, CaF2, on heating. I 411 l 

Charles-Francois De Cisternai Du 
Fay (1698-1739) rediscovered the observation 
first made by Albertus Magnus that some 
diamonds would shine in the dark. I 412 l hi 1730 
he returned to the subject, phosphorescence, 
with a memoir of great importance in the 
development of his method. he noted 

that some limestones, marbles, and gypsums 
phosphoresced.! 413 ] He also found 

the property with some emeralds and other 
jewels. I 414 l 

Chemists had long been acquainted with 
a few minerals which, like the Bologna stone 
(BaS) and Balduin's hermetic phosphor (CaS), 
glowed after exposure to light. Great mystery 
surrounded these expensive and supposedly 
rare substances. Dufay detested mysteries 
and held as a guiding principle that a given 
physical property, however bizarre, must be 
assumed characteristic of a large class of 
bodies, not of isolated species. He set about 
calcining precious stones, egg and oyster shells, 
animal bones, etc., most of which became 
phosphorescent; indeed, he found that almost 
everything except metals and very hard gems 
could be made to shine like Bologna stones. He 
gave clear recipes for producing the phosphors 
and patiently examined the endless variations 
in their colors and intensities: "How differently 
bodies behave which seemed so similar, and 
how many varieties there are in effects which 
seemed identical!" This line of work ended 
in 1735, with a study of the luminescence 

[409] Baidujnj aurum superius etc. et phos phos-phorus 

hermeticus, 1675). 

I 410 ! Brandt., Miscel. Berolin., I, p. 91. 

[411] Oldenburg, H. (1705). Four sorts of factitious shining 

substances. Philos. Trans. Abr. 3, 345-346. 

I 412 ] Albertus Magnus., Opera. Lyon, II, 4. 

[413] c__p_ Tj u Fay., "Memoire sur un grand nombre de 

phosphores nouveaux," Memoires de VAcademie des Sciences 

(Paris), 1730, p. 524-535. 

[414] p a y_ 5 Memoires de VAcademie des Sciences (Paris). 

Paris, 1734/36, p. 503. 

of gems. Dufay distinguished excitation by 
friction, by heat, and by light, and tried to find 
some general rules of their operation; but the 
phenomena proved altogether too complex, and 
he established little more than that diamonds 
usually can be excited in more ways than lesser 
stones. (DSB) In 1735 Dufay wrote on the 
luminence of diamonds.! 415 ] 

A number of works appeared in the 
18 th century that described phosphorescent 
substances that exhibited the property under 
certain circumstances. I LIFT LANE [1734- 
1807] observed in 1764 that marble was made 
to phosphorescence by an electrical spark. I 416 ! 

Placidus Heinrich (1758-1825) summa- 
rized all the previous investigations imple- 
mented until that time in a large work that 
covered light generation and phosphorescence 
that was published as Die Phosphorescenz der 
Korper (4 vols., 1811-1820). He gives therein a 
sequence of the phosphorescing bodies, of the 
best, the fluor-spar, lime inter etc. up to the 
Marienglas. The first section deals with phos- 
phorescence from light, the second treats ther- 
moluminescence, the third light from plants 
and animals, the fourth, luminescence from me- 
chanical means, and the five light from chemical 
reactions. In 1840 Heinrich made the discovery 
that a phosphorescing body, which had lost its 
phosphorescence by heating regained the abil- 
ity through exposure to a powerful the electri- 
cal spark.! 417 ! 

From V. Grotthuss examines the con- 
ditions, under which the bodies phosphoresce; 
some had this characteristic only in presence 
of oxygen, primarily are that the organic Phos- 
phore. Furthermore he finds that the jets are 
most suitable from blue to deep into the ultra- 
violet. I 418 l V. GrotthuB already dedicated a 
longer investigation in a larger number of work 
E examined. I 419 l 

In 1830 T.J. Pears all observed that col- 

[415] c__p_ J3 U Fay, "Recherches sur la lumiere des 
diamants et de plusieurs autres matieres," Memoires de 
VAcademie des Sciences (Paris), 1735, p. 347-372. 

I 416 ! Lane., Phil. Trans. 56, p. 107. 

I 417 l Pogg. Ann. 49, p. 544. 

[418] Grotthufi., Schweigg. Journ., 3, 1811; 14, p. 133,1815. 

[419] y. GrotthuB., Schweigger to this behavior. Journ. 



On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.4 Luminescence 

orless fluorite could be colored by discharging 
sparks from a Leyden jar against it. I 420 ! 

Heinrich Rose l 421 l 
G.G. Stokes! 422 ! 
Edmond Becquerel! 423 ! 
A. Forster! 424 ! 
A. Forster investigated the ef- 
temperature had on phosphores- 





feet high 
cence.I 425 ! 

In 1874 Daniel Hahn published his dis- 
sertation on the subject on the phosphorescence 
of minerals. I 426 ! 

hi 1859 E. BECQUEREL investigated phos- 
phorescence and his results are summarized in 
a series of papers. I 427 ! of his in summary in La 
lumiere, SA cause et ses effets (1867). In it also 
the experiments are to the proof that the color 
of the phosphorus light with the temperature 

[ UJ T.J. Pearsall., "On the effects of electricity upon 
minerals which are phosphorescent by heat," Journal of 
the Royal Institution, 1 (1830), p. 77-83. • ibid., "Further 
experiments on the communication of phosphorescence 
and colour to bodies by electricity," Journal of the 
Royal Institution, 2 (1830), p. 267-281. • ibid., "Ueber 
die Wirkung der Elektricitat auf die bei Erwarmung 
phosphorescirenden Mineralien," Annalen der Physik, 20 
(1830), p. 252-260. 

[421] j-[ Rose., "Uber die Lichterscheinungen bei der 
Krystallbildung," Annalen der Physik, 35 (1835), p. 481-485, 
52 (1836), 443-464, 585-600, and Ann. de Chim. et Phys., 61 
(1841), p. 288-293. 

[422] q q Stokes., "On the change of refrangibility of 
light," Philsophical Transactions, 142 (1852), p. 463-562 and 
143 (1853), p. 385-396. 

] 42 ^>J E. Becquerel., "Recherches sur divers effets lumineux 
qui resultent de Paction de la lumiere sur les corps" (1st, 
2nd and 3rd Memoires), Ann. de Chim. etPhys., 55 (1859), 
p. 5-119; 57, p. 40-124. 

[424] j^ Forster., "Ueber Darstellung kunstlicher Leucht- 
steine," Mitteilungen der naturforschenden Gesellschaft in 
Bern, 1867, p. 62-131.; ibid., "Ueber Darstellung kunstlicher 
Leuchtsteine," Annalen der Physik, 133 (1868), p. 94-121, 

[425] j^ Forster., "Notiz zur Kenntniss der Phosphorescenz 
durch Temperaturerhohung," Annalen der Physik, 143 
(1871), p. 658-660. 

[426] Y) Hahn., Die Phosphorescenz der Mineralien. Witten- 
berg, 1874. 37 p.; ibid., "Die Phosphorescenz der Miner- 
alien," Zeitschrift fur die Gesammt. Wissenschaften (Berlin), 
9 (1874), p. 1-37, 131-213.; Abstracted English translation, 
"On the phosphorescence of minerals," Edinburgh Geologi- 
cal Society, Transactions, 3 (1880), p. 41-49. 
[427] g Becquerel., "Recherches sur divers effets lumineux 
qui resultent de Paction de la lumiere sur les corps" (1st, 
2nd and 3rd Memoires), Ann. de Chim. et Phys., 55 (1859), 
p. 5-119; 57, p. 40-124. 

varies. Above all crosswise eischen investiga- 
tions interest those from this Bee, which refer 
to the time and "fading away " shining after the 
exposure (L.C., p. 244). He also showed within 
a short time the law of phosphorscening bodes: 
at longer duration it fails perfectly against it. 
Likewise the law that the Phoephoreszenz color 
is less brechbar than the exciting, is only one 
rule, also the exceptions has. 

In the 19th century, Becquerel showed 
that phosphorescence in solids is due to the 
presence of finely dispersed foreign substances. 
Since then, numerous workers have studied the 
luminescence of crystals under the action of 
ultra-violet radiation, cathode rays, X rays and 
a, p and y radiation. He made a detailed 
study of phosphorescence and fluorescence, two 
phenomena with which physicists had long 
been familiar. With a special instrument, the 
'phosphoroscope', he showed that the duration 
of phosphorescence varies from substance to 
substance, and suggested that fluorescence is 
simply phosphores cence of very short duration. 
Subsequent investigations fully proved the 
justice of his view. 

Becquerel designed for his measurements 
his own phosphoroskope, which is still used to 
this day. I 428 ! This led to further improvements 
in the phosphoroskope, particularly by the 
installation of a special engine. Wiedemann in 
order particularly to use as source of light the 
electrical spark, I 429 ! while Lenard designed a 
very simple phosphoroskop.! 430 ! 

It was in the papers mentioned above sev- 
eral times the question was raised, whether the 
phosphorescence occurs substantially by the 
heating up, there also the Eeibung (particu- 
larly with the phosphorus) the phosphorescence 
to excite can. This question decided Kirchhoff 
there occasionally its famous work on the solar 
spectrum (see below) already that phosphoresc- 
ing is not a pure effect of the warmth, but by 
changes in the body is brought out. I 431 ! 

1885: Becquerel E. (1885, 1886) Etude 
spectrale des corps rendus phosphorescents par 

[428] E Becquerel., ?????, p. 249. 

I 429 ! Wiedemann., (Wied. Ann. 84, p. 450, 1888). 

I 43 °] Lenard., (Wied. Ann. 46, p. 634, 1892. 

I 431 ! Kirchhoff., Abh. Berlin, 1861, p. 38). 


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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.4 Luminescence 

Taction de la lumiere ou par des decharges 
electriques. Comptes Rendus Acad. Sci. 
Pr. 101, 205-210. Action du manganese sur 
le pouvoir de phosphorescence du carbonate 
de chaux. 103, 1098-1101. Observations on 
Iceland spar. E. Becquerel (1885), in a study 
of cathode rays, found that when crystals 
were bombarded by cathode rays they became 
coloured and also emitted light. I 432 ' 

Since by all attempts over fluorescence 
and phosphorescence it had shown up that 
the cause of this light sending is not rise in 
temperature, then E. Wiedemann suggested 
for all light sending, which was independent 
of the rise in temperature more or less, to 
the name luminescence and wants, if exposure 
arranged the luminescence, Photolumineszenz 
for designation to then use, according to 
Elektrolumineszenz etc. (Wied. Ann. 34, p. 
446, 1888). 

Goldstein (1894) showed that ultraviolet 
light has the same effect as cathode rays. I 433 ! 

Holtzknecht (1902) showed that X-rays 
produce colouration in various crystals. I 434 l 

The phosphorescence of zinc sulfide under 
X-ray bombardment was discovered in 1903, 
independently by CrookesI 435 ! and Elster & 

hi 1910 the subject was written up in 
Radium and Colour by Doelter in his Radium 
and ColourM 37 ^ 

Rontgen (1921) determined the absorption 
spectra of coloured crystals and also their 
photoconductivity. I 438 l 

[432] Becquerel, E. (1885). Etude spectrale des corps 
rendus phosphorescents par Paction de la lumiere ou par 
les decharges electriques. C. R. Acad. Sci. 101, 205-210. 
[433] Goldstein, E. (1894). Uber die Einwirkung von 
Kathodenstrahlen auf einige Salze. Sitzungsber. K. Preuss. 
Akad. Wiss. Berlin, pp. 937-945. 

I 434 l Holtzknecht, G. (1902). Ueber die Erzeugung von 
Nachfarben durch Rontgenstrahlen. Verh. Dtsch. Phys. 
Ges. 4, 25-28. 

[435] Crooks, W. (1903). The emanations of radium. 
Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. A, li, 405-408. 

I 436 ! Elster, J. & Geitel, H. (1903). Uber die durch ra- 
dioaktive Emanation erregte scintillierende Phosphoreszenz 
der Sidot-Blende. Phys. Z. 4,439-440. 

I 437 ! Doelter, C. (1910). Radium and Colour. Dresden. 

I 438 l Rontgen, W. C. (1921). Uber die Elektrizitatsleitung 
in einigen Kristallen und uber den Einfluss einer 
Bestrahlung darauf. Ann. Phys. (Leipzig), 64, 1-192. 

1956: Przibram published a comprehen- 
sive survey under the title Irradiation Colours 
and Luminescence. 

There are many comprehensive references 
in the literature listing minerals that luminesce: 

HENKEL, G. (1989) The Henkel Glossary 
of Fluorescent Minerals. 

ROBBINS, M. (1994) Fluorescence, Gems 
and Minerals Under Ultraviolet Light. Geo- 
science Press, Inc., Phoenix., 1994. 

1874 Daniel Halm., "Die Phosphorescenz der Mineralien," 
Zeitschr. Gesammt. Naturwiss., 9 (1874), p. 1-37, 
131-213. Abstracted English translation, "On the 
phosphorescence of minerals," Edinburgh Geol. Soc. 
Trans., 3 (1880), p. 41-49. The Bologna Stone! 439 ! 

REWORK: By that time, the philosophical 
and intellectual groundwork that permitted 
a rational and materialistic approach to the 
study of natural phenomena had been laid 
and, in the spirit of times, this approach was 
applied to finding or making the Philosopher's 
Stone, that which would be capable of turning 
"ignoble metals" into gold. Conditions were 
thus ripe for excitement when, in 1602, one 
Vincenzo Casciarolo, a cobbler by trade and 
dilettante alchemist, discovered the " Bolognian 
Phosphorus" on Monte Paderno just outside 
of Bologna. It was this natural stone, 
subsequently referred to also as the " Bolognian 
Stone" or " Litheophosphorus" , that became 
the first object of scientific study of luminescent 

The most complete text on the sub- 
ject of Vincenzo Casciarolo and his stone, 
" Litheosphorus Sive De Lapide Bononiensi" 
(Fig. 2), was written in 1640 by the scholar 
and professor of Philosophy at the University 
of Bologna Fortunius Licetus (1577-1657), of 
which the following is an excerpt in translation 
from the original Latin text: 

"About thirty-six years ago, a stone of this 
type was found in the countryside near Bologna 
by an honest man of humble circumstances who 

[J Further historical information may be found in: 
Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961, 2, p. 334-340. • E. 
Harvey., A history of luminescence, from earliest times until 
1900. Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1957. 
xxiii, [1], 692 p., plates. • E. Hoppe., Geschichte der Physik, 
p. 298-301. 


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5.4 Luminescence 

was given to assiduous pursuit of activity in the 
science of chemistry; he was called Vincenzo 
Casciarolo, and he was of Bolognian origin. 
As asserted by the Excellent Petrus Poterius 
Andegauensis, the illustrious chemist now 
among the Bolognians, in his "Pharmacopea 
Spagirica" , Casciarolo who abandoned his work 
as a cobbler to pursue transformation of 
humbler materials into gold, took the stone 
that he called "solar" to Scipione Begatello, 
an expert in the art of transformation in that 
time. [Casciarolo] sustained that the stone 
was most suitable for the production of gold 
by virtue of its notable weight and content 
of sulphur. After submitting the stone to 
much preparation, it was not the Pluto of 
Aristophanes that resulted; instead, it was 
the Luciferous Stone, which woud not itself 
produce gold, but which would absorb the 
golden light of the sun, like a new Prometheus 
stealing a Celestial Treasure. Casciarolo 
communicated this wonderful and unexplained 
event not only to Begatello, but also to 
the Illustrious Antonio Magino, the excellent 
Professor of Mathematics in this Archiginnasio 
[of the University of Bologna]. Magino gave 
preparations of the stone as a gift of a 
wonderful and unheard-of substance to several 
men of letters and to many others as well. I 
myself, in the company of the Illustrious Carolo 
Antonio Mangino, Bolognian philosopher, have 
seen many stones made of this substance, 
whether in their natural or calcinated form, 
whole or fragmented, alone or in mixture 
with albumin. With diligent observation, 
again and again I have seen the conception 
of the light of the Sun, the glowing in the 
darkness, and the spontaneous extinction. I 
went with the Illustrious Ovidio Montalbano, 
noble interpreter of the mathematical arts in 
our Palladium [University of Bologna], and 
with Carolo Antonio Mangino, Philosopher, to 
Monte Paderno, the place of origin of the stone, 
and the surrounding valleys, and I collected 
many stones of this substance made, most 
suitable for producing light" . 

The rudimental alchemistic approaches of 
the cobbler Casciarolo led, by a process of 
heating and calcination of the stone, to the 
discovery of its mysterious and magical ability 

to " accumulate" light when exposed to the sun 
and to emit it in the darkness. 

The recipe and method of preparation of 
the Bolognian Stone were kept secret only 
briefly, the first detailed description on the 
methods being published in 1625 by Pierre 
Potier (Poterius), physician to the King of 
France, in his "Pharmacopea Spagirica", a 
treatise on inorganic remedies based on the 
teachings of Paracelsus. Potier lived for some 
time in Bologna, and he was able to give an 
acceptable interpretation of the discovery. 

Casciarolo showed his "lapis Solaris" to 
many learned men of the time, and there was 
widespread interest in Italy despite the fact 
that attempts to use it as the "Philosopher's 
Stone" were unsuccessful. Galileo Galilei 
(1564-1642) participated in scientific debate 
regarding the stone, and he also presented it to 
Giulio Cesare La Galla (1576-1624), professor 
of Philosophy of the Collegio Romano who first 
reported this phenomenon in the book "De 
Phenomenis in Orbe Lunae" (Venice, 1612). La 
Galla asserted that the untreated stone was not 
able to emit light, but that it acquired this 
property only after calcination. He explained 
this phenomenon, as related to him by Galileo, 
as a certain quantity of fire and light to 
which the stone was exposed being trapped 
in the stone and then slowly released from it, 
comparing its absorption to that of water by a 

Subsequently, Ovidio Montalbani (1601- 
1671), professor of Astronomy and Mathemat- 
ics at the University of Bologna, published a 
brief report, "De Illuminabili Lapide Bonon- 
iensi Epistola" (1634), in which he gave a dis- 
sertion on the various colors of light that could 
be obtained from the stone, and was the first 
to suggest that the light resulted from a kind 
of burning. As mentioned above, the most 
important and comprehensive contribution to 
the subject was given by Fortunius Licetus 
(15771657) in his lengthy (280 pages) treatise 
of 1640, " Litheosphorus Sive De Lapide Bonon- 
iensi" . His approach was detailed and very en- 
thusiastic, so much so that publication of the 
book led to a famous controversy between him- 
self and Galileo Galilei: whereas Licetus sus- 
tained that the faint light of a crescent moon 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.4 Luminescence 

was produced by phosphorescence similar to 
that of the Bolognian Stone, Galileo believed 
that it was a reflection of sunlight from the 
Earth to the Moon. The debate extended 
throughout Europe, aided by the fact that the 
Bolognian Stone was included in Pierre Potier's 
widely used "Pharmacopea Spagirica" (1425), 
where it was mentioned for its presumptive de- 
pilatory properties. 

This use of the stone was noted by French 
and German physicians and pharmacologists 
until the 18th century. Another important 
European contributor to the study of the stone 
was given by Athanasius Kircher of Fulda 
(1601-1680) who, during his sojourn in Rome, 
wrote two books on the subject, "Magnes 
Sive De Arte Magnetica" (1435) and "Ars 
Magna Lucis Et Umbrae" (1646). To Kircher, 
the ability of phosphorus to attract light was 
similar to that of a magnet for iron, and his 
studies led him to believe that the material was 
made porous by calcination, thereby holding 
the subtle vapors of air suffused with light in 
its pores. 

John Evelyn (1620-1706) was one of the 
first Englishmen to learn of the stone during 
his visit to Bologna in 1645. Although 
he apparently observed the luminescence, 
confirming that it occurred with various colors 
of light, he did not take any samples back 
to England because, as was reported in 
the " Philosophical Transactions of the Royal 
Society" in 1666, the recipe for the preparation 
of the stone had apparently been lost. The 
most important contribution of the mid- 17th 
century to understanding of the phenomenon 
came from Nicola Zucchi (1586-1670), a 
professor of Mathematics at the University of 
Rome. In 1652 he reported in his book "Optica 
Philosophia" that the more intense the light to 
which the Bolognian Stone was exposed, the 
more strongly it luminesced, and also that the 
color of the light emitted by the stone was the 
same regardless of whether it was exposed to 
white light or that passed through red, yellow 
or green glass. From this he concluded that the 
light is not merely absorbed as such. 

Although his experiment was very impor- 
tant, it was not repeated until almost a cen- 
tury later when, in 1728, a group of scientists 

in Bologna led by Francesco Maria Zanotti re- 
newed the study of phosphorus, arriving, how- 
ever, at an interpretation that was entirely dif- 
ferent from the one commonly held at the time. 
In his experiments with the Bolognian Stone 
Zanotti showed that it did not soak up the light 
like a sponge but that the light coming from the 
stone was its own. 

They essentially repeated Zucchi 's exper- 
iment, aided by Count Luigi Ferdinando Mar- 
sigli, Bolognian naturalist and mathematician. 

In 1691, Marsigli wrote "Del fosforo 
minerale e sia della pietra Bolognese" and 
dedicated it to his English colleague Robert 
Boyle, who unfortunately died before he was 
able to read it; because of Boyle untimely 
death, the work was put aside and not 
published until 1698. Several decades later, 
Count Camillo Galvani wrote in his tract " Sulla 
pietra fosforica del bolognese" (1780): 

Many other prominent men searched for 
the Bolognian Stone or visited Monte Paderno, 
among them Goethe in 1786. Today we have 
a vastly more comprehensive understanding 
of the Bolognian Stone and its ability to 
luminesce. We know it is made of barite 
(barium sulphate) in the form of heavy silvery 
concretions with fibrous radial formations that 
widen toward the periphery of the stone. 

The phenonenon discovered by Casciarolo 
was the first recorded observation of inorganic 
phosphorescence. In these earlien times, the 
scientific dimensions of studies were often 
tinged with a magical quality that has, perhaps 
unfortunately, now largely disappeared. Even 
in the popular mind, this discovery was 
perceived as wondrous and momentous, and 
awareness of the stone was so common that 
in Bologna it was even employed in satire, as 
a metaphor for the splendor of the reigning 

I have had the good fortune of being born 
and raised in Bologna, and I still remember 
when, as a young student charmed by magical 
aspect of studying minerals and chemicals, I 
ventured along the path taken by Casciarolo, 
over the Calanques of the Colli bolognesi 
(Bolognian Hills) to Monte (Mount) Paderno, 
less than three miles from the center of 
Bologna. I can still remember the excitement 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
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5.4 Luminescence 

I felt when I found my first Bolognian Stone, 
a piece about the size of an orange, which still 
has a place of honor in my collection. 

When my friend and colleague Anthony 
Campbell of the University of Cardiff (Wales), 
who has a passionate interest in Natural 
History, recently came to Bologna to give a 
series of lectures I was more than happy to 
accomodate his request that I accompany him 
to the same area around Monte Paderno to 
look for the Bolognian Stone. Although we 
were not successful in this regard, we did 
found or perhaps, refound, the enthusiasm and 
excitement of our earliest days of scientific 
exploration. It was great fun! 

Almost four hundred years have passed 
since the discovery of the Bologna Stone. Since 
then, the earlier occult studies, filtered by 
illuministic rigor, have given way to a modern 
scientific approach that has produced a vastly 
greater knowledge of luminescent phenomena, 
including recent acquisitions in the fields of 
bioluminescence and in genetic manipulation. 

Nonetheless, the phenomenon of lumines- 
cence remains a fascinating field of study that 
still has a magical quality, at least for those 
of us who remain young at heart. We of the 
University of Bologna are proud of its history; 
indeed, in its more than nine hundred years of 
existence many other chapters have been writ- 
ten in the history of science. 

We would like to extend an invitation to all 
who are interested in these fascinating stories 
to visit the University and the city of Bologna. 

5.4.2 Fluorescence! 440 ! 

REWORK: Fluorescence was first observed by 
Kircher (1601-1680) at a solution (Tinktur) 
of the wood specified by the inhabitants of 
Mexico Tlapazalli (lignum nephriticum), which 
translucently knows, in the reflected light 

[44UJ pother historical information may be found in: E. 
Harvey., A history of luminescence, from earliest times until 
1900. Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1957. 
xxiii, [1], 692 p., plates. • Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte 
der Physik, p. 295-298. * Fred W.D. Rost., "Chapter 
18. The history of fluorescence microscopy," (2, pp. 183- 
195) in: Fluorescence microscopy. New York, 1995. [Deals 
mostly with 20th century applications.] • W.A. Wooster., 
"Brief history of physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: 
J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New 
York, Elsevier, 1990. 

appeared blue. Naturally, " Kircher saw also 
still many other miracle things to it, but to 
supply the explanation he did not hold its 
promise (acre magna lucis umbrae, 1671, et p. 

Boyle took up this discovery, stated 
that she looks reflecting blue translucently 
gold-yellow. It compares this feature with 
probably the remark made first by Harriot 
that goldbeater's skin is transparent, but then 
appears green blue (Epist. ad Kepler, 235, 
1607), and explain to pass the thing by it 
that these bodies would have the characteristic 
to back-throw individual kinds of light others; 
that was also Newton's theory (Exper. et cons, 
de col. Ill, No. 9 and 10, 1663). 

More than 100 years no more obersvations 
were apparently made. Wish determined the 
feature at the same Tinktur again, only it calls 
the colors blue and red; with Safran he wants to 
have seen yellow red and green, and/or. It filled 
a prism with Indigo, then red was absorbed, 
that reflected Light appeared blue white (verse, 
and Beob. over the colors, 1792). 

Again later Brewster the feature at sulfur- 
sour Chinin showed 50 years, by throwing a 
cone of sunlight into a Glastrog filled with it 
by a lens; this cone shone sky-blue, while the 
let through light appeared white. Chlorophyll, 
which already of wish was examined, gave 
blood-red cone, translucently brownish-red; 
Kurkumatinktur supplies becomes green to 
cone, translucently yellow-brown; Fluor-spar: 
Cone violet-blue, translucently knows. It called 
the procedure internal Eeflexion " (Eep. OF 
roasted. Assoc. 1888, p. 10, and Edinb. Trans. 
12, p. 542, 1846). 

Herschel called the feature epipolische 
dispersion " (Phil. Trans. 1845, p. 143). In 
a very detailed work, which proceeded from 
the fluor-spar, Stokes (1819-1903) particularly 
examined conditions at Chininlosung and 
called this characteristic fluorescence (Phil. 
Trans. 1852, p. 463). He observed also 
first the difference whether one observes the 
reflected light by a body, or whether one lets 
the light pass through before the Eeflexion 
by the body. Then it examined fluorescence 
with the Spektralfarben and found that the 
jets of largest Brechbarkeit, particularly the 


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5.4 Luminescence 

ultraviolet jets, which produce fluorescence. 
It expresses the general sentence: In the 
fluorescence light the Brechbarkeit is smaller 
than in the light producing fluorescence. 
It divides the spectrum produced on a 
Fluoreszenzschirm by view by means of one 
prisms turned around 90° into two parts (Pogg. 
Ann., Ergb. 4, p. 188, 1853). 

Hagenbach (1833-1910), the 36 substances 
examined, confirmed the Stokesschen sentence 
and found the brightness maxima of the 
fluorescence light (Pogg. Ann. 141, p. 248, 
1870; 146, p. 66, 282, 375, 508, 1872). 

Against the fact Lommel showed that 
there are also exceptions of the Stokesschen 
sentence (ib. 143, p. 30, 1871; 159, p. 514, 
1876; 160, p. 75, 1872; Wied. Ann. 3, p. 113, 

Lallemand (18161886) found from it in 
such a way designated ISO-chromatic 
fluorescence (Journ. D. Physical 5, p. 829). 
Due to these experimental results Lommel 
developed then its theory of the absorption 
and fluorescence, whereby he understands the 
absorption as a kind Eesonanzerscheinung, 
after which the fluorescence light of in such 
a way changes swinging atoms is sent (Wied. 
Ann. 3, p. 251). Those are thoughts, 
which remind Euler (see above) lively of the 
conceptions of L. Whereupon Lommel creates 
then its theory of the normal and abnormal 
dispersion (ib., p. 889), which it against 
different on seized defended. It participates 
from interest that he can harmonize its formula 
also with the Helmholtz one. 

Helmholtz had derived from the motion 
equation of the ether and the resonant atoms 
as feed back control systems the dispersion 
equation, which Eechnung quite laborious by 
the necessary regulation of four constants 

Lonimel showed now that one actually 
gets along with one Naherungsformel and two 
constants for all m rmal dispersing media (ib. 
8, p. 628, 1880). 

The work of Sellmeyer and helmet Helm- 
holtz arranged chaining eggs to develop its 
dispersion theory also in such a way now that it 
also contained the abnormal dispersion (Wied. 
Ann. 7, p. 608, 1880). It had however already 

shown up that also with Adsoptionsstreifen 
with some approximation the simple formula 
is still sufficient (S. Wiillner, Wied. Ann. 17, 
p. 580, 1882). 

That also for gases (spec. Air) dispersion 
to find is, is recognized only late. Mail intended 
first only the Brechungskoeffizienten for white 

After Euler the refraction of light in the 
atmosphere as a function of the temperature 
and/ or on the tightness had already computed 
(Mem. Berlin 1754, p. ), the Brechungsko- 
effizient is again certain 631 by Delambre 
(Laplace, Mec. eel. 4, p. 237, 1805) from 
atronomischen observations. By compression of 
air Biot and Arago (Mem observed. Of Paris 
7, p. 301, 1806) and found the relationship be- 
tween Brechungskoeffizienten and density ex- 
pressed const by the equation (n 1) /d =. 

Only chaining eggs took these attempts by 
observation with min see Interferentialrefrak- 
tometer (see above) and determined thereby n 
iur the woman yard see lines on three places 
exactly (Pogg. Ann. 124, p. 390, 1865). 

Kind of MASK works likewise with inter- 
ference and intends the Brechungskoeffizienten 
for the D-line and four cadmium lines (Ann. 
de l'ec. standard. 6, p. 9, 1877). Again with 
apparatus sees min working Chappuis and find 
Eiviere and (n 1) /d really constantly (Ann. de 
Chim. et de physical ones, Ser. 6, 15, 1888). 

Benoit (1844-1922) observes the depen- 
dence on the temperature (Journ in Newton's 
a gene, de physical ones 8, p. 451, 1889). In 
extremely careful investigation with a Eowland- 
schen Konkavgitter Kayser and Eunge have the 
dispersion of air as a function of the wavelength 
intended for the lines A to U of the Fraunhofer- 
schen designation (Wied. Ann. 50, p. 293, 
1893). It was shown with the fact that one 
does not get along here with two members of 
the Cauchysehen formula, but only with three 
constants agreement between observation and 
formula to manufacture can. 

The investigation of the dispersion had 
referred up to then only to the visible 
spectrum; it was however probably tried with 
the fluorescent substances to make it usable 
also for ultraviolet light but within the range of 
the infrared jets was only for quartz by Mouton 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.5 Hardness 

(C.R. 1879, p. 1078, 1189) and for rock salt of 
Langley (Wied. Ann. 22, p. 598, 1884) a Eeihe 
implemented by dispersion measurements. 

Only Rubens measured the dispersion of 
infrared jets by extraordinarily elegant method 
(Wied. Ann. 45, p. 238, 1892). This work 
was in repeated relationship starting point for 
later investigations, which lie outside of the 
framework of this book. 

The existence of ultraviolet (UV) light, 
and the phenomenon of fluorescence were 
first recognized in the early nineteenth-century 
from the observation that when light was 
dispersed by a prism, the region beyond 
the farthest violet visible light could darken 
photosensitive silver salts and cause minerals 
and other substances to luminesce. The 
term "fluorescence," coined by George G. 
Stokes in 1852, was .derived from the 
behavior of fluorite when exposed to UV light. 
Early observations of fluorescence required 
cumbersome arrangements of sunlight, window 
shades, and prisms in darkened rooms, so that 
only the most intense examples of fluorescence, 
produced by UV wavelengths closest to those 
of visible light, could be detected. Other 
early observations were made with radiation 
from radium salts, burning magnesium metal, 
or electric arc lamps, often involving a great 
deal of heat, light, smoke, noise, or danger to 
the participants. One of the first published 
studies of fluorescent minerals was by Kunz 
and Baskerville (1903), who examined the 
luminescence of gems and gem minerals in the 
Morgan collection of the American Museum of 
Natural History. They employed radium, X- 
ray "Roentgen rays," and an electrical spark 
between iron electrodes. Later, when UV 
lamps came into common use, observation of 
fluorescence became much easier and more 
convenient. Spencer (1929), Harvey (1957), 
and Robbins (1983) give accounts of some of 
these early observations. 

Spencer (1929) 

Harvey (1957) 

Robbins (1983) 

Liebisch., Fluorescence in ultra-violet 
light; , Ber. Ak. VViss., 229, 1912. 

5.5 Hardness! 441 ! 

REWORK: Hardness is defined as the resis- 
tance of a smooth surface of a mineral to abra- 
sion, while the degree of hardness is determined 
by observing the comparative ease or difficulty 
with which one mineral is scratched by another, 
or a file or a knife. Within the realm of min- 
erals, there are all grades of hardness, from 
talc, impressible by the finger-nail, to the dia- 
mond, hardest of all natural substances. Mea- 
surements of hardness are extremely useful in 
the determination of mineral species. Unfortu- 
nately, hardness is a very vague concept, and 
what we, in fact, do when we try to measure it, 
is to measure a complex of such diverse prop- 
erties as elasticity, malleability, toughness, vis- 
cosity, etc. 

The cohesion strength of crystals was 
not the subject of many early scientific 
investigations and it is still suprising that there 
have been relatively few observations in the 
early literature about the hardness of minerals. 
Fromt eh earliest experiments, optical, thermal, 
magnetic and electrical features of crystals were 
well studied and theorized about but ideas on 
the hardness are noticeablly lacking. This is 
particularly odd since observations on hardness 
could be performed with less difficulty than 
most other physical properties. 

That gemstones and other minerals were of 
differing hardness must surely have been known 
since the earliest times and as a mineralogical 
science developed authors would note that 
one mineral was harder than another mineral. 

I 441 ] Further historical information may be found in: 
Ulrich Burchard., "The sclerometer and the determination 
of the hardness of minerals," Mineralogical Record, 35 
(2004), p. 109-120. • William J. Grailich and F. 
Pekarek, "Der Sklerometer, ein Apparat zur genaueren 
Messung der Harte der Krystalle," Sitzungsberichte der 
Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch- 
Naturwissenschaftliche Classe (Wien), 13 (1854), p. 410-436. 
• Frederic Hugueny. , Recherches experimentales sur la durete 
des corps. Paris and Strasbourg, Gauthier-Villars, 1865. 
vii, [1], 109 p., 6 plates. • Albrecht Schrauf., Lehrbuch 
der physikalischen Mineralogie. Leipzig, 1866, 1, p. 61-70. • 
H. Tertsch, Geheimnis der Kristallwelt, 1947, p. 206-211. • 
Isaac Todhunter., A history of the theory of elasticity and 
of the strength of materials. From Galilei to Lord Kelvin. 
London, 1886-93. 3 vols, xiv, [2], 936 p.; xii, [2], 762 p.; 
[4], 546 p. • Samuel Robinson Williams., Hardness and 
hardness measurements. Cleveland, The American Society 
for Metals, 1942. [8], 558 p. ["Bibliography on hardness," 
p. [463J-546.] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.5 Hardness 

Diamond was clearly known for its hardness 
as its ancient name (adamant=???) clearly 
defines. The relative hardness of other stones 
was implicitly known by the miners, stone 
masons and ancient jewelers if not explicitly 
recorded. This is attested to by the fact that 
early works of art and utility were carved from 
rock crystal, and other precious stones. 

In 1546, Agricola recognized that 
hardness could be one of the properties used 
to distinguish metals and minerals, but did not 
persue the subject further. Instead, the first 
scientific approach to hardness was presented 
by the physicists. 

Petr.o van Musschenbroek Musschen- 
broek concludes his Physicae Experimentales 
ei Geometricae Dissertationes (Leyden, 1729) 
with a chapter entitled: "Tentarnen de cor- 
ponim Duritia" (p. 668-672), that portion of 
his work (Introductio ad Cohaerentiam corpo- 
rum firmorwn) to which we have referred in 
our Art 28*. His method, of which he speaks 
very diffidently, was to count the number of 
the blows of a mass swung like the bob of a 
pendulum which are required in order to drive 
a chisel through a slab of definite thickness of 
the given material. He supposes that the num- 
ber of blows divided by the specific gravity of 
the material may be taken as a measure of its 
hardness. He tested in this way the hardness 
of a great number of specimens of wood and of 
some of the more usual metals. He gives the fol- 
lowing ascending order of hardness for metals: 
lead, tin, copper, Dutch silver of small value, 
gold, brass, Swedish iron. Obviously Musschen- 
broek's definition of hardness would involve ab- 
solute strength rather than set. 

Petro van Musschenbroek thought he 
was measuring hardness when he counted the 
number of blows necessary to drive a chisel 
through a given thickness of the material to 
be tested, and divided this number by the 
specific gravity of the material. I 442 l In 

this fashion Musschenbroeck measured the 

[442J p van Musschenbroeck., Physicae Experimentales, et 
Geometricae, de Magnete, Tuborum Capillarium Vitreorumque 
Speculorum Attractione, Magnitudine Terrae, Cohaerentia 
Corporum Firmorum Dissertationes. Lugdum Batavorum, S. 
Luchtmans, 1729. Chapter 10 of section, "Introductio ad 
cohaerentiam firmorum," pages 431-672. 

hardness of a large number of woods and of 
the common metals. His metals were arranged 
in ascending order of hardness as follows; lead, 
tin, copper, Dutch silver, gold, brass and 
Swedish iron. Musschenbroek in his Introductio 
ad Philosophiam Naturalem (1762) has in the 
first volume a chapter Cap. XVI. De Corpore 
Duro, Fragili, Molli, Flexibili, Elastico that 
describes durability, fragibility, flexibilty, and 
elasticity. But the concept of an absolute 
hardness is still not clear. Here are described 
only relative values. 

Anselmus Boetius de Boodt [1550- 
1632] in his book Gemmarum et Lapidum His- 
toria (1609) presents one of the most important 
mineralogical works of the seventeenth century, 
marking a transition over previous lapidaries. 
Discussing the properties of stones, Boodt gives 
a long discussion of hardness. He provides 
the earliest system of hardness grading for the 
various stones, which acted as a crude index 
to distinguish imatation gems from genuine. 
He distinguished three degrees of hardness and 
also included softness as a related but differ- 
ent property. Soft stones are considered such 
if fingers alone are sufficient to rub away the 
surface. Hard stones are called hard when they 
can neither be rubbed away with fingers nor cut 
by iron. Hard stones are classified under three 
categories: (1) a steel file can scratch the stone, 
(2) only the use of the Smyrna stone [emer- 
ald??] can cut the surface, and (3) those that 
can only be rubbed away with a diamond point. 

However, it was not until the seventeenth 
century that the characteristic of hardness 
began to appear in the literature as a 
mineralogical property. CHRISTIAN Huygens 
in his Traite de la Lumiere (1690) noticed that 
a calcite cleavage has a different hardness along 
the axis rather than across it. Apparently this 
is the earliest reference to the scientific measure 
of hardness and the variation of hardness 
with direction. He suggested that the optical 
properties of Iceland spar could be explained 
by considering a crystal as being made up of 
flat spheroidal molecules. At the surface of 
the crystals these flat spheroids were arranged 
like the scales of a fish. If one moves a 
sharp edge with the scales, it slips over them, 
but if against the scales it catches under the 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.5 Hardness 

edge of the scales and the slipping is not 
easy. He observes this same effect in applying 
the scratch method to the natural surfaces of 
Iceland spar. The scratch method, therefore, is 
a means of demonstrating the way in which the 
crystal is built. He finds that in one direction 
the scratching point moves easily but in the 
opposite direction it does not.! 443 ! 

In 1728, John Woodward in his Fossils 
of all Kinds digested into a Method (1728) 
used a minerals relative hardness compared to 
the hardness of marble as a diagnostic to help 
subjugate species within his method of mineral 

About 1730, Pierre Varignon [1654- 
1722] wrote about his experiences with the 
hardness of bodies. I 444 ] 

In the mid-eighteenth century CARL LlN- 
NEAUS recommended hardness has a distin- 
guishing property of minerals but took no de- 
cisive step to use it in his own mineralogical 
works.. I 445 ! It was a theoretical leap to a 

complete scale of hardness that would provide a 
relative scale against which the hardness of any 
mineral could be compared against another. 

In 1768, Bengt Andersson Quist [1726- 
1799] was apparently the first to propose a 
graduating scale listing the relative hardness 
of minerals.! 446 ] In his study he compared 

[443] (j Huygens., Traite de la Lumiere. Leiden, 1690, 
p. 95-6: "Tout cecy prouve done que la composition du 
cristal est telle que nous avons dit. A quoy j'ajoute encore 
cette experience; que si on passe un cousteau en raclant 
sur quelqu'une de ce surfaces naturelles, & que ce soit en 
descendant de Tangle obtus equilateral, e'est-a-dire de la 
pointe de la pinmide, on le trouve fort dur; mais en raclant 
du sens contraire on l'entame aisement Ce qui s'ensuit 
manifestement de la situation des petits spheroides; sur 
lesquels, dans la premiere maniere, le cousteau glisse ; mais 
dans l'autre les prend par dessous, a peu pres comme les 
ecailles d'un poisson." 

[444J p Varignon., "Experiences sur la durete des corps," 
Anc. Mem. Paris, 2.; ibid., "Conjecture sur la durete des 
corps," Anc. Mem. Paris, 10. 

[445] c L mneaus ; Systema Naturae. Holmiae, 1768, 3, 
p. 29-30. Linne's first statement on hardness apparently 
appeared in the Amonenitates Academ. (Holmiae, 1750). 

[446] Bengt A. Quist., "Forsok pa en del kisel arter och 
i synnerhet de hardare sa kallade akta stenar," Kongl. 
Svenska Wetenskaps Academiens Handlingar, 39 (1768), p. 55- 
78.; German translation, "Versuch uber einige Kiefelarten 
und besonders die hartern so genannten achten Steine," 
Abhandlungen aus der Naturlehre, Haushaltungskunst und 
Mechanik (Kungl. Svenska Vetenskapsakademien) , 1768, p. 



Sp. Gr. 
























Rock Crystal 















Quist's Scale Abridged (1768) 

13 minerals with specimens coming from 
a variety of localities so that a range of 
hardness values could be established. His 
hardest stone was diamond with a value of 
1 down to zeolith with a hardness of 13. 
He also included information on the specific 
gravities of the stones listed. Published in 
Sweden's leading scientific journal, Quist's 
paper influenced the great Irish mineralogist 
Richard Kirwan [1735-1812] to rework the 
index and incorporate it into the first edition 
of his own influential mineralogical textbook, 
Elements of Mineralogy published in 1784. I 447 ] 
Here diamond is given the highest relative 
hardness value of 20 while other minerals are 
listed with decreasing values until chalk with 
a value of 3. Kirwan also gives information 
about the specific gravity of the minerals 
listed. However, in the second edition of his 
Elements of Mineralogy published in 1794, 
Kirwan abandons the list giving instead a 
general description of how to determine the 
value of relative hardness. I 448 l 

Other mineralogists noted that structure 
and hardness were one of the most valuable 


[447J p Kirwan., Elements of Mineralogy. London, 1784, p. 


[448] Yi. Kirwan., Elements of Mineralogy. Second edition. 

London, 1794, 1, p. 38. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.5 Hardness 



Sp. Gr. 






















Rock Crystal 







































Kirwan's Scale Abridged (1784) 

features to determine species, but they did not 
attempt to give more than a cursiory definition 
of the property. This view was followed in 
the writings by Johann Thaddaus Anton 
Peithner [1727-1798] I 449 ! and John Hill. I 450 ! 
The famous French crystallographer Rome de 
l'Isle believed that the accurate determination 
of the three characteristics of cystallization, 
specific gravity and hardness were sufficent to 
define a mineral species, but he never gives 
an explicit explanation as to how to determine 
the hardness of the minerals.! 451 ] In 1779 

Wallerius only differentiates by hardness 
saying they are either hard or soft but does 
believe the property to be caused by the 
crystalline structure.! 452 ] 

[449] j /p A Peithner., Erste Griinde der Bergwerkswis- 

senschaften, zweite Abhandlung iiber die Mineralogie. Prag, 


[450] j Hill., Fossils Arranged according to their obvious 

characters. London, 1771. 

! J J.B.L. Rome de l'Isle., Cristallographie. Second 
edition. Paris, 1783, 2, p. 370. 

[452] j q Wallerius., Brevis introduetio in historian! 

In 1780 Torbern Bergman writes that 
testing gems by their hardness is usual. He 
calls attention to the fact that gems are usually 
tested by hardness factors and rates them 
in order as diamond, ruby, sapphire, topaz, 
genuine hyacinth, and emerald. The following 
passage, typical of the period, is taken from his 
Opuscula Physica et Chemica. 

The species of gems is used to be determined by 
the hardness ; and by that quality particularly, together 
with the clearness, has their goodness been estimated. 
The spinellus is particularly worthy of observation, which 
is not only powdered by the sapphire, but even by the 
topaz ; as also the crysolith, which is broken down by the 
mountain crystal, the hardness of which seems rather to 
be owing to the degree of exsiccation than the proportion 
of ingredients. The analysis of spmellus, of crysolith, 
and other varieties, will sometimes illustrate the true 
connection ; otherwise, after the diamond, the first degree 
of hardness belongs to the ruby, the second to sapphire, 
third to topaz, next to which comes the genuine hyacinth, 
and fourth the emerald. I 453 l 

This was essentially the prevailing view 
of the hardness property until 1774 when 
the renowned German mineralogist ABRAHAM 
Gottlob Werner estimated the hardness of 
minerals by scratching specimens by using a 
standard set of tests. I 454 ! Based on this test 
he differentated six categories that he describes 
in §169-§175 of his textbook. 

Diamond-Hard. Gives sparks when filed. 



Semihard. Fluorite. 

Soft. Chalcopyrite. 

Very Soft. Gypsum. 

Jean Claude de La Metherie in 
his Theorie de la Terre (1797) describes 
hardness. I 455 l 

By 1801 and the publication of Traite 
de Mineralogie the distinction method first 

litterariam mineralogicam. Holmiae, 1779. 

[453J t.O. Bergman., Opuscula Physica et Chemica, 2, p. 

104, Upsaliae, 1780 ("De Terra Gemmarum," p. 72-117). 

English translation, Physical and Chemical Essays, 2, p. 107- 

8, London, 1784 ("Of the Earth of Gems."). 

[454] \Yerner, Von den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der Fossilien, 

1774, p. 244-252. [SEE ...] 

I 455 l J.C. De la Metherie., Theorie de la Terre. Paris, 1797, 
1, p. 36-8. [GoogleBook] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

given by Werner proved so useful that Rene 
Just Hauy included his own methods for 
determing hardness. Hauy is not clear as to 
what he means by hardness, however. He also 
used a file, but now includes his fingernail to 
test hardness. He divides hardess into four 
categories, which can be subdivided: 

1. Substances which scratch quartz. Examples, 
Diamant, Corundum, Ruby, Sapphire. 

2. Substances which scratch glass. 

a) Communement etincelantes. Examples, Quartz, 
Peridot, Idocrase, Euclase, Axinite. 

b) Quelque sois etincelantes. Examples, Prehnite, 
Sphene, Amphigene, Amphibole. 

3. Substances which scratch calcite. Non etincelantes. 
Examples, Lazulite, Apatite, Harmotome. 

4. Substances which do not scratch calcite. Non 
etincelantes. Examples, Talc, Gypsum, Mica. 

This was a somewhat more reliable method 
to distinguish hardness between minerals. 
Hauy defined his hardness by saying that if one 
mineral was scratched by another than it had to 
be softer than the abrading mineral. Although 
the idea was sound the accuracy of the method 
was subject to wide variability. It was left for 
another researcher to build a useable tool for 
the inspection of hardness. 

In Tome I. (p. 221) Hauy defines hardness 
in a vague way, and gives (pp. 268-71) in four 
groups the substances (i) which scratch quartz, 
(ii) which scratch glass, (iii) which scratch 
calcspar and (iv) which do not scratch the latter 
substance. In these lists he confines himself to 
substances usually termed stones. On p. 348 
of Tome III. Hauy gives the following list of 
the usual metals in order of hardness: lead, tin, 
gold, silver, copper, platinum, iron or steel. 
Perhaps the only importance of Haiiy's work 
for the theory of hardness lies in the fact that 
he appears to have first suggested the 'mutual 
scratchability ' of substances as a measure of 
their relative hardness. 

To bring a precision to the use of this 
character in mineral determination, Friedrich 
Mohs outlined his scale of hardness, which 
perpetuates to this day his name in mineralogy. 
Published in the Versuch einer Elementar- 
Methode zur naturhistorischen Bestimmung 
und Erkennung der Fossilien of 1812, it is 

5.5 Hardness 

a scale of relative hardness between minerals, 
where each member of the scale scratches the 
preceeding one and is cut by all following 
members. It consists of only ten intervals, and 
its true value was the minerals Mohs selected 
were common species, available to students 
and professionals alike. Mohs championed his 
system in his many textbooks. 























Mohs' Hardness Scale (1812) 

Mohs scale was widely applied in practical 
minealogy due to easy to remember minerals, 
but it was hampered to be used in a true 
scientific manner for two reasons. Two 
circumstances impair its accuracy of other 
methods. Mohs did not take into account 
that the hardness of a mineral's surface and 
corners can be different for the same mineral, 
and sometimes for example it is possible to 
scratch a mineral with another specimen of 
the same mineral, which normally should not 
be possible. For example, Mica and Gypsum 
sometimes show this phenomena. The second 
problem with Mohs scale is that the distance 
between the species it uses in terms of relative 
hardness are not equal-distant. Diamond is for 
example, considerably harder than corundum, 
quartz is much harder than feldspar, etc. 

Mohs gave numbers to these classes 
and placed other bodies with decimal places 
between these numbers by testing the relative 
hardness of two nearly equally hard bodies by 
their resistance to a file and the comparative 


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5.5 Hardness 



In 1813 Johann Heinrich Lorenz von 

Pansner [1777-1851] appears to be the first 
to define an absolute hardness of minerals. I 456 ' 
In his investigation, Panser studied mineral 
hardness and specific density. Using a method 
where a needle made of steel, copper or lead was 
worked back and forth across a crystal surface 
until a scratch was seen he created four classes. 
By then measuring the minerals density, he 
attempted to create an analytical method for 
mineral determination based upon the two 
values of its hardness and density. It was 
a poorly executed investigation that received 
only passing interest from mineralogists. But 
it was a step towards measuring absolute 
hardness. Krutsch suggested the addition of 
tin and zinc needles to the method, but little 
attention was paid. I 457 ! 

L. Pansner in a pamphlet published in St 
Petersburg in 1813 seems to have been the 
first to adopt the plan of testing minerals, 
not by scratching them upon each other 
but by means of a series of diamond and 
metal points. Later in a memoir entitled 
: Systematische Anordnung der Mineralien 
in Klassen nach ihrer Harte, und Ordnungen 
nach Hirer vpecifisclwn Schwere, published in 
both Russian and German in the Memoires 
de la Societe Imperiale des Naturalistes, T. 
v., pp. 179-243, Moscow, 1817, we find him 
classifying minerals as follows: (a) Adamanti- 
Charattomena (scratchable by a diamond, 
but not by a steel graver); (b) CJudybi- 
CJiarattomena (by a steel but not by a 
copper graver); (c) Chalco-Charattomena (by 
a copper but not by a lead graver); (d) 
Molybdo-Cliarattoniena (by a lead graver); (e) 
AcJtarattoinena (those whose hardness cannot 
be tested by scratching). These classes formed 
by relative hardness are again subdivided 
according as the specific gravity of the mineral 
is less than 1, less than 2 etc., into (0) 
Natantia, (1) Hydrobarea, (2) Dirhydrobarea, 
(3) Tri-hydrobarea etc., etc. Pp. 183-202 

[456] j h l_ Pansner., Resultate der Untersuchungen iiber die 
Harte und specifJsche Schwere der Mineralien. St. Petersburg, 
1813, 33 p. 

I 457 ! Grailich and Pekarek, p. 417. 

(erroneously paged 173) are occupied with 
a table of several hundred minerals thus 
classified, with the specific gravities to four 
places of decimals. The remainder of the 
memoir does not relate to hardness but to a 
classification of inorganic substances by other 
physical characteristics.! 458 ] 

The conception of relative hardness based 
upon the power of one body to scratch a second 
is evidently very unscientific. Huyghens had 
shown a century earlier that the hardness of 
a body varies with direction, and its power to 
scratch varies also with the nature of the edge 
and face. The latter fact was well brought out 
by a memoir of WILLIAM WoLLASTON entitled: 
"On the Cutting Diamond," Philosophical 
Transactions, 1816, p. 265-9. This memoir 
draws a distinction between cutting and 
scratching, which has been unfortunately lost 
sight of by later writers on hardness. Wollaston 
shows that the diamond irregularly tears the 
surface unless its natural edge, which is the 
intersection of two curved surfaces and thus a 
curved line, be so held that a tangent to it lies 
in the plane face of the material to be cut and 
is also the direction of motion of the diamond. 
The curved surfaces must also be held as 
nearly as possible equally inclined to the plane 
face. By paying attention to similar principles 
Wollaston succeeded in getting sapphire, ruby 
and rock crystal to cut glass for a short time 
with a clean fissure. It required a fissure of 
only 1/100 of an inch deep to produce a perfect 

Breithaupt (1823) added two minerals 
to Mohs scale to try and make the increments 
more equal distant between the hardness 
numbers.! 459 ] He put biotite mica 

between Gypsum (2) and Calcite (3) and added 
Scapolite between Apatite (5) and Feldspar (6) . 
Breithaupt 's efforts were never widely adopted, 
however. Various textbooks continued to list 
the 10 interval scale of Mohs. By 1836, in 
his Vollstandiges Handbuch der Mineralogiehe 
is one of the first mineralogists to employ a 
general definition of the property, applying it as 

Todhunter, p. 


I 459 l J.A.F. Breithaupt., VoUstiindige Charakteristik 
Alineral-Systems. Dresden, 1823, lxxx, 292 p. 


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5.5 Hardness 

a general characteristic to mineral bodies. I 460 ! 
Breithaupt's scale of hardness of 12 classes 
did not appear to have met with any wide 

In 1828, NAUMANN says that he thinks 
hardness should be the measure of the absolute 
cohesion of the mineral.! 461 ] 

Moritz Ludwig Frankenheim (1829, 
1830, 1833) successfully used Panzer's methods 
of using different metal needles to gage a 
minerals hardness. I 462 ] But unlike 

other investigators he measured the hardness 
in different directions across a crystal face. 
Apparently nobody since Huyghens originally 
made the observation had attempted to 
determine the hardness of a crystal across 
different directions of its surface. I 463 ] 

The first experimentalist to obtain results 
of value from this method was Frankenheim in 
his De crystallorum coluvesione. Dissertatio 
Inaugural (Bratislaviae, 1829). Its contents 
are, however, embodied and extended in the 
same author's later book Die Lehre von der 
Cohdsion (Breslau, 1835). Frankenheim 's 
results were obtained by scratching with the 
metal needle held in the hand and judging 
relative hardness by the pressure and pull 
necessary to produce a scratch. He applied 
this method to test the relative hardness of 
crystalline surfaces in different directions. It 
cannot be said that such a method is capable 
of really great scientific accuracy, but we 
shall have occasion later to compare some 
of Frankenheim's results with those of other 

Seebeck (1833) introduced a devise 
to consistently measure the hardness of 
minerals. I 464 ! By the late 1800s, it accurately 
determined of hardness of minerals could be 
made by the use of an instrument called a 

[460] B re }thaupt., Vollstandiges Handbuch der Mineralogie. 
Dresden und Leipzig, 1836. 

l 461 J Naumann., Lehrbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin, 1828. 
[462] m l_ Frankenheim., De crystallorum cohaesione, 
dissertatio Inauguralis. Bratislaviae, 1829. [A German 
translation appears in Baumgartner's und Ettingshausen's 
Zeitschrift fur Physik und Mathematik (Wien), 6 (1841).] 

I 463 ! Huyghens., Tractatus de Luinine. Paris, 1690, p. 72. 
[464] Seebeck., Sklerometer. Programm der Coin Realgym- 
nasiums, 1833. 

sclerometer (Burchard, 2004). The mineral 
is placed on a movable carriage, with the 
surface to be tested upon the horizontal; this 
is brought into contact with a stell point (or 
diamond point), fixed to a support above. The 
weight needed to cause the point to scratch 
the minerals surface is then determined. This 
method is further complicated that on a single 
mineral face, it may have a different hardness 
depending on which direction the sclerometer 
is applied. 

To this time, the hardness of a mineral 
largely depended on its elasticity, and depend- 
ing on which direction the measurement was 
taken on a crystal could show a large varia- 
tion in its value. Kyanite for example has very 
different values of hardness depending if the 
measurement is taken along or across a crystal. 
Approaches were invented to take the absolute 
hardness of minerals. 

In 1850 Rudolph Franz wrote in Latin 
his ideas about determining a minerals hard- 
ness, De Lapidum Duritate cemque Metiendi 
Nova Methodo Dissertatio. It was also trans- 
lated into German. I 465 ! This is an impor- 
tant memoir that relates comparative hardness 
of crystals on different surfaces, and in different 
directions on the same surface, and contains the 
results of numerous careful observations (Bur- 
chard, 2004). 

Franz defines the hardness of a mineral as 

Mir scheint namlich die Harte eines Minerals 
diejenige Kraft desselben zu seyn, welche seine 
Theilchen zusammenhaltend, dem Korper, der diese 
zusammenhangenden Theilchen trennen will, Widerstand 
leistet. [So far this might stand as a definition of 
cohesion.] Sie ist also diejenige Kraft des Minerals, welche 
das Eindringen eines Korpers in das Mineral verhindert, 
und zugleich der Fortbewegung einer in die Oberflache 
eingedriickten Spitze sich entgegenstellt. Das Maasa 
dieser Widerstandskraft ist nun aber offenbar der Druck, 
welcher angewandt werden muss, um den Korper zum 
Eindringen m das Mineral zu bringen (S. 37). 

It seems to me that this manner of 
determining hardness may really measure two 

[465] Yi_ Franz., "Ueber die Harte der Mineralien und ein 
neues Verfahren dieselbe zu messen," Annalen der Physik 
(Poggendorffs), 80 (1850), p. 37-55. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.5 Hardness 

different kinds of resistance, viz. the resistance 
to entry and the resistance to tearing after 
entry. Franz assumed that in measuring these 
resistances he was measuring one and the same 
property hardness. Interestingly, a criticism 
of Franz's methods on rather different grounds 
will be found on p. 39 and 48 of Hugueny's 
Recherches Experimentales tur la Durete det 
Corps (Paris, 1865). 

In 1852, Gustav Adolf Kenngott 
[1818-1897] published his "Ueber ein bes- 
timmtes Verhaltniss zwischen dem Atom- 
gewichte, der Harte und dem speeifischen 
Gewichte isomorpher Minerale." I 466 ! 

This memoir does not state particulars 
as to the manner in which the hardness of 
the various substances discussed has been 
determined. The author supposes his atoms to 
be liquid and spherical ; he states that they 
can or must be treated as liquid if they are to 
group themselves into molecules and as such 
into crystals (S. 104). As to the numerical 
results given in the memoir, I am unable to 
express any opinion as to their value, but the 
conclusions which the author draws from his 
chemical data appear to be summed up in the 
following paragraph which ocairs on S. 114-5, 
and which I content myself with citing: 

Wenn die hier vorgefiihrten Beispiele zeigen, dass 
bei isomorphen Species, welche homolog zusammenge- 
setzt sind, ein bestimmtes Verhaltniss zwischen dem 
Atomgewicht, dem Atom- oder Moleciil-Volumen, dem 
8pecifi8chen Gewichte und der Harte vorhanden ist, so 
dass mit dem relativen apecifischen Gewichte in geradem, 
oder dem Atomvolamen in umgekehrtem Verhaltnisse die 
Harte steigt und fallt, und bei gleichen gleich ist, wahrend 
die Krystallgestalten wegen der ubereinstimmenden Grup- 
pirung iibereinstimmend sind, weil die gleichgeordneten 
Atome der einen die Masse in einem dichteren Zustande 
enthalten als die Atome der anderen, so zeigen sie auch 
gleichzeitig, dass auf diese Differenzen der Harte und des 
relativen speeifischen Gewichtes die Stellung in der elek- 
trochemischen Reihe oder das elektrochemische Verhalt- 
niss der verbundenen Atome ohne Einfluss ist. Ausdiesem 
Grunde habe ich die Atome in der elektrochemischen Rei- 

[466J Q \ Kenngott., "Ueber ein bestimmtes Verhaltniss 
zwischen dem Atomgewichte, der Harte und dem 
speeifischen Gewichte isomorpher Minerale," Jahrbuch der 
k.k. geologischen Reichsanstalt Jahrgang (Wien), 4 (1852), 
no. 3, p. 104-116. 

henfolge vorangestellt, darunter die Verbindungen der er- 
sten Ordnung und in denselben die hoheren, wo es dergle- 
ichen gibt, und es wird daraas ersichtlich, dass nicht durch 
den starkeren elektrochemischen Gegensatz die grossere 
Harte und das grossere relative specinsche Gewicht her- 
vorgerufen sind. 

Wilhelm J. Grailich and F. Pekarek 
(1854) I 467 ! were two mineralogists that 

studied the hardness of minerals. Together 
they designed a sclerometer that would 
become widely accepted as the best design. 
Working off the principal of Seebeck, they 
created a stationary scratch point across which 
the sample was drawn. The design was 
manufactured by Voigt and Hochgesang for a 
price of 220 Marks (Burchard, 2004). This 
memoir opens with an interesting historical 
account of the various modes of classifying or 
measuring hardness (§ 410-21). The authors 
note how unscientific was the earlier use 
of the word 'hard' by palaeontologists and 
mineralogists, and then record the researches 
of some of the writers. 

Q. Sella Kes] 

Through the earlier research it was known 
that the hardness of crystals, as determined 
with a sclerometer, is different on different 
crystal faces, and that the variation is related 
to the crystal symmetry. In 1865, Frederic 
Hugueny gave a more precise definition of 
this property and introduced the distinction 
between normal and tangential cohesion.! 469 ] 
In his scholarly doctoral thesis that describes 
his Experimental Researches on the Hardness 
of Bodies, the first 50 pages is given over to 
a good introductory history of the subject. 
This is followed by a definition of the hardness 
property, a description of the apparatus he used 
to test for it, a discussion of the places where 
errors are encountered, and a review of the 
results derived. Finally, Hugueny compares the 

[467] w j Grailich and F. Pekarek., "Der Sklerometer, 
ein Apparat zur genaueren Messung der Harte der 
Krystalle," Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der 
Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe 
(Wien), 13 (1854), p. 410-436. 

I 468 ! Q. Sella., "??????," TYiriner Akad., (April, 1861), p. 


[469J p Hugueny., Recherches experimentales sur la durete 

des corps. Paris and Strasbourg, Gauthier-Villars, 1865. 


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5.5 Hardness 

results of his research from various methods. 

L. SOHNCKE (1869) in his deep investiga- 
tion of halite describes his methods for deter- 
mining the minerals hardness. I 470 ! 

The subject of hardness was thoroughly 
investigated by F.S. Exner in 1873 who 
describes the forms of hardness across the 
faces of many crystals in a series of curves of 
hardness in his monograph, Ueber die Harte 
der KrystallfldchenA 471 ^ 

He showed that the variations in hardness 
observered in any crystal are dependent upon 
the cleavages. Faces not cut by cleavage planes 
have constant hardness in all directions, while 
faces intersected by planes of cleavage show 
mininum hardness parallel to the intersection 
with the cleavage plane and if the cleavages 
are of unequal ease the minimum hardness is 
parallel to the plane of easiest cleavage. So 
consistant was this relationship that Exner was 
able to express it algebraically. He obtained the 
measurements by determining the least amount 
of weight required to scratch a crystalline 
surface in different directions for each 10° or 
15° from 0° to 180°, as determined by a 
sclerometer. These directions are laid out as 
radii from the center, and the length of each 
is made proportional to the weight fixed by 
experiment. These points are then connected, 
and a specific hardness diagram for the mineral 

J.W.A. PFAFF (1883) [472] determined 
hardness by boring his hardness point into 
the mineral face and measuring the number of 
rotations needed to indent the surface. Pfaff 
drew a diamond splinter of definite shape 100 
times back and forth in one place, then shifted 
and repeated, widening the groove. The loss 
in weight of the crystal for the saure number 
of movements of the dianiond over the saure 
area and with a constant pressure serve as 
approximate values for hardness, i.e., hardness 
is inversely as the loss in weight. Pfaff also used 

I 47 °] L. Sohncke., "Halite," Poggendorffs Annalen, 137 
(1869), p. 177. 

I 471 ! F.S. Exner., Ueber die Harte der Krystallflachen. 
Vienna, 1873. 166 p. 

I 472 ! J.W.A. Pfaff., "Mesosklerometer," Sitzungsbeiicht 
bayern Akademie Wissenschaften, mathematik-physikalische 
Klasse (Miinchen), 13 (1883), p. 55. 

a revolving diamond point. For equally deep 
Penetration the hardness was as the number of 

T. Turner (1886) used an apparatus 
similar to Franz's in which the mineral was 
fixed and scratched with a moving point. I 473 ! 

F. Auerbach (1891, 1892, 1896) at- 
tempted to create a scale of absolute hard- 
ness. I 474 ! Following the definition of hardness 
given by Hertz, Auerbach devised a method in 
which a piano convex lens of any mineral is 
pressed against a horizontal plate of the same 
mineral. Both are bent and touch throughout 
a circular space, and for some pressure V the 
elastic limit is reached, at which there is pro- 
duced, if the mineral is brittle, a circular fissure, 
or, if the mineral is tough, a circular permanent 

According to Auerbach the limit pressure 
P 1 upon a square mm. of surface varies with 
the radius r of the lens, but the product 
of P 1 into the cube root of this radius r is 
essentially constant and may be called the 
Absolute Hardness, that is 

H=P 1 ^/¥ 

On this basis he determines the absolute 
values of the Moh's scale to be: corundum, 
1,150; topaz, 525; quartz, 308; orthoclase, 253; 
apatite, 237; fluorite, 110; calcite, 92; gypsum, 

A.K. Rosiwal (1893, 1894, 1896) ^^ 
used a standard powder to grind the surface. 

P. Jannetaz and M. Goldberg (1895) 
studied the effect of grinding as a test for 

[473] rp^ burner., " A new indentation test for determining 
the hardness metals," Proceedings of the Birmingham 
Philosophical Society, 5, (1886), pt. 2, p. 240-??. 

[474] R Auerbach., Wied. Ann., 43 (1891), p. 61, 45 (1892), 
p. 262, 277 & 58 (1896), p. 357. English translation of 
the first paper, "The absolute measurement of hardness," 
Smithsonian Report, 1891, p. 207-236. Translated by Carl 

[475] A.K. Rosiwal., "Ueber eine neue Methode der 
Hartebestimmung durch Schleifen," Anzeige (Wien), 30 
(1893), p. 104-105.; ibid., "Ueber eine neue Methode der 
Hartebestimmung der Minerale, insbesondere jener des 
Diamanten," Deutsch. Natl Verh., Theil 2, pt. 1, (1894), 
p. 189-90.; ibid., "Neue Untersuchungsergebnisse iiber die 
Harte von Mineralien und Gesteinen," Jahrbuch k.k. geol. 
Reichsanstalt (Wien), 17 (1896), p. 475-491. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.5 Hardness 

hardness. I 476 ! They employed a so-called, 

"Usometer," consisting of a rotating grinding 
disc, upon which four plates, the hardness of 
which is to be determined, were pressed by 
normally acting weights, the loss of weight of 
each giving the relative hardness. 

T.A. JAGGAR. (1897) describes an instru- 
ment of his own design that he employed a 
micro-sclerometer of his own invention that 
in essence was a modification of P faffs tech- 
nique.! 477 ] However, by means of this in- 
strument he was able to test the hardness of 
minerals present in thin sections under the mi- 
croscope. Jaggar designed an attachment to 
the microscope, in which the point of a cleavage 
tetrahedron of diamond is rotated at a uniform 
rate and under uniform pressure until a cut of 
uniform depth is obtained (measured by focus- 
ing an the rulings of a Zeiss micrometer glass, 
which is slightly inclined and follows the down- 
ward movement of the diamond point). The 
number of rotations of the point varies as the 
resistance of the mineral to abrasion by dia- 

J. A. Brinell (1900) describes his exper- 
iments for establishing the relative degree of 
hardness of materials.! 478 ] His test specimens 
are subjected to the pressure of a heavy weight, 
with a small sphere of steel interposed between 
the weight and test surface of the material. The 
impression left on the surface forms a tolerably 
indication of the degree of hardness possess by 
the objects tested. His tables show the rela- 
tive hardness of many metals he tested in this 
method, are chiefly based on resistance to pen- 

In 1900 J.-R. Rydberg wrote on the 
hardness of simple bodies. I 479 ! He represents 
the hardness of the elements as points on a 

[476] p Jannettaz and M. Goldberg, "Durete des 
matieres vitreuses et cristallisees, determinee au moyen de 
l'usometre," Ass. Franc. C.R., Part 2, 9 (Aug., 1895), p. 

[ 7j T.A. Jagger., "A micro-sclerometer for determining 
the hardness of minerals," American Journal of Science, 4th 
Series, 4 (1897), p. 399-412. [Contains a good bibliography 
of the subject.] 

I 478 l J. A. Brinell., Teknisk Tidskrift, 30 (1900), p. 69-87, 


[479] J._R. Rydberg., "Die Harte der einfachen Korper," 

Zeitschrift fur physikalische Chemie, 33 (1900), p. 353-359. 

curve, whose abscisse by the atomic weight 
and their ordinate are certain by the hardness 
of the element concerned. After run this 
curve belongs the hardness into that group of 
characteristics, with which the periodicity can 
be led back to a periodic function into the large 
one the cohesion. Here belong among other 
things density, expansion, atomic heat, melting 
point, heat of fusion, boiling point and most 
flexible characteristics of the raw materials. 


gives a comprehensive look at the hardness 
property. He begins by comparing specific 
density and atomic weight before delving into 
the hardness property. He then gives a table 
of approximately 300 minerals with the first 
column containing the name of the mineral, 
the second the atomic or molecular weight, 
the third the specific gravity, the fourth the 
compaction, and the fifth the hardness by the 
Mohs scale. 

Kip (1907, 1911)[ 48 i] outlined in two 
articles that invited a single definition of 
hardness, to establish a theoretical basis for 
the best method to investigate hardness and 
to put the method into practice by means of 
a suitable, standard apparatus and adequate 
mathematical calculation. 

Holmquist (1911, 1914, 1916)I 48 2] em- 
ployed grinding techniques to determine the 
hardness of a wide range of minerals. His re- 
sults with regard to the relative hardness of 
minerals agree closely with those determined 
by Rosiwal. 

The method of VlCKER S is chiefly based on 
resistance to penetration (Vickers's method has 
been applied to the microscopic examination of 
polished sections since 1936). S.B. TALMAGE 

[480] Schroeder van der Kolk., "Ueber Harte in Verland mit 
Spaltbarkeit," Verh. d. Kon. Ak. v. Wet. te Amsterdam, 8 

(1901), 12 plates [Appeared 1902]. 

[481] fj2. Kip., "Determination of the hardness of 
minerals," American Journal of Science, 4th Series, 27 (1907), 
p. 23-32 and 31 (1911) , p. 96-98. 

[482] Holmquist. "Ueber den Relativen Abnutzungswider- 
stand der Mineralien der Harteskala," Geologiska Forenin- 
gen i Stockholms Forhandlingar, 38 (1911), p. 281.; ibid., 
"Die Schleifharte der Feldspathe," Geologiska Foreningen 
i Stockholms Forhandlingar, 36 (1914), p. 401.; ibid., "Die 
Hartestufe," Geologiska Foreningen i Stockholms Forhandlin- 
gar, 38 (1916), p. 501. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

(1926) has perfected the earlier sclerometer 
technique; P. Le Rolland's method (1926) 
is based on the influence of the hardness of a 
pendulum's knife edge on the duration of its 


1854 W.J. Grailich and F. Pekarek, "Der Sklerometer, ein 
Apparat zur genaueren Messtmg der Harte der Krys- 
talle," Sitzungsbehchte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der 
Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche 
Classe (Wien), 13 (1854), p. 410-36. 

1865 Frederic Hugueny., Recherches experimentales sur la 
durete des corps. Paris and Strasbourg, Gauthier- 
Villars, 1865. vii, [1], 109 p., 6 plates. 

1909 Viktor Poschl., Die Harte der festen Korper und ihre 
physikalisch-chemische Bedeutung. Berlin, 1909. 84 p. 

1942 Samuel Robinson Williams., Hardness and hardness 
measurements. Cleveland, The American Society 
for Metals [1942]. [8], 558 p. ["Bibliography on 
hardness," p. [463]-546.]. 

1943 David Landau., Hardness: A critical examination of 
hardness, dynamic hardness, and an attempt to reduce 
hardness. New York, The Nitralloy Corporation, 
1943. 105 p., illus. 

5.6 Optical Properties i 483 i 

Transparent minerals, or those that become 
transparent when sliced extremely thin, show 
optical properties. A mineral that is 

transparent interacts with the rays of light that 
pass through it. Observing the characteristics 
of the light before and after it enters the 
mineral, and noting as well changes in the 
mineral itself, can lead to its identification. 
In the 19 th and early 20 th centuries, optical 
mineralogy became one of the most widely used 
tools of those available to mineralogists. 

5.6.1 Double Refraction! 484 ] 

|483j Pusher historical information may be found in: 
Jed Z. Buchwald., The rise of the wave theory of light: 
Optical theory and experiment in the early nineteenth century. 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1989. xiv, 498 p., 
illus. [History of optics in the 18th and 19th century.; 
ISBN 0226078841.] • P.P. Ewald. , "Zur Begriindung 
der Kristalloptik," Annalen der Physik, 359 (1917), no. 
24, p. 557-597. • Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte der Optik. 
Leipzig, Verlagsbuchhandlung J.J. Weber , 1926. 262, 
[1] p., illus. [History of optics.; Reprinted, Wiesbaden, 
Dr. Martin Sandig oHG., 1967.] • Henry John Steffens., 
The Development of Newtonian Optics in England. New 
York, Science History Publications, 1977. viii, 190 p. 
[Surveys the evolution of the corpuscular theory of light 
from Newton to the work of David Brewster in the early 
19th century.] • W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical 
crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., 
Historical atlas of crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 

|484j Purifier historical information may be found in: 
David Brewster., "Historical Account of its Discoveries 

Double refraction (now termed birefringence) is 
the property of a crystalline substance to split 
a beam of light passing through it into two 
different rays. One of these rays is angularly 
offset from the other, resulting in two images 
being observed when a single image is viewed 
through the substance. If for example a line 
is viewed through a transparent crystal of 
calcite, it will appear double in every direction 

respecting the Double Refraction and Polarisation of 
Light," Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 1 (1819), p. 289- 
296, 2 (1820), p. 167-170, 3 (1820), p. 285-296, 4 (1821), p. 
124-130, 8 (1823), p. 149-160, 245-256, 9 (1823), p. 148-152, 
10 (1824), p. 90-96. • Jed Z. Buchwald., "Experimental 
investigations of double refraction from Huygens to Malus," 
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences, 21 (1979-80), 
p. 311-373. [Traces 18th-century attempts to determine 
experimentally a law of double refraction.] • ibid., The 
rise of the wave theory of light: Optical theory and experiment 
in the early nineteenth century. Chicago, University of 
Chicago Press, 1989. xiv, 498 p., illus. [History of optics 
in the 18th and 19th century.; ISBN 0226078841.] • 
Burke, Origins of the Science of Crystals, 1966, p. 138-146. 

• Andre Chappert., Etienne Louis Malus (1775-1812) et la 
theorie corpusculaire de la lumiere. Traitement analytique de 
1'optique geometrique, polarisation de la lumiere et tentative 
d'explication dynamique de la reflexion et de la refraction. 
Paris, Vrin, 1977. 283 p., illus. [Full discussion of Malus' 
theory of light.] • Mariano Colubi Lopez., "Leyes fisicas 
versus leyes experimentales: El intercambio de informacion 
entre Brewster y Biot acerca de la relacion entre les leyes 
de doble refraccion y las de polarizacion (1813-1819.)," 
Llull: Boletin de la Sociedad Espahola de Historia de las 
Ciencias, 21 (1998), p. 357-385. [History of double refraction 
and the role played by Biot and Brewster.] • Eugene 
Frankel., "The search for a corpuscular theory of double 
refraction: Malus, Laplace and the prize competition of 
1808," Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of 
Mathematics, Science, and Technology, 18 (1974), p. 223- 
245. • Edgar W. Morse., Natural philosophy, hypotheses, 
and impiety: Sir David Brewster confronts the undulatory 
theory of light. Dissertation, University of California, 
Berkeley, 1972. 356 p. [Univ. Microfilms order no. 75- 
22448.] • Lars Garding., "History of the mathematics of 
double refraction," Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 40 
(1989), no. 4, p. 355-385. • Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte 
der Optik, 1926, p. 75-82. • ibid., Geschichte der Physik, 
1926, p. 259-261. • C. Klein., "Uber das Krystallsystem 
des Apophyllits und den Einfluss des Drucks und der 
Warme auf seine optischen Eigenschaften," Sitzungsberichte 
der preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1892, pt. 1, 
p. 217-267. [Contains a long historical introduction of 
the optical studies done on apophyllite.] • CM. Marx., 
"Zur Geschichte der Lehre von dem Doppelbrechung," 
Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 78 (1849), p. 272-276. 

• Vasco Ronchi., The nature of light: An historical survey. 
Cambridge, Mass. , Harvard University Press, 1970. xii, 
288 p., illus. (some colored), facsims., plates, portaits. [A 
history of optics.; ISBN 0435547526.] • W.A. Wooster., 
"Brief history of physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: 
J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New 
York, Elsevier, 1990. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

but one — that of the vertical axis of the 
rhomb ohedron. One image is created by the 
ordinary refraction of light, while the other, by 
an extraordinary refraction. If the same crystal 
is placed over a point, and turned around, one 
image will appear to revolve around the other. 
The direction in which there is no refraction is 
called the axis of double refraction, or neutral 
line, since in its direction the ordinary and 
extraordinary rays coincide. Double refraction 
increases in passing from this direction to one 
at right angles with it. When there are two 
axes of double refraction, both rays are due to 
extraordinary refraction. The two axes are in 
a vertical plane in right prisms, but not so in 
oblique prisms. The angle between these axes 
has been determined for many minerals, and 
has served to distinguish species, which is the 
basis for optical mineralogy. 

The property was first reported in 1669 
by Erasmus Bartholin [1625-1698] when he 
published a small book about his discovery, 
Experimenta C'rystalli Islandici Disdiaclastici, 
in which he describes his observations and 
experiments he made concerning Iceland spar 
(a clear variety of calcite).! 485 ] CHRISTIAAN 
Huygens [1629-1695] offered an explanation 
of the property in terms of his wave theory 
of light. Interestingly from the experiments 
described in this work it is clear that Huygens 
observing the interaction of two rhombohedral 
calcite crystals was on the threshold of the 
discovery of polarization; however, he stopped 
short there because polarization seemed to be 
irreconcilable with the theory that light waves 
were analogous to (longitudinal) sound waves. 
This was published in his important 1690 study, 
Tractatus de LumineM 86 ^ Through his 

experiments Huygens discovered that quartz 
also possessed the property, the only other 
mineral besides calcite known to possess the 
property until Haiiy made a specific study of 
the subject. 

Isaac Newton [1643-1727] experimented 
with minerals. He calculated the thickness 
of the thinnest plates of mica and gypsum, 

l 4 ° 5 J E. Bartholin., Experimenta Crystalli Islandici Disdia- 

clastici. Hafniae, 1669. 

[486] c Huygens., Tractatvs de Lumine. 1690. 

and from his experiments with the double 
refraction property of Iceland spar he advanced 
theory of light that consisted of waves and 
insisted that it was corpuscular in nature. I 487 ! 
He conceptualized light rays with four sides 
or "quarters," which he though might be 
endowed with forces exhibiting polarity, similar 
to magnetic forces. Two of these, he thought, 
had the property of usual refraction, while 
the other two had unusual refraction (double 
refraction). He believed the unusual refraction 
exhibited by Iceland spar was created by an 
attraction between the light rays and particles 
inside the crystal. 

The French physicist Charles-Francois 
De Cisternai Du Fay [1698-1739] studied 
the properties of various substances, including 
crystals. He is now credited as the 

original discoverer of the interrelation between 
crystalline form and the phenomenon of 
double refraction, although his priorty was 
not recognized for a very long time after 
his death. I 488 l Du Fay died tragically 

young, but among the last papers he was 
working on was his examination of the property 
of double refraction on which he conducted 
a great number of exact measurements. 
Among the general principles he deduced 
from his observations was that all transparent 
stones that have right angles are only singly 
refracting, whereas crystals whose angles are 
not right angles are doubly refracting and 
that the amount of the double refraction is 
dependent upon the inclination of these angles. 
Unfortunately this work was never formally 
published in a scholarly journal. Instead the 
only knowledge we have of it is from Du 
Fay's eloge written by De Fontenelle, at that 
time secretaire perpetuel of the Academie, 
and recorded in the Histoire de I 'Academie 
Royale des Sciences (1739, p. 73-83, Paris, 
1741.)I 48 9] From De Fontenelle's description 
of the work it is clear he had before him some 

I 487 ! I. Newton., Opticks. London, 1730, p. 373. 
[488J c ar | Michael Marx., "Zur Geschichte der Lehre von 
dem Doppelbrechung," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 
154 (1849), no. 10, p. 272-275. 

I 489 ! Hoppe, Geschichte der Physik, 1926, p. 260. • Adolf 
Pabst., "Charles-Francois du Fay, a pioneer in crystal 
optics," American Mineralogist, 17, p. 569-572. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

unfinished manuscript or notes that are now 
lost. Sadly, Du Fay's contribution, probably 
because of the unorthodox manner in which 
it was recorded, never was picked up by later 
researchers or most historians of science.! 490 ] 
If it had, the development of the science 
of crystallography would probably have been 
advanced considerablly, because it was nearly 
80 years before the same observations were 
again made. 

In 1762 Giovanni Battista Bbccaria 
[1716-1781] published his observations on the 
property of double refraction exhibited by 
quartz. I 491 ! He noticed that the edges of the 
crystal showed a wide range of colors, but he 
did not give an explanation for the feature. 

Unlike amorphous material, the molecular 
arrangement inside a crystal causes the 
development of double refraction which was 
dramatically shown by the discoveries of the 
Abbe Alexis Marie de Rochon [1741- 
1817]. He demonstrated that if a glass plate 
is attached to various faces of quartz plates 
double refraction develops. l 492 ^ He is 

credited later with inventing an insturment 
called the "micrometer," which was developed 
as an attachment to a telescope.! 493 ] Its 

optics utilized two precisely cut quartz prisms 
that create achromatic prisms that used the 
double refraction of the material to produce two 
images that were made to coincide by moving 
one optical element along a scale. 

In his crystallographic studies of minerals, 
Rene Just Hauy [1743-1822] naturally con- 

l 490 l Only Hoppe in his history of physics mentions Du 
Fay's investigations of crystal optics, Geschichte der Physik, 
1926, p. 260. 

[491] q_3_ Beccaria., "Observation sur la double refraction 
du cristal de roche," Journal de Physique, 2 (1762), p. 
504-510. English translation, "An Account of the Double 
Refractions in Crystals," Philosophical Transactions, 52 
(1683-1775), p. 486-490. • Hoppe, Geschichte der Optik, 
1926, p. 75. 

[492J Rochon., Recueil de Memoires sur la Mecanique 
et sur la Physique. Paris, Barrois l'aine, 1783. xiv, [2], 384, 
xxxij p., 10 plates (including diagrams). [Citation from 
Hoppe, Geschichte der Optik, 1926, p. 75-76.] 
[493J Rochon., Memoire sur le micrometre de cristal 
de roche pour la mesure des distances et des grandeurs. Avec 
une instruction de M. Torelli-de-Narci sur la maniere de se servir 
de la lunette contenant un micrometre fait avec des prismes de 
cristal de roche. Paris, A. Beraud, 1807. 62 p., one table. 

sidered the phenomena of double refraction. He 
accepted the outline of Newton's explanation of 
double refraction, but he was hessitant to give 
any hypothesis that related the phenomenon to 
the internal structure based on the integrant 
molecule.! 494 ] In his research he always at- 
tempted to match the duplicate images of the 
objects seen through the crystal to the sides 
of the integrant molecules he theorized existed 
inside the crystal. In this way he studied the 
crystals of calcite, rock crystal, sulfur, barite, 
and gypsum. Although he noticed that the ab- 
sence of double refraction was related to an ax- 
ial direction of the primitive forms of these sub- 
stances, he did not notice the optical biaxiality 
of the last three minerals. 

Hauy in his Traite de Mineralogie (1801) 
gives a list of the double-refracting minerals, 
obtained as a result his own searches, and for 
the first time isolates the optically isotropic 
crystals, which do not exhibit the double- 
refracting property! 495 ] But his experimental 
method, observing the image of a pin through 
prisms constructed of the mineral material to 
see if its image doubled could not lead to 
satisfactory results. Different orientations of 
the needle observed from different distances 
caused Hauy to miss the weak double refract 
shown by some minerals, or mistake a strong 
simple refraction for the property. This 
all leads to the fact that the list of Hauy, 
which contains 20 "double refracting" and 
even 10 "single refracting" minerals is built 
from erroneous data. For instance, among 
the single refracting minerals that he correctly 
recognized, namely fluorite, spinel, garnet, 
sphalerite, he adds apatite, tourmaline, and 
axinite. At the same time, he does not 
include diamond or rock salt (halite) to the 
list, although in their descriptions they are 
noted as belonging with minerals that exhibit 
single refraction. In spite of these omissions 
of Hauy, he accumulated enough evidence 

[494] p^_j_ Hairy., "Sur la double refraction du spath 
calcaire transparent," Journal d'Histoire Naturelle, 1 (1792), 
63, 158-160; "Sur la double refraction du cristal de roche," 
Journal d'Histoire Naturelle, 1 (1792), p. 406-408; "Sur 
la double refraction de plusiers substances minerales," 
AnnaJes de Chimie et de Physique, 17 (1793), p. 140-156. 

I 495 ! R.J. Hairy, Traite de Mineralogie, 1, p. 237. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

to establish rules based according to his 
theory of the integrant molecule that species 
characterized by high degree of symmetry, 
possess simple refraction. Thus forms of 
the cube, octahedron, or those possessing 
cubic symmetry do not show double refraction. 
He also attempted to distinguish between 
singly and doubly refracting crystals and had 
correlated the optical property with minerals 
containing certain highly symmetrical molecule 
integrantes. In other words, Haiiy observed 
that the optically isotropic crystals must belong 
to one group, now recognized as the cubic 
(centered) symmetry [?? CHECK THIS 
??]. Moreover, in double refracting bodies he 
established that the directions, along which 
the double refraction is not revealed, are 
planes where the highest symmetry occur. 
Understanding the importance of determining 
the optical properties of minerals, Haiiy 
proposed using them in a practical way for 
distinguishing between faceted precious stones, 
which could not be easily tested by other 
destructive methods. Later, this idea would 
lead to the development of a new insturment 
called the refractometer (see §14.6.2.). 

In 1881, Richard Tetley Glazebrook 
[1854-1935] examined Iceland spar and its 
interaction with light, particularly the cre- 
ation of double refraction and dispersion.! 496 ] 
Charles Sheldon Hastings [1849-1932] 
published an improvement on Glazebrook's 
study in 1888. I 4 ^] 

5.6.2 Basis of Optical Mineralogy l 498 ! 

REWORK: In 1807 Johann Jacob Bern- 
HARDI [1774-1850] emphasized that double re- 

[496] yi ,T. Glazebrook., "Double Refraction and Dispersion 
in Iceland Spar: An Experimental Investigation, with 
a Comparison with Huyghen's Construction for the 
Extraordinary Wave," Transactions of the Philosophical 
Society of London, 171 (1881), p. 421-449. 
[497J Q_g Hastings., "Law of double refraction in Iceland 
spar," American Journal of Science, 4th series, 35 (1888), p. 

[49SJ pother historical information may be found in: 
Jed Z. Buchwald., The rise of the wave theory of light: 
Optical theory and experiment in the early nineteenth century. 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1989. xiv, 498 p., 
illus. [History of optics in the 18th and 19th century; ISBN 
0226078841.] * Burke, Origins of the Science of Crystals, 
1966, p. 138-144. • Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristallografii XIX 
vek, 1980, p. 78-95. 

fraction was intertwinned with the crystal's in- 
ternal structure. I 4 99] He pointed out that dou- 
ble refraction appeared only in irregularly crys- 
tallized bodies, which although found in dif- 
ferent degrees in various materials, it followed 
the same rules in all. Examining crystals of 
calcite, quartz, emerald, and beryl, which are 
uniaxial, as well as zircon, vesuvianite, and na- 
trolite, which are biaxial, Bernhardi must actu- 
ally have observed the optical biaxiality in these 
later crystals, although he did not recognize its 
importance. He does emphasize, however, that 
double refraction was dependent upon the in- 
ternal structure of the crystal and that there 
was an axis of refraction about which the phe- 
nomena occurred. 

The connection between optical properties 
and crystalline form occurred only after the 
discovery in 1809 of the polarization of light by 
reflection by Etienne Malus [1775-1812]. I 500 ! 
Working in the framework of the integrant 
molecule, Malus suggested that symmetry of 
the molecules was the principal element to 
create the phenomena of double refraction. He 
constructed a variety of instruments for the 
study of polarization both by reflection and 
double refraction. From his experimentaions 
of different crystals he showed that two 
refracted rays are respectively polarized in 
planes perpendicular to each other. He also 
found that in simple refraction, the ratio 
between the sines of the angles of incidence 
and refraction was a constant quantity, but 
this relationship was variable in the case of 
the extraordinary ray. This suggested that it 
depended not only upon the inclination of the 
incident ray upon the refracting surface but 
also upon its position relative to the axis of the 
integrant molecule of the crystal. The emergent 
ordinary and extraordinary rays had the same 
direction when the incident ray fell upon a 
face that was parallel or perpendicular to the 

[499J j Bernhardi, "Beobachtung uber die doppelte 
Strahlenbrechung einiger Korper, nebst einigen Gedanken 
uber die allgemeine Theorie derselben," Journal fur die 
Chemie und Physik von A. F. Gehlen, 4 (1807), p. 230-258. 
[500J g Malus, "Sur une propriete de la lumiere reflechie," 
Memoires de Physique et de Chimie de la Societe d'Arcueil, 
2 (1809), p. 143-158; and "Sur une propriete des forces 
repulsives qui agissent sur la lumiere," Memoires de Physique 
et de Chimie de la Societe d'Arcueil, 2 (1809), p. 254-267. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

axis of the crystal and emerged from a face 
parallel to the incident face, hi Malus' view this 
attribute gave a direct means to determine the 
axis of refraction in a wide variety of crystalline 
materials. If an image was not doubled, when 
viewed across two parallel faces, the conclusion 
was that these faces were either parallel or 
perpendicular to the axis of the crystal. In 
the rhombohedron, the axis of refraction was 
the same as the crystal axis, but there was 
not sufficient information available, according 
to Malus, to state that this was the case a 
priori in other crystal forms.! 501 ] Thus Malus, 
who had studied Bernhardi's work, failed in the 
same way to distinguish uniaxial and biaxial 

In 1811 Dominique Francois Arago 
[1786-1853] observed the rich colors produced 
by polarized light passing through thin plates of 
certain crystals thus establishing a valuable and 
sensitive method to detect double refraction 
in minerals. He discovered these "interference 
colors" by placing a sheet of mica between a 
glass reflector and a calcite prism. One can 
only imagine the impression that the striking 
colors must have made on him.! 502 ! He also 
observed that the colors remained stable if the 
glass reflector was replaced by the sky. This 
gave strong evidence that the blue sky must 
be polarized. He presented his preliminary 
results in a paper read the Paris Academy, 
and thereafter helped develop a new wave 
theory of light that could accurately explain 
these observations, which were unexplained by 
contemporary theories. 

In 1812 David Brewster [1781-1868] 
and Jean Baptiste Biot [1774-1862] inde- 
pendently realized that the interference colors 
that were observed when light passed through 
thin plates of doubly refracting crystals were 
also weak indications of the materials dou- 
ble refracting property. Brewster had experi- 
mented with topaz (orthorhombic), while Biot 
had worked with a variety of mica (monoclinic). 
Continuing their respective researches, both 
Brewster and Biot arrived at the concept of op- 

[501] E. Malus., Theorie de la double refraction de la lumiere 
dans les substances cristalisees. Paris, 1810, p. 95, 177. 
[502] Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristallografii XIX vek, 1980, p. 

tical biaxiality, but Biot, in a long paper, was 
the first to report his results. I 503 ! A short 

time later Biot also determined that uniaxial 
crystals could be divided into two classes. He 
assumed that the polarized light corpuscles in 
the extraordinary ray in quartz were attracted 
to the vertical axis whereas those in beryl were 
repelled from it, pointing out that the Iceland 
spar had "beryl" polarization.! 504 ] Brewster 
rejected Biot's theory of attractive and repul- 
sive forces, however, insisting instead that the 
different classes arose because of the internal 
structure of the crystal. 

In crystals ... the polarizing structure ... must therefore 
depend on the form of their integrant molecules, and the 
variation in their density. ... When these crystals have a 
spherical form diminishing in density towards an axis, and 
have these axes arranged by laws of crystallization, they 
will constitute a crystal of the positive class, ... quartz. 
When the density of the spheres increases towards 
their axes, their symmetrical combinations will constitute 
a crystal of the negative class, such as beryl. I 505 ! 

Thus, Biot's terminology of differences result- 
ing from attractive and repulsive forces was re- 
placed with Brewster's that explained a crystal 
as being either optically positive or negative. 

Both scientists, however, quickly pointed 
out that the crystal axes of many substances 
corresponded with the axes of double refrac- 
tion. Biot suggested that the axis of double re- 
fraction proved that a crystal was an aggregate 
of atomic elements arranged in a symmetrical 
structure around the axis. I 506 ! Asymmetry 

[503J j g Biot., "Memoire sur un nouveau genre 
d'oscillation que les molecules de la lumiere eprouvent 
en traversent certains cristaux," Memoires de l'lnstitut 
(1812), Part I, p. 1-371; David Brewster, "On the 
Affections of Light Transmitted through Crystallized 
Bodies," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of 
London, (1812), Part I, p. 187-218. 

[504] j g Biot., "Sur le decouverte d'une propriete 
nouvelle dont jouissent les forces polarisent des certains 
cristaux," Memoires de l'lnstitut (1812), Part I, p. 19-30; 
and "Observations sur la nature des forces qui partagent 
les rayons lumineux dans les cristaux doues de la double 
refraction," Memoires de l'lnstitut (1813-1815), p. 221-234. 
[505] tj Brewster., "On the Laws of Polarization and 
Double Refraction in Regularly Crystallized Bodies," 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 
1818, p. 264. 

I 506 ! J. B. Biot, "Memoire sur l'utilite des lois de la 
polarisation de la lumiere, pour reconnartre l'etat de 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

was demonstrated by the fact that a light ray 
incident on the crystal in an oblique direction to 
this axis was doubly refracted. He emphasized 
that double refraction would be useful as an 
experimental index to analyze crystalline sub- 
stances in an effort to determine the system of 
crystallization, particularly where the exterior 
form was not a sufficient indication of the inte- 
rior crystalline state. 

During his research, Brewster classified 
almost three hundred crystalline materials 
according to whether they had one, two, or 
three axes of double refraction, or, in modern 
terms, whether they were uniaxial, biaxial, or 
optically isotropic, respectively. He pointed out 
that all crystals having the cube, the regular 
octahedron, or the rhombic dodecahedron as 
primitive forms have three axes of double 
refraction. Hence, in these crystals, no double 
refraction is evident. All crystals having the 
rhombohedron, the hexagonal prism, or the 
octahedron with isosceles triangular surfaces 
as primitive forms have one axis of double 
refraction. Substances with two axes of 
double refraction crystallize in other irregular 
forms. Hence, according to Brewster, the 
phenomenon of double refraction demonstrated 
the position of the crystal axes and could be 
used to determine the correct primitive forms 
of crystals. Brewster believed it was much more 
difficult to gain knowledge of the primitive form 
by cleavage and calculation than it was to test 
a crystal for double refraction. In Brewster's 
opinion, tungstate of lime (Scheelite, CaWOj 
provided a good example of the utility of this 
optical phenomenon in the derivation of the 
primitive form. Haiiy believed that the form 
of the integrant molecule of this substance was 
a cube, but since it was doubly refracting, this 
geometry was impossible according to Hauy's 
model, and was accordingly changed. 

In 1818 all of these results were compiled 
by Brewster in his important paper, On the 
Laws of Polarization and Double Refraction 
in Regularly Crystallized Bodies. I 507 ! He 

cristallisation et de combinaison dans un grand nombre 
de cas oil le systeme cristallin n'est pas immediatement 
observable," Memoires de l'Academie Royale des Sciences, 
1816, p. 275-346. 
[507J j-j Brewster., "On the Laws of Polarization and 

explains in it the connection between the 
optical characteristics and the 'primitive form' 
of a crystal. He also introduced a satisfactory 
correlation between the form and optical 
properties of isotropic and anisotropic crystals, 
though not completely for biaxial substances. 
Extending his research, Brewster became 
bolder in his assertation of the connection of the 
crystalline form and the optical properties. He 
named 11 minerals that based on their optical 
properties could not possess the primitive form 
assigned to them by Haiiy. By 1823, 8 of 
these minerals had been assigned new forms to 
conform with his observations. For example, 
boracite could not have a cubic integrant 
molecule because it was doubly refracting; 
therefore, it must have some other form. I 508 ' 

John Frederick William Herschel 
[1792-1871] published in 1820 a paper on 
the interaction of homogeneous light with 
crystallized bodies that brought substantial 
progress to the knowledge of the optical 
characteristics of crystals. I 509 ! During 

experimental inquiries on the polarization of 
light, he was struck by the very considerable 
number of deviations in the colors of their 
lamina, first observed by Newton, and which 
many crystals exhibit when cut into plates 
perpendicular to one of their axes. His curiosity 
was excited and he began an inquiry into 
the cause of what produced them, especially 
since their appearance was a problem for Biot's 
theory. He determined they were caused 
by "axes of birefringence" that caused the 
behavior of light to be connected to the 
symmetry axis of the mineral crystal. To 
show that the colors produced were not created 
by the color of light transmitted through the 
crystal, Herschel uses colored glass to filter the 

Double Refraction in Regularly Crystallized Bodies" , 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 1 
1818, p. 199-273. 

I 508 ! David Brewster, "Reply to Mr. Brooke's Observa- 
tions on the Connexion between the Optical Structure of 
Minerals and Their Primitive Forms," Edinburgh Philosoph- 
ical Journal, 9 (1823), p. 361. 

I 509 ! J.F.W. Herschel., "On the Action of Crystallized 
Bodies on Homogeneous Light, and on the Causes of the 
Deviation from Newton's Scale in the Tints Which Many 
of Them Develope on Exposure to a Polarized Ray.," 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 
1820, I, p. 45-100. 


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5.6 Optical Properties 

light that passed through the crystal plates. In 
the mean time, Brewster had observed the same 
phenomena, which he mentioned in a paper he 
read before the Royal Society in 1818, but he 
had not attempted an explanation. 

The foundations for correlation of the 
optical properties of crystals with their form 
or symmetry were thus in place by the 
second decade of the 19 th century. Further 
research accumulated a mountain of evidence 
that supported the concept that crystals 
possessed in a unique axes of symmetry. In 
1824 Eilhardt Mitscherlich [1794-1863] 
published a memoir describing the effects of 
temperature change on the dimensions of a 
number of crystals of various substances. I 510 ! 
First, he demonstrated that crystals that 
were regular geometric solids, like the cube, 
the regular octahedron, and the rhombic 
dodecahedron, expanded uniformly in all 
directions upon a temperature increase and 
evidenced no change in the value of their 
interfacial angles. Second, crystals having 
rhombohedra or hexagonal prisms for their 
primitive forms displayed unequal expansion 
in one direction when they were heated. For 
example, calcite expanded nonuniformly in 
the direction of its vertical axis, whereas its 
expansion was uniform in the other two axial 
directions. Hence, crystals with one axis 
of double refraction reacted in exactly the 
same manner to heat as to light. Third, all 
crystals shown to possess two axes of double 
refraction expanded unequally in all three 
directions when heated. Mitscherlich concluded 
from his experiments that the expansion of 
crystals upon heating was related to the 
axes of crystallization and that these axes 
corresponded with the optical axes. 

Hatiy recognized the value of the phe- 
nomenon of double refraction in the identifi- 
cation of the integrant molecule of a substance, 
and he was willing to seek a new primitive form 
if this optical property indicated its absolute 
necessity. Further, he believed that, together 
with form, hardness, and specific weight, dou- 

I 51 °] E. Mitscherlich., "Ueber das Verhaltnis der Form der 
kristalliserten Korper zur Ausdehnung die Warme," in: A. 
Mitscherlich., Gesammelte Schhften von Eilhard Mitscherlich. 
Berlin, 1896, p. 195. 

ble refraction provided evidence of specificity, 
meaning that mineral species could be deter- 
mined from them. But he did not ascribe to 
this directional property the importance other 
scientists attached to it. In fact just as iso- 
morphism and dimorphism showed that the in- 
tegrant molecule was not specific to a chemi- 
cal compound, optical properties showed that 
the primitive form and integrant molecule could 
not accurately determined by cleavage of the 
secondary forms. Obviously, either Hatty's sys- 
tem must be entirely revised by the determina- 
tion of the correct primitive forms, or another 
system of crystal analysis should be adopted. 

Not all mineralogists, however, were 
prepared to attach such importance to optical 
characters as means of determining mineral 
species. Cases of apparent conflict between 
determinations made on the basis of chemical 
composition and crystallographic characters on 
the one hand, and optical characters on the 
other, soon arose. For example, Brewster, 
on optical grounds, regarded tesselite as a 
species distinct from apophyllite, in spite of 
the fact that Berzelius had shown the two 
to be identical in chemical composition. He 
also found that sulphato-tricarbonate of lead 
(leadhillite) was optically biaxial, whereas it 
was generally believed at that time to be 
a rhombohedral mineral. In the case of 
apophyllite, of course, Brewster was misled 
by the optically anomalous character of the 
mineral; but in the case of the leadhillite it was 
the optical determination that was correct, the 
mineral being really monoclinic but with a close 
approach to rhombohedral symmetry. 

But the standard works on mineralogy 
of that time, and for many years later, 
contained no account of the optical characters, 
beyond reference to such features as the 
double refraction of calcite, the play of 
color (dispersion) of diamond, the dichroism 
of tourmaline, and, perhaps, the statement 
that the mineral had "simple" or "double" 
refraction, as the case might be. Many 
mineralogists recognized, however, that a 
knowledge of the optical characters would be of 
the greatest aid in determining minerals. Thus 
Jameson, in his Manual of Mineralogy (1821) 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

"To Dr. Brewster, mineralogists are indebted for a great 
discovery, namely, the number and position of the axes of 
double refraction of minerals. By means of this character 
we are enabled to determine mineral species; and even in 
those cases where neither form nor cleavage are present, to 
refer the mineral to its system of crystallization. We have 
no hesitation in considering it as a more certain and useful 
aid to mineralogists than chemical analysis. It ought to be 
introduced into all systems of mineralogy" J 511 ! 

Augustin Jean Fresnel [1788-1827] 
building on previous experimental work ex- 
tended the wave theory of light to a large class 
of optical phenomena. By the year 1821, he 
was able to demonstrate through mathematical 
methods that polarization could be explained 
only if light was entirely transverse, with no 
longitudinal vibration whatsoever. Other op- 
tical phenomena were also given explanation. 
For example, through his wave theory he con- 
clusively accounted for the phenomena of in- 
terference when light rays collide. Although 
Fresnel's wave theory of light had many con- 
verts, even from the most ardent of those pre- 
viously believing in the corpuscular theory, his 
assertion that light is a transverse wave was a 
step too far for most. However, Fresnel stunned 
his critics when he next showed through an in- 
credible deduction that double refraction could 
be deduced from the transverse wave hypothe- 
sis. I 512 l This was an important development 
for optical mineralogy, because it offered a bril- 
liant explanation of the correlation between the 
observed optical properties and structural crys- 
tal form of many minerals. Essentially, Fresnel 
stated that when there are two axes of double 
refraction, both rays are due to extraordinary 
refraction. The two axes are in a vertical plane 
in right prisms, but not so in oblique prisms. 
Thus in biaxal crystals there is no spherical 
wave, since there is no single direction round 
which such crystals are symmetrical. But when 
there is an angle between these axes it could be 
measured for many minerals, and would in the 
19 th century be determined for many species 
that would serve as a specific characteristic to 

[ 511 ] R. Jameson.. 

I 512 ] A.J. Fresnel., 

Manual of Mineralogy. London, 1821, p. 

"Memoire sur la Double Refraction,' 

distinguish species. 

After Fresnel's tragically young death 
his wave theory as it applied to crystal 
optics was further extended by the German 
crystallographer and physicist Franz Ernst 
Neumann [1798-1895]. I 513 ! Brewster had 

previously shown the interrelation between 
the optical properties and geometries of the 
crystals of the three crystallographic systems 
of the lowest category, but the crystal 
classes containing the rhombic, monoclinic and 
triclinic required further examination. To 
this question a significant role was played by 
Neumann's article on "the Thermal, Optical 
and Crystallographic Axes in the Crystalline 
System of Gypsum" (1833).[ 514 1 In it he 

explores the law of double refraction in the 
mineral gypsum from the point of view of 
Fresnel's mechanics and concludes that there 
was a correlation between the crystallographic 
forms axes, the axes of elasticity and thus the 
thermal and pressure axes. In this way the 
the interrelation between the strucutural form 
and the physical properties of a crystal of the 
rhombic system are for the first time clearly 

Neumann then turned his attention to 
exploring the optical properties of species in 
the monoclinic and triclinic crystal systems. 
He thought it was entirely possible that 
the phyisical properties of crystals always 
conform to the symmetry of the crystal. 
This position was supported by the research 
made by J. Herschel [xxxx-xxxx] and J.G. 
NoRRENBERG [xxxx-xxxx] , who investigated 
the optical property of the crystals of 
monoclinic borax with the aid of the red 
and dark-blue glass. Neumann generalized 
their data, after adding to it his observations 
about gypsum and came to the conclusion 
that for the monoclinic crystals the axis of 
Fresnel's ellipsoid in the differently colored light 
rays changes not only its value, but also its 
orientation relative to crystallographic axes. 
This showed that in the monoclinic crystals 

I 513 ! Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristallografii XIX vek, 1980, p. 


[514J p_g Neumann., "Die thermischen, optischen und 

crystallographischen Axen des Crystallsystems des Gypses,"| 

Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 27 (1833), p. 240-274. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
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5.6 Optical Properties 

the optical geometry is relative to the single 
plane which is symmetrical to its geometric 
form. This suggested that the optical axes 
of a crystal must lie either in the plane of 
symmetry, or in one of the planes perpendicular 
to it. In 1835, Neumann in a small paper noted 
that the absence of the symmetry regularities 
between the orientation of the optical ellipsoid 
and elements of the crystallographic structure 
in triclinic crystals. I 515 l These facts explained 
the question about the interrelations between 
the optical and geometric properties of the 
crystals of all seven systems. 

The optical study of crystals was greatly 
facilitated when the physicist WILLIAM NlCOL 
[1768-1851], in 1828, invented the polarizing 
prism which bears his name, but for many years 
yet mineralogists were slow to avail themselves 
of optical characters as an important means 
of identifying minerals. Even in the third 
edition of Dana's System of Mineralogy (1850), 
when the chemical classification of minerals 
was adopted, the descriptions of minerals do 
not include any optical characters, except that 
the refractive index is given for diamond and 
possibly for one or two other species. There is, 
however, an introductory chapter, "Characters 
Depending on Light," in which a number of 
minerals are listed with their mean refractive 
index (for four of them, two indices are given), 
and in another table some twenty minerals are 
listed with their optic axial angle. 

It was not until well after the middle of 
the 19 th century that mineralogists began to 
make important use of optical characters, apart 
from color and lustre, in the determination of 
minerals, and this in spite of the fact that 
observation and study of the peculiar behaviour 
of light in its passage through crystals had 
much influence on the development of the 
science of optics. 

In 1849, Henry Clifton Sorby [1826- 
1918] demonstrated the possibility of determin- 
ing the minerals in rocks by the examination of 
thin sections under the polarizing microscope. 
From this time onward, however, study of the 

[515] y.Fj. Neumann., "Nachtragliche Beobachtungen in 
Betreff der optischen Eigenschaften hemiprismatischer 
Crystalle," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 35 (1835), p. 

optical characters of minerals assumed increas- 
ing importance. Sorby's pioneering work in this 
field, and particularly the paper he published in 
1857, on the microscopical structure of crystals, 
not only laid the foundations of microscopical 
petrology but at the same time raised optical 
mineralogy to a position of the first importance 
as a means of identifying minerals rapidly, even 
when in the smallest grains. Thereafter, a 
knowledge of the optical characters, at least of 
the minerals occurring in rocks, became imper- 
ative. Optical studies were being constantly 
refined and advanced, and one of Sorby's last 
papers describes a method for determining re- 
fractive indices.! 516 ] The method he describes 
is identical in principle, though worked out in 
far greater detail, with that given by the Due 
DE CHAULNES in 1767 for singly-refracting sub- 
stances, although the method was devised quite 

From the outset, Alfred-Louis-Olivier 
Legrand des Cloizeaux [1817-1897] was 
one of the most active in this field, and his 
Manuel de Mineralogie, the first volume of 
which appeared in 1862, is remarkable for the 
immense amount of new information presented 
relating to the optical characters of minerals. 
He improved upon the clumsy microscopes of 
Amici and of Norrenberg, and examined the 
optical properties of 468 minerals and salts 
between 1857 and 1869. 

Friedrich Eduard Reusch [1812-1891] 
in 1867 wrote on the reflection and refraction of 
the light at spherical surfaces under a condition 
of finite angles of incidence.! 517 ] 

Remarkable advances were made from that 
time forward. Microscopes and other optical 
instruments have been continually improved, a 
great variety of ingenious accessories have been 
invented, and new and more accurate, or more 
rapid, methods of operation have been devised. 
This made possible the examination of crystals 

[516] H G Sorby ; «On a New Method for Studying the 
Optical Properties of Crystals," Mineralogical Magazine, 15 
(July, 1909), no. 70, p. 189-215. 

[517] e Reusch., "Reflexion und Brechung des Lichts 
an spharischen Flachen unter Voraussetzung endlicher 
Einfallswinkel," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 206 
(1867), p. 497-517.; ibid., "Ueber die Kornerprobe am 
zweiachsigen Glimmer," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 
136 (1868), p. 130-135, 632-634. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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5.6 Optical Properties 

under the microscope in plane-polarized light, 
a field of research in which the petrologists were 
particularly active. 

At the end of the 19 th century, several 
excellent treatises on optical mineralogy by 
Americans appeared, namely, those by Luquer, 
Iddings and Johannsen. 

In 1908 N.H. Winchell [xxxx-xxxx] and 
Alexander N. Winchell [xxxx-xxxx] pub- 
lished their Elements of Optical Mineral- 
ogy, An Introduction to Microscopic Petrog- 
raphy.^ 1 ^ According to the authors, none 
of these contains a concise and clear exposition 
of the principles, methods and data of optical 
mineralogy. It is to supply this want that this 
text was written. The book is divided into three 
parts, as follows: (1) Principles and Methods, 
(2) Description of Minerals and (3) Analytical 
Tables. It covers the phenomena of light, the 
elements of mineralogy, and the application of 
polarized light to crystalline substances. Part 
two contains a systematic description of all the 
rock-forming minerals concerning which there 
is sufficient data to permit their being deter- 
mined by means of the microscope. Part three 
is made up of exhaustive analytical tables for 
determination, microscopically, of rock- forming 

5.6.3 Rotatory Polarization! 519 ] 

REWORK: The discovery of the rotation of 
the plane of polarization of light travelling 
through quartz was made by Arago in 1811. 
In 1812, Biot observed that quartz had the 
property of rotating the plane of polarization 
of transmitted light, but as an adherent of 
the corpuscular theory of light he found it 
impossible to offer a reason able explanation 
of his discovery. (Fresnel had no difficulty in 

I 518 ! N.H. Winchell and A.N. Winchell., Elements of Optical 
Mineralogy, An Introduction to Microscopic Petrography. New 
York, D. Van Nostrand Company. 1908. 502 p., 350 figs. 4 

t ' Further historical information may be found in: 
Jed Z. Buchwald., The rise of the wave theory of light: 
Optical theory and experiment in the early nineteenth century. 
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1989. xiv, 498 p., 
illus. [History of optics in the 18th and 19th century; 
ISBN 0226078841.] • W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of 
physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, 
ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 

providing a full explanation on the basis of wave 
theory.) A year later, Biot studied rotatory 
polarization in various crystals and orga nic 
solutions, discovered that while some crystals 
rotate the light to the right others rotate it 
to the left, and determined that the rotation 
is proportional to the thickness of substance 
traversed and to the wavelength of the light. 

The Frenchmen Francois Arago and Jean- 
Baptiste Biot didn't see eye-to-eye. Arago 
discovered "interference colors" by placing a 
sheet of mica between a glass reflector and a 
calcite prism. Imagine the impression that the 
striking colors must have made on him! He 
also noticed that the colors remained if the 
glass reflector was missing but the background 
was the sky: the blue sky must be polarized! 
He also saw evidence of circular polarization 
by replacing the mica by a quartz crystal. 
He presented a paper to the Paris Academy 
in 1811 on his preliminary results. But 
the next year Biot (a previous collaborator) 
jumped-the-gun on him by presenting two 
papers much more comprehensive, taking the 
field away from him (he is considered the 
discoverer of circular polarization). Biot also 
studied the sky polarization and found that 
the rainbow was polarized (Brewster saw a 
beautiful confirmation of Descartes law and 
his polarizing angle on this fact). Arago 
took revenge on Biot by helping his protege, 
Fresnel, develop the wave theory of light, as 
Biot was a lifetime corpuscular. Arago didn't 
like Napoleon either and refused in 1852 to take 
the oath of allegiance. 

The rich colours produced by polarized 
light passing through certain crystals were 
discovered by Arago in 1811. Partisans 
of the two rival optical theories hastened 
to find explanations of this phenomenon of 
depolarization. On the undulatory theory 
explanations were given first by Young, then 
more fully by Arago and Fresnel. On the 
corpuscular theory, the facts were accounted 
for by Biot in a complicated research of 
great mathematical elegance. This was 

received favourably by Laplace and other 
mathematicians, who found the speculations 
of Biot more congenial to their habits of 
thought than those of Fresnel. Arago entered 


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5.6 Optical Properties 

the lists against Biot, and the discussion was 
carried on with such bitterness that the two 
physicists, once intimately associated, became 
wholly estranged. Biot gave the important laws 
of rotary polarization and their application to 
the analysis of various substances. 

In 1811 Arago discovered that if a thick 
plate of quartz, with parallel faces cut at right 
angles to the optic axis, be examined in plane 
polarized light between crossed nicols, it does 
not appear dark, as one would expect of a 
uniaxial crystal, but shows an interference tint. 
If the section be rotated on the stage of the 
microscope, this color does not change, and, 
if monochromatic light be used, it is only by 
rotating one or the other nicol through a certain 
angle that darkness can be produced. It is 
perfectly clear, therefore, that the emerging 
light is plane polarized but not in the direction 
in which it entered the crystal. In other words, 
the plane of polarization has been rotated. I 520 ! 

The only other natural mineral known to 
possess the property of rotary polarization is 
cinnabar. The effect is rather weak in each 
case. In the former it is about 1/200 as great 
as the double refraction in a direction at right 
angles to the axis, in the latter about thirteen 
times as great as in quartz. Rotary polaaization 
is found, however, in many organic substances 
which crystallize in enantiomorphous forms. 

All substances which possess the power of 
rotating the plane of polarization are called 
active, the others inactive. 

While rotary polarization is of interest, it 
is of no great use in petrography except that 
advantage is taken of it in the construction of 
certain sensitive plates, such as that of Biot, 
Klein, etc. 

The amount of rotation depends upon the 
color of the light used and the thickness of the 

^ 1 F.J. Arago., "Memoire sur une modification remar- 
quable qu'eprovent les rayons lumineux dans leur passage 
a traiers certains corps diaphanes et sur quelques autres 
nouieaux phenomenes d'opiique," Mem. Acad. France, An- 
nee, 1811, Pt. I, 12 (1812), p. 93-134.; German translation, 
"Ueber eine eigenthiimliche Modification, welche die Licht- 
strahlen beim Durchgehen durch gewisse durchsichtige Ko- 
rper erleiden, und iiber einige andere neue optische Erschei- 
nungen," Gilbert's Ann., 40 (1812), p. 145-161. [Translation 
of the preceding by Gilbert.]; ibid., "Memoire sur la po- 
larisation coloree," Oeuvres Ccompletes, Paris, X (n.d.), p. 
36-74, especially p. 54-55. 

section, as was shown by Biot. I 521 l In the table 
on the following page the values in millimeters 
for the rotation, given in the fourth column, 
were determined experimentally by Soret and 
SarasinJ 522 ! They may be calculated by 

Lommel's formula,! 523 ! 

Suspecting that rotatory polarization is 
an effect of a lack of symmetry, J. Herschel 
established that quartz crystals often present 
trapezohedral faces placed in such a way that 
those belonging to certain crystals are mirror 
images of the corresponding faces of other 
crystals. He explained the connection between 
this arrangement and the respective rotation of 
light to the right and the left. The rotatory 
polarization of quartz and sodium chlorate 
was studied by C. Marbach; des Cloizeaux 
discovered the rotatory polarization of cinnabar 
and strychnine sulphate. 

The rotatory polarization of certain 
organic salt solutions would have remained 
beyond the scope of crystallography, had not 
Pasteur's work with tartaric acid and the 
tartrates established a connection between this 
property of solutions and the crystalline form 
of the solutes (1848-1852). Pasteur gave the 
general relation between crystal morphology 
and rotatory polarization. 

Basing himself on the discoveries of Biot, 
Arago and Herschel, Pasteur prepared the 
sodium ammonium salts of tartaric and racemic 
acids (which latter is optically inactive in 
solution) and obtained two kinds of crystal 
that were mirror images of each other 
(enantiomorphous) . Having carefully separated 
the two, he discovered that solutions of one 
were dextrorotatory-that is rotated the plane 
of polarization to the right-while solutions 

1 1 J.B. Biot, "Memoire sur un nouveaux genre 
d'oscillation que les molecules de la lumiere eprouvent en 
traiersant certains cristaux. Lu a PInstitute, 31 mai, 1813, 
et 3 nov., 1813," Mem. Acad. France, Annee, 1812, Paris, 13 
(1814), Pt. I, p. 1-371, especially 218-314. 

^ J J. L. Soret et Ed. Sarasin., "Sur la polarisation 
rotatoire du quartz," Comptes Rendus, XCV (1882), 635- 
638.; ibid., Arch. soc. phys. et nat. de Geneve, LIV (1875) 
253, VIII (1882), 5, 97, 201. 

[bi6\ g Lommel: Theorie der Drehung der Polarisation- 
sebene. Wiedem. Ann., XIV (1881), S 23-533.; ibid., "Das 
Gesetz der Rotationsdisdispersian," Wiedem. Ann., XX 
(1883), 578-592, particular 592. 


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5.6 Optical Properties 

of the other were laevorotatory. When 
aqueous solutions of the two were mixed 
in equal quantities, the solution became 
optically inactive. From these results Pasteur 
concluded that the molecular arrangement of 
the atoms of these two compounds was also 

1811: Arago The discovery of the rotation 
of the plane of polarization of light travelling 
through quartz was made by Arago. 

1821: Biot enunciated the laws of the 

1821: Herschel pointed out the relation 
between the hand of the rotation and the 
development of faces on quartz crystals. 

1822: Fresnel explained the rotation 
by postulating oppositely circularly polarized 
beams travelling with different velocities along 
the optic axis. 

1831: Airy gave an explanation of the 
formation of the spirals which bear his name. 

1846: Faraday discovered in 1846 that the 
plane of polarization may also be rotated when 
light passes through an isotropic medium when 
it is in a magnetic field. 

1857: Des Cloizeaux advanced a general 
theory of rotatory polarization. Des Cloiseaux., 
"Memoire sur l'emploi des proprietes optiques 
birefringentes, pour la distinction et la 
classification des mineraux cristallises," Annaies 
des Mines (Paris), ii (1857), p. 261-342. 

1864: Stefan introduced the banded 
spectrum in the study of rotatory polarization. 

1892: Goldhammer gave a theory of 
magnetic optics in ferromagnetic crystals. 

1893: Drude studied optics in ferromag- 
netic crystals. 

In 1911 Fredrich E. Wright presented 
an investigation undertaken primarily to 
determine the influence of certain factors which 
underlie the methods for the measurement of 
the optic axial angles, especially the method of 
Professor Becke and the writer's modification 
of the same.! 524 ! 

[524J p_E_ Wright, "Transmission of light through trans- 
parent inactive crystal plates, with special reference to ob- 
servations in convergent polarized light," American Journal 
of Science, 4th series, 31 (1911), p. 157-211. [Gives a good 
number of earlier references at the articles introduction.! 

1915: Voigt gave a theory of magnetic 
optics in ferromagnetic crystals. 

5.6.4 Optical Properties and Heat! 525 ' 

REWORK: Brewster and Mitscherlich showed 
experimentally that, in certain crystals, the 
angles between the faces, the angles between 
the optical axes, and the direction of the 
planes may vary with the external temperature. 
Neumann investigated this property in gypsum 
and borax, and Des Cloizeaux, working with 
biaxial crystals, discovered in particular that 
orthoclase changes permanently when the 
temperature exceeds 700°C. This discovery was 
of great interest to geologists, who had found 
that certain volcanic rocks contained what Des 
Cloizeaux called 'deformed orthoclase'. 

Effect of Heat on the Form and Double 
Refraction of Calcareous Spar. — That active 
and eminent chemist M. Mitscherlich, observed, 
upon measuring the angles of calcareous spar 
at different temperatures, that there was a 
variation of 8' 30" in passing from 0° to 100° 
of the centigrade scale. The dihedral obtuse 
angle diminishes by heat, or the short axis of 
the rhomboid is more dilated than the other 
diagonals, so that its form approaches to that 
of a cube. Mitscherlich conjectured that its 
double refraction would also diminish by heat, 
and this was proved by M. Fresnel to be 
the case. The same effect, but in a lesser 
degree, was produced in rock crystal ; but 
M. Fresnel observes that the experiment was 
not repeated. H enee it appears, that heat 
uniformly distributed in a crystal diminishes 
the double refraction. M. Mitscherlich is of 
opinion, that heat should always separate most 
the particles of a crystal in the direction in 
which they are nearest each other. 

M. Fresnel likewise found, that heat dilates 
sulphate of lime less in the direction of its 
principal axis of double refraction (in the 
plane of the laminiE *) than in a direction 
perpendicular to it; a difference analogous 
to that in Iceland spar, but of a contrary 
character, as might ) been expected, from the 

[525J pother historical information may be found in: 
W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical crystallography" 
(pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 


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5.6 Optical Properties 

opposite nature of the double refraction two 
minerals. See Bulletin des Sciences, Dec. 1823, 
p. 181. 

Other minerals containing rare earths 
(thorite, gadolinite, euxenite, etc.) become 
incandescent at a fixed temperature. Des 
Cloizeaux called them 'pyrognomic' minerals 
and, in collaboration with Damour, studied 
their optical properties. In the 20th century it 
was shown that the special properties of these 
minerals are linked to the presence in them of 
radioactive elements. 


1863] published a memoir describing the effects 
of temperature change on the dimensions of a 
number of crystals of various substances.! 526 ] 
First, he demonstrated that crystals that 
were regular geometric solids, like the cube, 
the regular octahedron, and the rhombic 
dodecahedron, expanded uniformly in all 
directions upon a temperature increase and 
evidenced no change in the value of their 
interfacial angles. Second, crystals having 
rhombohedra or hexagonal prisms for their 
primitive forms displayed unequal expansion 
in one direction when they were heated. For 
example, calcite expanded nonuniformly in 
the direction of its vertical axis, whereas its 
expansion was uniform in the other two axial 
directions. Hence, crystals with one axis 
of double refraction reacted in exactly the 
same manner to heat as to light. Third, all 
crystals shown to possess two axes of double 
refraction expanded unequally in all three 
directions when heated. Mitscherlich concluded 
from his experiments that the expansion of 
crystals upon heating was related to the 
axes of crystallization and that these axes 
corresponded with the optical axes. 

Neumann not only established a rapid 
change in the angle between the optical axes 
of the gypsum as a result of its heating, but 
also attained the interference pattern of the 
uniaxial crystal of the as a result maximum 
rapprochement of these two axes. To it, in 
1833 g. analogous phenomenon in the crystals 

I 526 ] E. Mitscherlich., "Ueber das Verhaltnis der Form der 
kristalliserten Korper zur Ausdehnung die Warme," in: A. 
Mitscherlich., Gesammelte Schhften von Eilhard Mitscherlich. 
Berlin, 1896, p. 195. 

of glauberite described d. Brewster (in the 
red light glauberite optically of [dvuosen], A 
in violet- it is uniaxial). 

1832: Duhamel gave the first experiments 
on thermal conduction in crystals. 

1847: Senarmont introduced the method 
of plotting isothermal surfaces surrounding 
a point source of heat in a crystal plate. 
He made observations on many crystals and 
measured the ratios of the coefficients of 
thermal conductivity for different directions 
of heat flow. Between 1847 and 1850 

the French crystallographer and mineralogist 
Senarmont [1808-1850] who was a tireless 
researcher of minerals, began studying the 
optical properties of crystals, and is perhaps 
the first to understand the importance of 
optical methods. He established in his studies 
the analogy between the optical properties of 
crystals and their thermal conductivity. 

1851: Stokes made an analysis and raised 
questions as to how heat flowed in the crystals. 

1864: Fizeau used an optical interference 
method to make measurements on many 
crystals. The measurements of the change 
of interfacial angle and the expansion of cut 
plates and bars were applied to crystals of all 

1884: Stenger made experiments to 
determine the heat flow in crystals. 

1898: Tutton used a highly developed 
interferometer for measurements on a num-ber 
of sulfates of various metals. 

5.6.5 Pleochroism & Absorption! 527 ] 

REWORK: The color of a transparent mineral 
is due to the residual color of the light 
spectrum left after the substance has absorbed 
a certain part of it. Many colored anisotropic 
crystals have the property of absorbing 
different amounts or kinds of light in different 

! ] Further historical information may be found in: T. 
Crook., "Some observations on pleochroism and idiophany 
in mineral plates," Mineralogical Magazine, 16 (1911), no. 
73, p. 1-29. [See the "Historical resume" section, p. 22- 
28.] • J. A. Mandarine, "Absorption and pleochrosim: Two 
much-neglected optical properties of crystals," American 
Mineralogist, 44 (1959), p. 65-77. • Shafranovskii, Istoriia 
kristallografii XIX vek, 1980, p. 86. . W.A. Wooster., 
"Brief history of physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: 
J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New 
York, Elsevier, 1990. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.6 Optical Properties 

directions. Absorption has reference to the 
amount or intensity of light absorbed and hence 
may be tested in monochromatic light while 
pleochroism refers to the kind of light absorbed 
and so must necessarily be tested in white light. 

Some crystals, viewed by transmitted 
light, present different colors in different di- 
rections. This property is termed pleochro- 
ism, (from the Greek "Xeos" , full, and "xxxx" 
color), or dichroism, (from "xxx", two-fold, and 
"xxxxx") when the colors are different in two 
directions only. This property is exhibited by 
crystals which have at least two kinds of axes; 
the colors are the same in the direction of like 
axes, and different in the direction of unlike 
axes, lolite owes its name (dichroite) to this 
property. Mica is nearly opaque in one direc- 
tion, while it is transparent and of a differ- 
ent color in another. Monometric crystals are 
sometimes pleochroic, the color differing in the 
direction of unlike diagonals. 

In uniaxial crystals with monochromatic 
light the two rays corresponding to any 
direction of transmission are in general 
absorbed at a different rate. The faster 
ray may be either more absorbed or less 
absorbed than the slower, the absorption of 
the ordinary ray being independent of the 
direction of transmission, while that of the 
extraordinary varies with the inclination to 
the optic axis, but is constant for the same 
angle and differs most from that of the 
ordinary for transmission normal to the optic 
axis. With white light the color seen in 
any direction will be due to a combination of 
the ordinary and extraordinary rays, and this 
combination will give different tints in different 
directions. Pleochroism is the property of a 
mineral to exhibit different colors in different 
crystallographic directions on account of the 
selective absorption of transmitted light. The 
measurement of pleochrosim is made with a 
device called the dichroscopic (see §14.6.3). 

In 1809 the French mineralogist Pierre 
Louis Antoine Cordier [xxxx-xxxx] during 
his investigation of a new mineral he named 
dichroite revealed the phenomenon of pleochro- 
ism.! 528 ] The mineral was remarkable because 

[52s] pL j^ Cordier., "Description du dichroite, nouvelle 

it exhibited the curious property that its crys- 
tals showed two distinctly different colors when 
viewed along two different axes: a dark blue 
parallel to the [001] axis, and a pale yellow per- 
pendicular to it. In 1813 Jean-Andre-Henri 
Lucas [xxxx-xxxx] , a supporter of Haiiy, re- 
described the mineral, changing its name from 
dichroite to cordierite in honor of its discov- 
erer. I 529 l Haiiy and his supporters retained the 
essence, however, and coined the word "dichro- 
ism" to describe the property of a crystal show- 
ing two different colors. As a note of interest, 
other investigations of the interaction of light 
with cordierite showed that along the third 
axis [010] the color was altered to a yellowish- 
gray. I 530 ! Therefore the term "trichroism" was 
coined, becoming a companion word to "dichro- 

Starting in 1817 David Brewster, [xxxx- 
xxxx] made a general study of the light 
absorption and pleochroism in varoius minerals. 
According to his observations, the prism of 
bluish-green beryl seemed in polarized light 
to turn blue, when its axis was oriented 
perpendicular to the plane of polarization, and 
greenish when the axis was parallel to this 
plane. Analogous phenomena were noted by 
the scientist for other minerals. By 1819 
Brewster had completed a systematic study of 
the absorption of light by crystals, and showed 
that, in uniaxial crystals, the absorption is 
smallest in the direction of, and greatest at 
right angles to, the optical axis. I 531 ! Among 
the minerals he examined with both normal 
and polarized light were sapphire, epidote, 
mica, and cordierite (dichroite). He was, 
however, unable to discover the more complex 

especes minerale," Journal des Mines, 25 (1809), p. 129-???. 
[The mineral was named after GREEK xxx, 'double,' and 
GREEK xxxxx, 'color,' because it transmits two colors.] 

1 529 J J.A.H. Lucas., Tableau Methodique des Especes 
Minerales, 2, 1813, p. 219. 

[530] yy Haidinger., "Ueber den Cordierit," Annalen der 
Physik (Poggendorff), 67 (1846), p. 441-467. 
[531J Y) Brewster., "On the Laws which regulate the 
absorption of polarised light by doubly refracting crystals," 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 
1819, p. 11-28.; ibid., "On the absorption of polarised 
light by doubly refracting crystals," Edinburgh Philosophical 
Journal, 2 (1820), p. 341-348.; ibid., "On the phenomena 
of dichrosim," Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 3 (1820), p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.6 Optical Properties 

laws governing absorption in biaxial crystals. 

Later investigations by John Frederick 
William Herschel [xxxx-xxxx] confirmed 
the property of pleochroism, and brought about 
further substantial progress to the knowledge 
of the optical characteristics, particularly 
absorbtion of light in biaxial crystals. I 532 l His 
paper also gives an elegant explanation for the 
interference rings first observed by Brewster 
in 1818 and which are the keystone to the 
foundation of optical mineralogy studies of the 
19 th and 20 th centuries. 

The absorption of light in crystals 
continued to be investigated in the 19 th century, 
but it did not progress beyond a rule-of-thumb 
system until much later. Among the earlier 
investigators was Jacques Babinet [xxxx- 
xxxx] , who in 1838 discovered that the greatest 
absorption in a crystal generally coincided with 
the direction of greatest refractive index. I 533 l 
He found many exceptions to this rule, 

In 1845, Wilhelm von Haiginger 
[xxxx-xxxx] made a general account of 
pleochroism in crystals. I 534 l Haidinger also 

published again on pleochrosimJ 535 ! 

hi 1854, at the end of his career 
Henri Hureau de Senar.mont [xxxx-xxxx] 
investigated the property of pleochroism. 
Suspecting that the unequal absorption of light 
in different directions occurred because of the 
coloring agents inside the crystal, he created 
some artificial crystals to which he introduced 
coloring agents. As he predicted these crystals 

[532] jp/yy Herschel., "On the action of crystallized 
bodies on homogeneous light, and on the causes of the 
deviation from Newtons scale in the tints which many of 
them develope on exposure to a polarised ray," Philosophical 
Transactions oftheRoyal Society of London, 1820, I, p. 45-100. 
[533] j Babinet., "Sur I'absorption dans les milieux colores 
birefringents," Comptes Rendus, Acad. Sci. Paris, 7 (1838), 
p. 832-833. 

[534] -yy^ von Haidinger., "Ueber den Pleochroismus der 
Krystalle," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 65 (1845), 
p. 1-30.; ibid., "Ueber das Schillern der Krystallflachen," 
Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 70 (1847), p. 574-???, 71 
(1848), p. 321-343, and 76 (1849), p. 99-??. 
[535] -yy^ Haidinger., "Pleochroismus an mehreren einax- 
igen Krystallen in neuerer Zeit beobachtet," Sitzungs- 
berichte der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Classe 
(Wien), 13 (1854), p. 3-17; ibid., "Pleochroismus einiger 
zweiaxiger Krystalle," Sitzungsberichte der Mathematisch- 
Naturwissenschaftlichen Classe (Wien), 13 (1854), p. 306-331. 

became extremely pleochroicJ 536 ] 

1862: Gustav Rose [xxxx-xxxx] I 537 l 

1862: E. Reusch [xxxx-xxxx] I 538 l 

1862: Franz von Kobell [xxxx-xxxx] I 539 ! 

1869: Haushofer [xxxx-xxxx] I 540 ! 

1869: Kosmann [xxxx-xxxx] I 541 l 

1877: P. Glan [xxxx-xxxx] performed 

photometric observations on absorption in 

1877. I 542 l 

1880: H. Laspeyres [xxxx-xxxx] (1880) 
pointed out the existence of absorption axes 
(directions of least, intermediate, and greatest 
absorption) . I 543 l He investigated certain 

biaxial crystals and found that the absorption 
axes, although subject to the symmetry of the 
crystal, did not necessarily coincide with the 
principal directions of the indicatrix. 

In 1888, Henri Becquer.el [xxxx- 
xxxx] made qualitative and quantitative 
observations. I 544 l 

1890: P. Drude [xxxx-xxxx] gave in 1890 a 
theory of the absorption of light in strongly 
absorbing crystals. I 545 l 

[536] j-[ d e Senarmont., "Remarques sur les proprietes 
optiques de quelques sels," Annales de Chimie et de Physique, 
3 Serie, 41 (1854), p. 319-335.; ibid., "Versuche fiber die 
kiinstliche Erzeugung von Polychroi'smus in krystallisirten 
Substanzen," Annalen der Physik (Poggendorff), 167 (1854), 
no. 3, p. 491-494. 

[537] q Rose., "Ueber den Asterismus der Krystallen," 
Ber. Ak. Berlin, 1862, p. 614-???, and 1869, p. 344-???. 

[530] g Reusch., "Ueber das Schillern gewisser Krystalle," 
Annaien der Physik (Poggendorff), 116 (1862), p. 392-???, 118 
(1863), p. 256-???, and 120 (1863), p. 95-??. 
[539] p_ v _ Kobell., "Ueber Asterismus und die Brewster- 
schen Lichtfiguren," Munchen, Sitzungsber, 1862/1, p. 199- 
209.; ibid. , "Ueber Asterismus. Stauroskopische Bemerkun- 
gen," Munchen, Sitzungsber, 1863/1, p. 65-66. 
[540] 77^ Haushofer., "Ueber Asterismus des Calcites," Ber. 
Ak. Munchen, 1869, p. ??-??. 

[541] 77^ Kosmann., "Ueber das Schillern und den 
Dichrosimus des Hypersthens," Neues Jahrbuch fur Miner- 
■;ie, 1869, p. 368-??? and p. 532-???, and, 1871, p. 501- 

[542] p Qi an-5 "Ueber ein neues Photometer," AnnaJen der 

Physikalsiche Chemie, 1 (1877), p. 351-360. 

]543] pp Laspeyres., "Mineralogische Bemerkungen," Zeit- 

schrift ffir Krystallographie, 4 (1880), p. 433-467. 

]544] pp Becquerel., "Recherches sur les variations des 

spectres d'absorption dans les cristaux," Ann. Chim. 

(Paris), 14 (1888), p. 170-257.; ibid., "Sur les variations 

des spectres d'absorption des composes du didyme," Ann. 

Chim. (Paris), 14 (1888), p. 257-279. 

[545] p_ p) ruc ]e., "Das Verhalten der Absorptions-coefficien- 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.6 Optical Properties 

Otto Lehman [xxxx-xxxx] like Senar- 
mont studied pleochroism in artificial crystals. 

Between 1880 and 1900, W. VoiGT 
[xxxx-xxxx] (1885), I 546 ! and P. Drude 

(1900) I 547 ! presented the fundamental theories 
of absorption in crystals. During this same 
period, notable experimental work confirming 
these theories was carried out by W. VoiGT 
(1885), I 548 l Becquerel (1887),[ 549 1 Ramsay 
(1888), P5o] andEhlers (1898).[ 551 1 

1898: WOLDEMAR VoiGT [xxxx-xxxx] in- 
cluded a great deal of information on pleochro- 
ism effect in his important textbook, Die Fun- 
damentalen Physikalischen Eigenschaften der 
Krystalle (1898). 

1902: W. VoiGT [xxxx-xxxx] I 552 ! 

1906: A excellent summary of crystal 
optics was compiled by F. Pockels [xxxx- 
xxxx] and published as his Lehrbuch der 
Kristalloptik in 1906. He includes information 
on pleochrosim. 

1911: T. Crook [xxxx-xxxx] ..J 553 ! 

1903 Georges Meslin., "Mesure du dichxoi'sme du cris- 
taux," Paris, Acad. C. R., 137 (1903), 3 p. 

5.6.6 Optical Anomalies! 554 ] 

ten von Krystallen," Annalen der Physikalsiche Chemie, 40 

(1890), p. 665-680. 

[546] -yy Voigt., "Erklarung der Farbenerscheinungen 

pleochroitischer Krystalle," Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, 

1885/1, p. 119-141. 

[547] p Drude ; Lehrbuch der Optik. Leipzig, S. Hirzel, 


[548] yy Voigt., "Erklarung der Farbenerscheinungen 

pleochroitischer Krystalle," Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, 

1885/1, p. 119-141. 

[549] j-[ Becquerel., "Sur I'absorption de la lumiere au 

travers des cristaux," Bulletin Societe de Mineralogie France, 

10 (1887), p. 120-124. 

[550] yy Ramsay., "Ueber die Absorption des Lichtes im 

Epidot vom Sulzbachthal," Zeitschrift fur Krystallographie, 

13 (1888), p. 97-134. 

^ J J. Ehlers., "Die Absorption des Lichtes in einigen pre- 
ochroitischen Krystailen," Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, 
1898/11, p. 259-317. 

[552] ^y_ Voigt., "Beitrage zur Aufklarung der Eigen- 
schaften pleochroitischer Krystalle ," Annalen der Physik, 
314 (1902), no. 10, p. 367-416. 

[553] rp c roo k., "Some observations on pleochroism and 
idiophany in mineral plates," Mineralogical Magazine, 16 
(1911), no. 73, p. 1-29. 

[554] Further historical information may be found in: Bart 
Kahr and J. Michael McBride., "Optically Anomalous 

REWORK: The optical symmetry of many 
crystals is lower than would be expected from 
their external form and X-ray diffraction data. 
Recently such optical anomalies have been at- 
tributed to nonequilibrium structures resulting 
from kinetically controlled crystal growth. Im- 
purities are incorporated to different extents at 
various surface sites that would otherwise have 
become symmetry-related within the bulk crys- 
tal. After their discovery by Brewster in 1815, 
optically anomalous crystals were the subject 
of lively debate throughout the 19th century 
among some of the most distinguished contrib- 
utors to the development of crystallography in- 
cluding Biot, Berzelius, Herschel, Mitscherlich, 
Prankenheim, Pasteur, Mallard, Klein, Groth, 
Wyrouboff, Barlow, Brauns, Rinne, Pockels, 
and Friedel. From a sea of wild speculation two 
conflicting postulates emerged: that the sym- 
metric form resulted from accidental twinning 
of segments with lower symmetry, or that the 
optical peculiarities resulted from stress due to 
impurities or external perturbations. Neither 
postulate expresses the present view. Interest 
in this research waned at the turn of the cen- 
tury, and after 1917 no one pursued Tammann's 
alternative correct insight. 

1851: From his study of isomorphic 
crystals, de Senarmont concluded in 1851 that 
salts which were chemically and geometrically 
isomorphic may nevertheless have quite distinct 
optical properties. He devised experiments in 
order to investigate the reason why certain 
natural groups of minerals, such as mica and 
topaz, have inconstant optical properties. 

1880s: Mallard showed that anomalous 
crystals are built up of distinct parts, whose 
symmetry is less than that of the whole but 
which are so arranged as to form a more 
symmetrical structure. Pasteur had previously 
shown that whenever a mineral species can 
produce crystals belonging to two distinct 
systems, the more symmetrical form is a 
limiting case of the less symmetrical form. 
Applying this view to compound systems, 

Crystals," Angewandte Chemie International Edition in 
English, 31 (2003), no. 1, p. 1-26. * W.A. Wooster., 
"Brief history of physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: 
J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New 

York, Elsevier, 1990. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

Mallard was able to account for the existence 
of twins and to offer a tentative theory of 

1891: Brauns, in his Die optischen 
Anomalien der Krystalle (Leipzig, 1891) 
published a compendium of all known facts 
about optical properties of minerals. But the 
new techniques provided by the powerful study 
lead to many discrepancies between optical 
theory and observed facts. Some crystals 
with cubic symmetry are, for example, doubly 
refracting when they should theoretically be 
isotropic. Others are biaxial when their 
symmetry suggests they must be uniaxial. 

1910: The study of opaque crystals was 
greatly developed by J. Konigsberger 

1917: Gaubert (1917) studied the rotatory 
power of anisotropic liquids. 

1920: Seve (1920) and Gaudefroy (1924) 
continued the study of double refraction. 

5.6.7 Reflection! 555 ] 

REWORK: The study of the optical properties 
of opaque substances has been closely linked 
with the development of suitable microscopes. 

1813: Berzelius introduced the use of 
polished and etched surfaces for this type of 

1848: Cauchy built a theory of the light 
reflected from metals was put forward. 

1888: Drude worked on antimony sulfide. 

1913-1937: Berek showed what quantities 
need to be measured in anisotropic materials. 

1972: A survey of the subject is given 
by Orcel in Microscopic Study of Opaque 
Minerals (1972) by Galopin & Henry. 

5.6.8 Infrared Optics 

REWORK: 1897: Rubens & Nicois studied the 
'Reststrahlen' (residual rays) obtained when 
infrared rays of appropriate wavelength are 
reflected from surfaces of the crystals. 

1927: A summary of the research carried 
out between 1918 and 1927 is contained 
in Rawlins & Taylor, Infra-Red Analysis of 
Molecular Structure (1929). 

[555J pother historical information may be found in: 
W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical crystallography" 
(pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 

5.7 Electrical Properties! 556 ! 

The relative conducting power of electricity 
through different minerals was a subject of 
minor interest in the early development of 
mineralogical science; however, interest in the 
property advanced with technological growth. 
In the form of either frictional electricity or the 
pyroelectrical effect electricity was one of the 
earliest qualities used to identify a particular 
mineral species. For example, amber was 
known in ancient times to attract small feathers 
after obtaining a static charge after being 
vigorously rubbed. Such curious effects gave 
way to many useful applications as electrical 
technology and theory advanced. Conductivity 
is today a property that is highly valuable in 
ore deposit exploration and it is a property 
that enables many modern electronic devices 
to operate. Every computer has at its heart a 
vibrating crystal regulated by the piezoelectric 
effect that moderates the flow of electrons 
through the circuitry. 

5.7.1 Pyroelectricity! 557 ] 

REWORK: Pyroelectricity was probably first 
observed centuries ago. The Greek philosopher 
Theophrastus, who lived in the fourth century 
B.C.E., probably wrote the earliest description 
of the pyroelectric effect, as exhibited by the 
mineral tourmaline. He described a stone called 
lyngourion that had the property of attracting 
straw and bits of wood. Theophrastus had 

[556J pother historical information may be found in: 
Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte der Elektrizitat. Leipzig, 
Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1884. xx, 622 p. [History 
of electricity; Reprinted, Wiesbaden, Sandig, 1969.] • 
W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical crystallography" 
(pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 

I 55 '] Further historical information may be found in: Wil- 
helm Gottlieb Hankel., "Uebersicht liber die Entwickelung 
der Lehre von der Thermoelektricitat der Krystalle," Ab- 
handlung der sachsische Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 10 
(1874), p. 345-??. [Includes a history of pyroelectricity] 
■ S.B. Lang., Sourcebook of pyroelectricity. London, New 
York & Paris, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1974. 
xv, [1], 562 p., biblio., illus., index. [Contains a good his- 
tory and excellent bibliography of pyroelectricity] • Pe- 
ter Theophil Riess, Die Lehre von der Reibungselektricitat. 
Berlin, 1853. [Volume two, page 453 starts a history of 
pyroelectricity] • W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physi- 
cal crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., 
Historical atlas of crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

thus observed the effects of electrostatic charges 
due to temperature changes of a pyroelectric 
material. Although our present scientific 
interests concern the powers of attraction 
of lyngourion, Theophrastus and subsequent 
authors in the following two millennia were far 
more interested in the origin of the stone and its 
possible therapeutic properties. Theophrastus 
proposed that lyngourion was formed from the 
urine of an animal called a lynx. This was not 
the cat known today but a doglike animal. 

About 300 years later, Pliny the Elder, 
a Roman historian of the first century AD, 
repeated the story, giving the stone a Latin 
name, lyncurium. More than 35 further 
works mention lyncurium, largely repeating 
the accounts of Theophrastus and Pliny with 
some embellishments. These works and authors 
include the Greek geographer and historian 
Strabo (c. 7BC); a collection of Greek 
manuscripts called the Alexandrine lapidaries' 
(AD227-400); Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis 
on Cyprus (c. AD400); the Spanish historian 
Isidore of Seville (c. AD600); and Marbodus, 
Bishop of Rennes in France (c. AD 1100). 
An especially graphic description of the origin 
of lyncurium and its medicinal properties is 
given by Dioscorides, a first century AD Greek 
herbalist: 'But that [urine] of the Lynx, which 
is called Lyncurium, is thought as so one as it 
is pist out, to grow into a stone, wherefore it 
hath but a foolish report. For it is this that 
is called by somme, Succinum pterygopho-ron 
[because it drawes feathers to it], which being 
dranck with water is good for the stomach & 
for a belly that is troubled with a flux.' 

One of the most beautiful of the ancient 
books on natural history is the 'Hortus sanitatis 
major', the 'Garden of health', which describes 
the medicinal and therapeutic values of many 
plants, animals and minerals. Perhaps written 
by Johann Wonnecke of Caub in the fifteenth 
century and was published in Latin, German, 
French, Dutch and Italian editions. Lyncurium 
is described in several chapters. 

Eighteenth Century 

Two thousand years after Theophrastus, the 
unusual physical properties of tourmaline were 
reintroduced into Europe through the publica- 

tion in 1707 of a book entitled Curiose Spec- 
ulationes bey Schlaflosen Ndchten ('Curious 
speculations during sleepless nights'). The au- 
thor of the book, Johann Georg Schmidt, using 
the pen name Immer Gern Speculirt ('Always 
Gladly Speculating'), wrote a series of 48 di- 
alogues, one of which contained a section de- 
scribing hard and glassy bodies which were not 
magnetic. An excellent description of the py- 
roelectric effect in tourmaline is given in this 

The ingenious Dr. Daumius, chief physician to the 
Polish and Saxon troops on the Rhine, told me, that, in 
the year 1703, the Dutch first brought from Ceylon in the 
East Indies a precious stone called tourmaline, turmale, or 
trip, which had the property of not only attracting the 
ashes from the warm or burning coals, as the magnet 
does iron, but also repelling them again. This sight was 
very amusing, for as soon as a small quantity of ashes 
leaped upon it, they appeared to be endeavouring to writhe 
themselves by force into the stone. Soon a few of the ashes 
jumped from it again, as if to leap to the tourmaline again. 
For this reason, it was called the ash-drawer by the Dutch. 
The colour of it was an orange-red heightened by a fire 
colour. When the turf coals were cold, the tourmaline did 
not produce these effects, and it required no care like the 
magnet ... I have considered whether it would not attract 
and repel the ashes of other burning coals as well as those 
of turf; and I have no doubt, that, if heated, it would 
attract other things besides ashes. 

The first description of pyro electricity 
in a scientific journal was by a physician 
and chemist, Louis Lemery, who exhibited 
a tourmaline crystal before the Academy of 
Sciences of Paris in 1717. The naturalist Carl 
von Linne (Linnaeus) was the first person to 
relate the pyroelectric property of tourmaline 
to electricity. He called the mineral lapis 
electricus. The first serious scientific study 
of the electrical properties of tourmaline was 
presented to the Royal Academy of Sciences 
in Berlin by Dr Franz Ulrich Theodor Aepinus 
in 1756. His major observations were that 
tourmaline became electrified by being warmed 
(rather than by friction which was the common 
method in use at the time), and that the 
crystal acquired opposite electric charges on 
two opposing faces. Aepinus' observations 
strongly supported Benjamin Franklin's theory 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

of positive and negative electricity, against the 
strong and weak electricity theory of Abbe 

The usefulness of this new way of 
generating electric charges and its relevance 
to the rapidly developing understanding of 
electricity and magnetism induced many 
others to experiment on tourmaline, including 
Johann Karl Wilcke, Benjamin Wilson, Joseph 
Priestley, John Canton and Torben Bergman. 
Canton was apparently the first person to 
observe that cooling of tourmaline caused its 
electrical polarity to be the reverse of that 
found on heating. He also devised a very 
novel experiment for demonstrating that the 
quantities of positive and negative charge were 
equal. He connected a metal cup filled with 
boiling water to a pith ball electroscope. A 
tourmaline crystal was dropped into the water 
and the electroscope showed no sign of electric 
charge, either then or during subsequent 
cooling of the water. This demonstrated 
that the absolute quantitites of positive and 
negative charge produced on the crystal were 
equal and were neutralised in the water. 

During the nineteenth century, research in 
pyroelectricity began to become more quan- 
titative. As electrical measuring techniques 
of greater sophistication were developed, these 
were soon applied to pyroelectric studies. 

David Brewster, famous for his work in 
optics, was the first author to use the term 
'pyroelectricity'. It appeared in his 1824 paper 
entitled 'Observations on the pyro-electricity 
of minerals'. One of the materials studied 
by Brewster was the 'tartrate of soda and 
potash' - Rochelle salt - which was the material 
in which Valasek discovered ferro-electricity 
almost exactly a century later. Quantitative 
electrometers for charge measurement were 
developed by A. C. Becquerel, James D. Forbes 
and Wilhelm Gottlieb Hankel. Hankel was 
one of the most prolific writers of all time on 
pyroelectricity, and published more than 30 
very lengthy papers between 1839 and 1899. 

Jean-Mothee Gaugain made the first 
precise measurements of pyroelectric charges in 
1859. He reached some important conclusions: 
first, that the total quantity of electricity 
produced by a crystal of tourmaline depends 

uniquely upon the limits within which its 
temperature is varied; second, that within 
the same temperature limits, the quantity of 
electricity produced during heating is the same 
as that produced during cooling, but with the 
signs of the charges reversed; and third, that 
the quantity of charge produced is proportional 
to the cross-sectional area of the crystal and 
is independent of its length. The first major 
theoretical treatment of pyroelectricity was 
published by William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 
in 1878. He was also the first person to 
predict the electrocaloric effect, the converse 
effect of pyroelectricity. A much used technique 
for determining the charge distribution on a 
crystal was developed by Kundt in 1883. A 
mixture of red lead oxide and sulphur was 
dusted onto the crystal. The lead oxide 
adhered to the negative parts of the crystal 
and the sulphur to the positive parts. Jacques 
and Pierre Curie speculated that the electrical 
effects due to non-uniform heating of quartz 
crystals might be caused by pressure, which 
led to their discovery of piezoelectricity in 1880 
(see §5.7.3). Woldemar Voigt, professor of 
physics at the University of Gottingen from 
1883 to 1919, established an outstanding school 
of crystallography, thermodynamics and crystal 
physics. Many of the publications emanating 
from his school are described in his 'Lehrbuch 
der Kristalphysik'. 

During the latter part of the nineteenth 
century and the early decades of the twentieth, 
seven Nobel laureates published papers on 
pyroelectricity. They are, of course, much 
better known for their research in other fields. 

Few important papers on pyroelectricity 
were published in the first two decades 
of the twentieth century. Joseph Valasek 
studied the properties of Rochelle salt and, 
in 1920, discovered ferro electricity. Interest 
in pyroelectricity for a while then virtually 

5.7.2 Conductivity I 558 l 

[558] pother historical information may be found in: 
Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte der Elektrizitat. Leipzig, 
Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1884. xx, 622 p. [History 
of electricity.; Reprinted, Wiesbaden, Sandig, 1969.] • 
W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical crystallography" 
(pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

REWORK: Towards the end of the 18th cen- 
tury the electrical conductivity was one of the 
properties studied for mineral determination. 
However, little was understood of the nature of 
electricity and its value as a diagnostic in min- 
eralogy was limited. 

In 1787, Rene Just Hauy presented his 
first detailed studies of electrical phenomena 
in his Exposition Raisonnee de la Theorie 
de l'Electricite et du Magnetism e, I 559 l in 

which, like Franklin and Aepinus, Hauy 
assumed there was a hypothetical electrical 
fluid and a magentic one. Electrical 

phenomena would intrigue Hauy through out 
the remainder of his life, and he would 
publish several articles about his investigations 
on the electrical properties of minerals and 
crystals. I 560 ! Generally, his method was 

to determine if a mineral showed positive 
and negative electrical charge after being 
rubbed with a cloth (static electricity). In 
1817, Hauy used his mineralogical electrometer 
or ???????????? to study electricity that 
developed when he applied pressure to a 
crystal. This phenomena is now known as 
the piezoelecrical effect and is described in a 
subsequent section. 

Minerals were also studied for their ability 
to generate a current when used in electro- 
chemical combinations. In the year 1806 
Guy ton tested a variety of minerals for their 
electrical production. Using a diamond cathode 
submerged in a water solution, he studied 
the amount of electricity created when other 
cathodes of graphite, stibnite, pyrite, and 
chalcopyrite were submerged in the water. He 
observed that while a current was created, 
some of the minerals also infused the water 
with sulfur from the electrolytic breakdown 
of the sulfide minerals. Guyton speculates 
that a larger version of this process could be 
used commercially in the refinement of sulfur 
containing ore minerals. He suggests that such 
a unit should be built and tested in France, but 

crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 
[559] p^j Hairy., Exposition Raisonnee de la Theorie de 
L'Electricite et du Magnetisme, D'Apres les principes de M. 
Aepinus, des Academies de Petersbourg, de Turin, &c. A Paris, 
Chez la Veuve Desaint, 1787. xxvii, [5], 238 p., 4 plates. 
[560] Add j ist of other ar ti c les here. 

this apparently never happened. 

The following year, Davy successfully 
separated elemental metallic potassium from 
potash by using an electrical current as the 
reducing agent. This important discovery led 
Simon in the year 1808 to reduce many minerals 
through the application of an electrical current. 
Using this procedure he was the first to 
successfully isolate a silicate component (SiO x ) 
from a more complex compound. Davy was 
also able to reduce silicon to its oxide form, 
but believed that it was still a compound. But 
try as he might, Davy was not able to reduce 
it further. 

In the year 1812 a pupil of Hauy, Pellitier 
presented before the royal university in Paris 
his thesis, Essai sur la valeur des caracteres 
physiques employes en mineralogiel 561 ] that 
evaluated and described each of the physical 
properties employed in deterministic mineral- 
ogy In his tenth section, he treats electrical 
properties specifically. Many of his specula- 
tions were later confirmed by other researchers. 

Other French mineralogists of the time 
used electrical conductivity as a property in 
mineral determination, noting if a particular 
species was electrically conductive. But the 
property was never used as an important 
property in determining a mineral's species. 

After Pellitier's study a rather long stretch 
occurs when no new research in the electrical 
properties of minerals are researched. In 1834, 
Heinrich and Hausmann in a rather obscure 
study recorded the results of their research into 
the electrical resistance of minerals. Using a 
Leydner Jar they observed whether a spark 
was initiated when the mineral in question was 
touched to the charge bar. 

In 1838, Rosienscheold examined numer- 
ous artificial and natural sulfur compounds 
for their conductivity by means of an electro- 
scope. He followed the procedure of Heinrich 
and Hausmann in his approach and also used 
the Leyden Jar as a discharge device. 

The year 1838 also saw the publication 
of Faraday's Experimental Researches on 

[561J p lerre Joseph Pellitier., Essai sur la valeur des 
caracteres physiques employes en mineralogie. Theses 

Universite de Paris. Paris, D. Colas, 1812. 26, [2] p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [i200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September i8, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

Electricity, which collected together his series 
of articles that had previously appeared in the 
Philosophical Transactions. Faraday's research 
presented a strong theoretical foundation for 
further studies into electrical phenomena. This 
interest slowly bleed off into mineral studies. 

Karsten in 1847 showed that a large 
variety of sulfide and telluride minerals found 
in the mines of Nagyag, Romania to be good 
electrical conductors. Likewise, he showed 
that quicksilver (native mercury) to be a 
conductor, but found its common sulfide ore 
species cinnabar to not be a conductor. 

Heidmann constructed the "Diagometer" 
to test the electrical conductivity of various 
substances that had been powdered. This 
included minerals. It was developed by 
Heidmann as a new variation of Coulomb's 
Turning Balance. This was later modified by 

Following Faraday's research, Beoquerel 
wrote a textbook on electricity that became 
popular and famous.! 562 ] It went far in 

clarifying the electrical theory of the time. 
Beoquerel also advances the hypothesis that 
some mineral formation occurs in the earth 
by the action of electrocapillaires drawing in 
a mineralized solution and through a process 
of natural electrolysis reducing out the ore 
mineral. He believed that this formation 
occurred over the course of many years. 

The electrical conductivity of minerals 
still locked within the earth was the focus 
of Fox's 1835 study. Working in the mines 
of Cornwall, he successfully measured an 
electrical current at one location after inducing 
the current at another location located much 
further away. This was an exciting result. 
Fox hypothesised from his experimental success 
that some metallic ores are formed by the 
deposition from aqueous solutions through 
natural electrochemical reactions, and that 
new ore deposits are being continually formed 
in the earth along channels through which 
subterranean water flowed. 

Henwood repeated and confirmed Fox's 
experiments. Fox's genetic theory of ore 
formation was violently attacked and rejected 


by other researchers, however. Reich was hired 
by the local mining concern of Freiberg to 
evaluate the theory and determine if there was 
any practical application to be used. Reich 
concluded that there were those individual 
cases where the detection of an electrical 
current could be successfully used to locate new 
ore deposits. It was not until the later half 
of the 20th century however, that Fox's use of 
mineral conductivity would be widely used as 
a tool in geophysics and ore deposit location. 

In 1843, Gustav Rose and P. Riess 
introduced the concept of electrical axes 
or 'polar axes' in crystals, which possess 
asymmetric ends on the crystal terminations. 
Delafosse explained in terms of strings of 

hemihedral molecules. In the well known 

physicist A. Kundt [1839-1894] invented a 
visual representation of the electrical current. 
By dusting the sample with yellow powder of 
sulfur and the red dust of minium near the 
positive and negative ends of the electrical axes, 
the flow of current would cause the particles 
to be carried along through electrostatic 
processes. The method was successfully 

employed by the Russian Kolepko [1856-1946] 
in his study of the polar electricity of quartz 
with respect to its crystallographic symmetry 
(1884). I 563 ! 

Senarmont attempted in 1849 to define the 
electrical conductivity of a series of minerals, 
just as he had thermal conductivity two years 
previously. He established the directional 
dependence of surface conductivity in crystals 
in "Memoire sur la conductibilite superficielle 
des corps cristallisees pour l'electricite de 
tension" (1850). I 564 ! He discovered this 

dependence by wrapping a crystal in tinfoil 
(which had been grounded) and by placing 
a metal point on the crystal surface at a 
point where a circular piece of the tinfoil had 
been cut out; the point was then connected 
to the positive conductor of an electrostatic 
machine, and the whole apparatus was placed 
under the glass bell of an air pump. At 

I 563 ! Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristaUogram XIX vek, 1980, p. 


[564] Annaies de Chimie et de Physique, 3rd ser., 28 (1850), 



On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

reduced pressure he was able to observe, in 
the dark, circular or elliptical figures of light, 
depending on the nature of the crystal. He 
stated that: "The continuous and silent flux 
of the electricity of the rarefied air does not, 
it is true, leave permanent traces; but it 
does manifest itself in the darkness by a 
faint light that persists throughout the whole 
experiment and that makes all its details 
visible..." In this way, he examined apatite, 
beryl, tourmaline, quartz, rutile, cassiterite, 
vesuvianite, sulfur, stibnite, aragonite, calcite, 
barite, celestite, topaz, staurolite, gypsum, 
selenite, glauberite, epidote, mica, and 
feldspar. Senarmont compared the electrical 
conductivity he measured to its optical 
properties and discovered that the greatest 
electrical conductivity occured in a direction 
perpendicular to that of the smallest light 

In 1849, Wiedemann drew figures compar- 
ing the optical and electrical properties of min- 
erals. He included in the minerals he exam- 
ined fluorite, alum, apatite, tourmaline, quartz, 
aragonite, barite, celestite, gypsum, borax, epi- 
dote, and feldspar. He noted that the con- 
ductivity would sometimes vary from Senar- 
mont 's results and it was not always in tandem 
to the optical axis. GARLIC and Root con- 
firmed Wiedemann's observations showing that 
this relationship also arises if the crystal face to 
be examined is covered in COLLODION. 

Riess reported that the best conductivity 
occurs along the direction of the crystal's 
cleavage or on the freshest surfaces from a 
recent fracture. This can be altered due to 
the humitity of the atmosphere, however. The 
later investigations into the Dielectric effect by 
the brothers Curie showed conclusively that the 
best conduction in a crystal is in the direction 
of the optical axes. 

The mineralogist Kobell in 1850 persued 
a different method to measure electrical 
conductivity in his minerals. I 565 ! He held 

his specimens between zinc cathodes that were 
submerged in a solution of copper sulfate. 
He then measured the current coming off 

I 565 ] Franz von Kobell., "??????????????", Munch. 
Anzeigen, 1850, 89-90. 

the tested mineral in relation to the known 
electrical current generated by the zinc and 
copper solution alone. It was a simple 
method to measure a minerals conductivity. 
Unfortunately it often gave Kobell inaccurate 
values for the minerals he studied in this 
way. They included stibnite, arsenopyrite, 
sphalerite, cassiterite, pyrolusite, tetradymite, 
among others. 

Another researcher that attempted to pro- 
vide an exact measurement of a mineral's con- 
ductivity was Wartmann. He investigated 319 
mineral species and showed that 252 to be elec- 
trical insulators. His technique was to apply a 
very strong electrical current to the specimen 
and measure the resulting transmission of the 
current across the crystal face with a very sen- 
sitive Rhumkorff Rheometer. 

In 1855, the first observations on the 
variation of the electrical conductivity with 
direction in a crystal were made on bismuth 
by MatteucciJ 566 ! 

Backstrom did research on the conductiv- 
ity with direction in a crystal of hematite, a 
crystal of rhombohedral symmetry. I 567 ! 

As for the flow of heat, the same 
discussions occurred concerning the equality 
of resistance to electric currents flowing in 
opposite directions on a given crystal and the 
linear or spiral lines of flow from a point source. 
The application of a magnetic field can curve 
the lines of current flow and this gives rise to 
the Hall effect. The Hall effect has in recent 
times been successfully applied to the study of 
semiconductors because it helps to distinguish 
between the positive or negative character of 
the carriers of electric charge. 

Beijerinckl 568 ] in 1897 contributed an 
exhaustive paper upon the electric conductivity 

[566j q Matteucci., "Sur certaines proprietes physiques 
du bismuth cristallise," C.R..Acad. Sci., 40 (1855), 541-545. 
ibid.., "Supplement au memoire com-munique a l'Academie 
sur certaines proprietes physiques du bismuth cristallise," 
C.R. Acad. Sci., 40 (1855), 913-914. 

[567J j-[ Backstrom., "Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Thermo- 
elektricitat der Krystalle," Ofvers. K. Vetensk. Akad. Foerh., 
8 (1888), 553-559. 

[568] p_ Beijerinck, "Ueber das Leitungsvermogen der 
Mineralien fur Elektricitat," Jahrbuch der Mineralogie, 
Beilage Band, 11 (1898), 403-74. [Exhaustive paper on 
the electric conductivity of minerals, together with an 
interesting historical introduction to the subject.] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

of minerals, claiming that electric conductivity 
is a "substantial property which in the case 
of opaque and heavy or massive minerals 
is of the greatest importance" ; that "no 
physical property in itself, between wide 
limits, can he determined with greater 
accuracy than the electrical resistance of a 
substance, and that the changes of this 
resistance, through other physical influences, 
as for instance the temperature, is in the 
highest degree characteristic." His tables 
embraced 375 substances. He concluded that 
the electrical conductivity of minerals varied 
between extreme limits, that it was dependent 
upon the' chemical constitution of the minerals, 
and upon their position in the System. 
Chemically isomerous as well as physically 
allotropic bodies are greatly contrasted in 
their electric conductivity whereas isomorphous 
salts are much less contrasted, and differ 
amongst themselves no more than different 
metals. Slight differences are evident in 
different crystallographic axes in anisotropic 
minerals as in rhombic Marcasite, in the 
direction of the three axes. Monoclinic and 
triclinic crystals are non-conductors, above low 
resistances, but there is no apparent direct 
relation between the class of symmetry and the 
galvanic conductivity. 

5.7.3 Piezoelectricity! 569 ] 

Piezoelectricity is the name given to the 
development of an electrical charge on a crystal 
when pressure is applied to its surface. This 
is only possible in substances that crystallize 
with the requiste degree of asymmetry and are 

After the French engineer and physicist 
Charles Augustin Coulomb [1736-1806] spec- 
ulated that electricity might be produced by 

[569J pother historical information may be found in: 
W.G. Cady., Piezoelectricity. New York, McMillian and 
Co., 1946. • A. Ballato., "Piezoelectricity: old effects 
and new applications," IEEE Ultrasonics Transactions, 
Ferroelectric Frequency Control, 42 (1995), pp. 916-926. • 
ibid., "Piezoelectricity: history and new thrusts," IEEE 
Ultrasonics Symposium, 1 (1996), pp. 575-583. • Shaul 
Katzir., "The Discovery of the Piezoelectric Effect," 
Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 57 (2003), 61-91. • 
W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical crystallography" 
(pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 

means of pressure, in 1817 the great French 
mineralogist Rene Just Hauyl 570 ! and in 1820 
Antoine Cesar Becquerel [1788-1878] I 571 ! per- 
formed numerous experiments in which they re- 
ported certain crystals showed electrical effects 
when compressed. However, reviewing their 
findings it is not clear that they saw pressure in- 
duced electrical current because they reported 
the phenomena in such non-peizoelectric crys- 
tals as calcite. This suggests that they were 
chiefly observing contact electricity. 

Credit for the prize winning discovery of 
this physical property is therefore awarded to 
the brothers Pierre! 572 ! and Paul-Jacques 

Curiel 573 ! who established the relationship 
between this property and a crystal's symme- 
try. I 574 ! Their initial studies observed the 

[570J Rene J us t Haiiy., "Sur l'electricite produite dans les 
mineraux a l'aide de la pression," Paris, Museum Histoire 
Naturelle Memoirs, 3 (1817), pp. 223-228. : ibid., "Nouvelles 
observations sur la faculte conservatrice de l'electricite 
acquise a l'aide du frottement," Journal de Physique, 89 
(1819), 455-462. 

[571] a.C. Becquerel., "Sur le developpement de l'electri- 
cite dans les corps par la pression et la dilatation," Paris, 
Soc. Philom. Bull, (1820), p. 149-155.; ibid., "Sur le 
developpement de l'electricite par la pression," Annals de 
Chimie, 22 (1823), p. 5-34. 

[572] pje rr e Curie (Born: Paris, France, 15 May 1859; 
Died: Paris, France, 19 April 1906) After attending the 
Sorbonne, where he served as preparator in physics and 
received the master's degree and later the degree of doctor 
of science, Curie was appointed to a professorship in the 
Municipal School of Physics and Chemistry in Paris in 
1895, and in the same year he married Marie Sklodowska. 
In 1900 he became a professor at the Sorbonne. In addition 
to his famous work on radioactivity in collaboration with 
Mme. Curie and on piezoelectric and other properties of 
dielectrics with his brother, his researches included the 
principles of symmetry, the design of various measuring 
instruments of great delicacy, and especially the effects of 
temperature on magnetism. [DSB]. 

[573J p au i_j aC q Ues Curie (Born: Paris, France, 1855; Died: 
1941) At the age of twenty he became preparator of 
chemistry courses in the School of Pharmacy and later 
preparator in the laboratory of mineralogy under Friedel, 
at the Sorbonne. He was associated with Friedel in a series 
of publications on pyroelectricity. It "was in this laboratory 
that he and Pierre Curie discovered piezoelectricity in 1880. 
For this discovery the two brothers were awarded the Plante 
prize in 1895. In 1893 Jacques Curie became head lecturer 
in mineralogy at the University of Montpelier. His last 
work in physics was his determination of the piezoelectric 
constant of quartz in 1910. Suffering from a serious 
deafness, he retired in 1925. [Cady, Piezoelectricity, 1946, 
p. ??]. 

I- -I Jacques Curie and Pierre Curie., "Developpement, 
par pression, de l'electricite polaire dans les cristaux 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

phenomena in a number of substances including 
halite, boracite, sphalerite, tourmaline, quartz, 
calamine, topaz, tartaric acid, cane sugar and 
Rochelle salt. In later research, the Curies de- 
scribed the effect in other crystals, the first 
attempt at a quantitative measurement of the 
phenomena in quartz and tourmaline, and the 
practical applications of the crystals. In 1881 
shortly after the Curies announced their dis- 
covery, Gabriel Lippman [1845-1921] predicted 
that applying an electrical field in the ap- 
propiate directions along a piezoelectric crys- 
tal would cause the reverse effect and produce 
changes in the dimensions of the crystal.! 575 ] 
This converse effect was not foreseen by the 
Curies, but in 1881 they quickly confirmed the 
theory showing that the piezoelectric coefficient 
of quartz had the same value for the converse 
of the direct effect. I 576 ! 

In scientific circles great interest was ini- 
tially attached to this discovery. The German 
chemist Wilhelm Gottlieb Hankel [1814-1899], 
who had done considerable pyroelectrical re- 
search did not believe as the Curies did in a 
one-to-one relationship between the electrical 
effects of thermal and mechanical deformation. 
Instead, he believed that this new effect had 
special laws of its own and proposed in 1881 
the name "piezoelectricity" (Greek piezo-= "to 
press") to distinguish it. This term was quickly 
adopted by everyone including the Curies. 

Perhaps the greatest researcher in the 
piezoelectric effect was Woldemar Voigt I 577 ! 

hemiedres a faces inclinees," C.R. Acad. Sci., 91 (1880a), 

294-295. • ibid.., "Sur l'electricite polaire dans les cristaux 

hemiedres a faces inclinees," C.R. Acad. Sci., 91 (1880b), 


[575J Lippmann, G., "Principe de la conservation de 

l'electricite," Arm. Chim. (Paris), 24 (1881), 145-178. 

l 576 l Jacques Curie and Pierre Curie., "Contractions et 
dilations produites par des tensions electriques dans les 
cristaux hemiedres a faces inclinees," C.R. Acad. Sci., 93 
(1881), 1137-1140. 

[577] Woldemar Voigt (Born: 1850; Died: Gottingen, 
Germany, 1919) Voigt studied under F. Neumann, to 
"whose influence his interest in crystal physics was due. In 
1875 he became Ausserordentlicher Professor of physics at 
Konigsberg, and in 1883 professor of theoretical physics at 
Gottingen, where he remained until his death. He served 
twice as Rektor of the University of Gottingen. Besides 
his monumental work in the physics of crystals, he made 
notable contributions in elasticity, thermodynamics, and 
magnetoand electro-optics. [Physik. Zeitschrift, 21 (1920), 

who by combining elements of crystal symme- 
try with symmetry elements of elastic tenosors 
and electric vectors showed in 1890 in which of 
the 32 crystal classes piezoelectric effects might 
occur. For each of these classes Voigt then de- 
rives which of the possible 18 piezoelectric coef- 
ficients might have non-zero values. I 578 ! Voigt 
continued his research and fully explored this 
study in his Lehrbuch der Kristallphysik that 
appeared in 1910 and which was for many years 
the standard reference in its subject. However, 
this was an exception. 

For several decades after its discovery the 
piezoelectrical effect was a mere curiousity, 
unmentioned in many textbooks and regulated 
to being the subject of several obscure doctoral 
theses; however, some practical applications 
became apparent with the start of World War 
I. In France, the physicist Paul Langevin [1872- 
1946] developed in 1918 the idea of electrically 
exciting quartz plates to serve as emitters and 
later as receivers of under water high-frequency 
sound waves. The "echo method" (later to be 
called sonar) has proven an invaluable aid in 
locating immersed objects and exploring the 
ocean depths. I 579 ! Because of this work 

Langevin is justly called a founder of the science 
of ultrasonics. 

Walter Guyton Cady [1874-1974] used the 
vibration of crystal plates under the influence 
of an alternating electrical field to invent in 
1918 the piezoelectric resonator. Producing 
high-frequency vibrations this device that has 
at its core a crystal of quartz or tourmaline 
has many practical applications and may be 
found in quartz clocks and watches, frequency 
controllers for radio, television and computers, 
and ultrasonic wave generation in gases, liquids 

pp. 81-82 by C. Runge; DSB]. 

[57«J -yy^ Voigt., "Ueber die innere Reibung der festen 
Korper, insbesondere der Krystalle," Abh. K. Ges. 
Wiss. Gottingen, 36 (1890a), 1-47. * ibid.., "Allgemeine 
Theorie der piezo- and pyroelectrischen Erscheinungen an 
Krystallen," Abh. K.. Ges. Wiss. Gottingen, 36 (1890b), 

[579J p^ Langevin., Procedes et appareils pour la 
production de signaux sous-marins diriges et pour la 
localisation a distance d'obstacles sous-marins." Brevet 
Francais, no. 502.913 (29 May 1916). • ibid.., "Procedes 
et appareils d'emission et de reception des ondes elastiques 
sous-marines a l'aide des proprietes piezo-electriques du 
quartz." Brevet Francais, no. 505,703, 17 September 1918. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
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5.7 Electrical Properties 

and solids. 

Early attempts at deriving an atomic the- 
ory to explain piezoelectricity were described 
by the Curries,! 580 ] Riecke,! 581 ! Voigt,! 582 ! and 
Lord Kelvin.! 583 ! The renowned physicist Max 
Born provided the most rigorous study when he 
included the dielectric, pyroelectric and piezo- 
electric effects within his general theory of lat- 
tice dynamics. He applied the theory to a small 
series of cubic lattices, and in 1920, together 
with Elisabeth Bormann, he published the first 
theoretical calculation of the piezoelectric con- 
stant of sphalerite.! 584 ] 

5.7.4 Thermoelectricity! 585 ] 

REWORK: Thermoelectricity is the direct 
conversion of heat into electric energy, or vice 
versa. The term is generally restricted to the 
irreversible conversion of electricity into heat 
described by the English physicist James P. 
Joule and to three reversible effects named for 
Seebeck, Peltier, and Thomson, their respective 
discoverers. In minerlogy it is applied to the 
contact of two unlike metals which in general 
results in electrifying one of them positively 
and the other negatively. If, further, the 
point of contact is heated while the other 
parts, connected with a wire, are kept cool, 
a continuous current of electricity will be 

The earliest observation on thermoelectric- 
ity in crystals relates to the sulfides of cobalt 

[580] g ee p rev j ous citations. 

l 5 81J E. Riecke., "Zur Moleculartheorie der piezoelec- 
trischen and pyroelectrischen Erscheinungen," Gottinger 
Nachr., 1893, pp. 191-202. 

! 1 Voigt, W., "Beitrage zur molekularen Theorie der 
Piezoelectricitat," Gottinger. Nachr., 1893, pp. 649-671. 

! 58 3] William Thomson Kelvin, (Lord)., "Theorie de la 
pyro-electricite et de la piezo-electricite," Paris, C.R. Acad. 
Sci., 117 (1893), pp. 463-472. • ibid.., "On the piezoelectric 
property of quartz," Philosphical Magazine, 36 (1893), 331- 

[584] ]yr ax Born and E. Bormann., "Zur Gittertheorie der 
Zinkblende," Annals der Physik, 62 (1920), pp. 218-246. 
[585] pother historical information may be found in: 
Bernards. Finn., "History of Thermoelectricity," Advances 
in Electronics and Electronic Physics, 50 (1980), p. 175-240. 
[A detailed discussion of experimental and theoretical work, 
based on Ph.D. dissertation.] • W.A. Wooster., "Brief 
history of physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: J. 
Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New 
York, Elsevier, 1990. 

and iron. Hankel showed that when certain ex- 
ternal faces were developed the crystals were 
thermo electrically positive relative to copper, 
whereas with other facial forms they were neg- 
ative. ! 586 1 This peculiarity remained unex- 
plained until recently when it was related to 
certain departures from the ideal chemical com- 

hi 1843, Gustav Rose and 

introduced the concept of electrical axes in 
crystals, which possess asymmetric ends on 

the crystal terminations. In the 

well known physicist A. Kundt [1839-1894] 
invented a visual representation of the electrical 
current. By dusting the sample with yellow 
powder of sulfur and the red dust of minium 
near the positive and negative ends of the 
electrical axes, the flow of current would 
cause the particles to be carried along through 
electrostatic processes. The method was 
successfully employed by the Russian KoLEPKO 
[1856-1946] in his study of the polar electricity 
of quartz with respect to its crystallographic 
symmetry (1884).! 587 1 

In 1850 Svanberg used the trigonal crystals 
crystals of bismuth and of antimony to find 
the variation of the effect with direction in 
the crystal. ! 588 1 These crystals both of 

which cleave very readily parallel to the basal 
plane, parallel to the cleavage direction and 
perpendicular to the trigonal and optic axis 
behaved thermo-electrically more positively, 
and parallel to the axis more negatively, than 
any other of these metals. Also the thermo- 
electric current afforded by the two kinds of 
bismuth, or by the two differently cut antimony, 
was of considerable strength. 

Franz, ! 589 1 

Thomson put forward a mechanical 
theory of thermoelectric currents in crystalline 

[586] W .G. Hankel., "Ueber die Thermo-Elektricitat der 
Metalle und metallischen Mineralien (Erze)," Poggendorff 
Ann. Phys., 62 (1844), p. 197-207. 

! 587 1 Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristallograSi XIX vek, 1980, p. 


[588] Svanberg, J., "Experiences sur le pouvoir thermo- 

electrique du bismuth et de l'antimoine cristallises," C. R. 

Acad. Sci., 31 (1850), p. 250-252. 

! 589 1 Pogg. Ann., 1851, 83, 374, and 1852, 85, 388. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.7 Electrical Properties 

solids. I 590 ! 

MarbachJ 591 ! Marbach observed a very 
remarkable fact with respect to iron pyrites, 
FeS2, which crystallises in the cubic class. It 
is often found in actual experiments that the 
rules already stated are apparently materially 
departed from, owing to the altogether 
unexpectedly large disturbing effect of minute 
quantities of foreign enclosures, which are so 
common in mineral crystals, and which often 
generate a current in the opposite direction 
to that produced by the pure substance of 
the crystal. Even more pronounced, however, 
are the apparent deviations when a mineral 
exists in two forms like quartz, currents of 
opposite characters and of equal strengths 
being generated by the two varieties. 

In 1864 Bunsen showed that this subject 
was important to mineralogy, that the natural 
metallic sulphides stand farther off in the series 
than bismuth and antimony, and consequently 
by them a higher electromotive force is 
produced. I 592 ' 

The thermo-electrical relations of a large 
number of minerals were determined by 
Walther Flight [18457-1885]. 

It was early observed that some minerals 
have varieties which are both + and - . 
Rose attempted to establish a relation between 
the positive and negative pyritohedral forms 
of pyrite and cobaltite, and the positive 
or negative thermoelectrical character. I 593 ! 
Later investigations by SchraufI 594 ! and 

Dana! 595 ! have shown, however, that the 
same peculiarity belongs also to glaucodot, 
tetradymite, skuttemdite, danaite, and other 

[590] -yy Thomson., "A mechanical theory of thermo- 
electric currents in crystalline solids," Math. Phys. Pap., 
1 (1854), 324-325. • ibid.., "On thermo-electric currents in 
linear conductors of crystalline substances," Math. Phys. 
Pap., 1 (1854), 266-291. • ibid.., "On thermo-electricity in 
crystalline metals, and in metals in a state of mechanical 
strain," Math. Phys. Pap., 1 (1854), 467-468. • ibid.., "On 
the dynamical theory of heat. Part V. Thermo-electric 
currents," Trans. R. Soc. Edinburgh, 21 (1854), 123-171. 

I 591 ! Compt. rend., 1857, 45, 705. 

[592] Bunsen. Pogg. Ann., 123, 505, 1864. 

I 593 l Rose. Pyrite and cobaltite. Pogg. Ann., 142, 1, 1871. 

I 594 ! Schrauf, Ber. Ak. Wien, 69 (1), 142, 1874. 

I 595 ! E. S. Dana, Am. J. Sc, 8, 255, 1874. 

minerals, and it is demonstrated by them that 
it cannot be dependent upon crystalline form, 
but rather upon chemical composition. 

FriedeU 596 ] 

In 1888 Backstrom carried out a thorough 
study on hematite. I 597 ! Backstrom studied the 
thermo-electricity of haematite with the same 
magnificent specimens as were used for the 
electrical conductivity. Two boxes constructed 
of copper foil were attached to two wooden 
discs, the upper of which was movable by 
means of a screw, and the crystal bar was laid 
between the boxes, good contact being attained 
by means of the screw. Through the upper 
box steam at 100° was blown, and through the 
lower box ordinary cold water was led, in which 
a thermometer was immers.d. To each box a 
copper wire was soldered, and connected to a 
Lippmann capillary electrometer as soon as the 
boxes had attained a constant temperature, the 
thermo-electric power being directly measured 
in volts. 

The Peltier effect was also discussed 
(Liebisch, 1889). I 59 **] 

Perrot,! 5 "! Perrot's researches are also of 
special interest, as he had at his disposal some 
large and very homogeneous prisms of bismuth, 
which is the metal most easily obtained in 
good and sufficiently large crystals It will be 
remembered that the crystals of bismuth are 
trigonal, with basal plane cleavage. But the 
metal has a very low point of fusion, so that 
it has only been possible to study its thermo- 
electrical properties up to 100° C. 

During the years 1847 to 1850 Senar- 
MONT [1808-1850] established the relationship 
between the optical properties of crystals and 
their thermal conductivity. Covering the sam- 
ple crystal face to be investigate with a thin 
flat layer of wax and then touching the end of 
a heated silver wire to a point on that surface, 
circular or elliptical pits of melting wax were 
obtained elsewhere on the face that depended 

[596] Ann ch phys., 17, 79, 1869; C. R., 78, 508, 1874. 

[597] of vers. K. Vetensk.- Akad. Fork, 1888, No. 8, 553. 

[598J Li e bisch, T., "Ueber thermoelektrische Strome in 

Krystallen," Nachr. Ges. Wiss. Gottingen, 1889, pp. 531- 


[599] Arch ScL pnys> et nat Geneve, 1898, 6, 105 and 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.8 Magnetism 

on the planar symmetry of the crystal. Sub- 
sequent investigations were made by Viktor 
von Lang (1866) and E. de Jannetez (1873). 
As a result it was shown that thermal conduc- 
tivity in a crystal may be expressed in the gen- 
eral case as a 3-dimensional ellipsoid.! 600 ] For 
cubic crystals the surface or shape of thermal 
conductivity takes the form of a sphere, while 
for optically uniaxial crystals it is an ellipsoide. 
Orienting these surfaces in crystals corresponds 
to orienting optical indicatrices.I 601 ] 

Investigations into the expansion of 
crystals by heating were conducted in 1865 
by the French physicist A. FlZEAU [1819- 
1896]. He found that for typical crystals the 
amount of expansion in 3-dimensions may be 
expressed as the surface area of the ellipsoides 
of revolution. I 602 ! 

5.7.5 Dielectric Property! 603 ' 

REWORK: In the case of non-conducting 
crystals, instead of variation of conductivity, 
there is measured the variation in the dielectric 
constant. This is the measure of insulation 
or lack of conductivity, and the ability of the 
mineral to hold an electric charge on its surface. 

Wiedemann! 604 ] 

Senarmontl 605 ! 28 (1850), p. 257. 

In 1851 the first experiments on the 
behavior of crystals in an electric field were 
carried out by Knoblauch in a manner similar 
to that used for the study of magnetic 
properties.! 606 ] The conductivity of the 

crystals, both over the surface and through the 
body of the crystal made these experiments 

I 600 ! Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristaUograSi XIX vek, 1980, p. 

I 601 ! Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristaUografJi XIX vek, 1980, p. 

I 602 ! Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristallografii XIX vek, 1980, p. 


[603J pother historical information may be found in: H.D. 

Megaw., Ferroelectricity in crystals. London, Methuen, 1957. 

E.A.H. Tutton., Crystallography. London, 1922, 2, p. 1390- 


[604] p gg en dorffs Annalen, 76 (1849), p. 404 and 77 

(1850), p. 534. 

I 605 ! Ann. Chim. Phys. 

[6U6J ]ir Knoblauch., "Ueber das Verhalten krystallisierter 
Korper zweischen elektrischen Polen," Poggendorff Ann. 
Phys., 83 (1851), 289-299. 

In 1876 Root avoided some of these 
difficulties by employing a rapidly alternating 
field between parallel plates. I 607 ! 

Hopkinson gave a list of dielectrical 
constants of various crystals and glass. I 608 ! 

In 1893 Pockels gave an account of the 
abnormally large piezoelectric constants of 
Rochelle salt (C 4 H 4 KNa0 6 . 2H 2 O).[ 609 l 

In 1919, R. Fellinger determined the 
dielectric values for the axial directions of the 
precious stones, including topaz, beryl, ruby, 
and sapphire. I 610 ! 

hi 1920 Valasek found the same kind 
of hysteresis loop, when plotting electric 
polarization versus the applied electric field, as 
was well known in ferromagnetism.I 611 ] 

The dielectric constant in the ferroelectric 
phase of any given crystals is usually several 
orders of magnitude greater than that of 
nonferroelectric materials. This has important 
applications in the manufacture of capacitors. 
The dielectric loss in ferroelectric materials is 
relatively high and this to some extent limits 
their usefulness. 

Some dielectric materials can retain their 
electric polarization for relatively long periods 
and in this condition are called electrets. 
Examples of this are magnesium titanite and 
some forms of crystalline sulfur. In such 
materials the electric dipole is the analogue of 
the magnetic dipole. In most dielectrics the 
charge leaks away in hours or minutes, so that it 
is possible to obtain electrets with only a small 
number of materials. 

5.8 Magnetism! 612 ] 

L &07 l E. Root., "Zur Kenntniss der dielektrischen Polarisa- 
tion," Poggendorff Ann. Phys., 158 (1876), p. 1-35, 425-461. 

[ 608 ] Phil. Mag., 13 (1882), p. 242. 

[609] p^ Pockels., "Ueber den Einfluss des electro- 

statischen Feldes auf das optische Verhalten piezoelek- 

trischer Krystalle," Abh. Gottingen Ges. Wiss., 39 (1893), 


[ 61 °] Fellinger, Annals de Physique, 1919 60, p. 181. 

I- -I J. Valasek., "Piezoelectric and allied phenomena in 
rochelle salt," Phys. Rev., 15 (1920), 537-538. 

I- -I Further historical information may be found in: 
Edmund Hoppe., Geschichte der Physik, p. 337-344. • 
Stephen T. Keith and Pierre Quedec, "Magnetism and 
magnetic materials" (pp. 359-442) in: Lillian Hoddeson, 
ed., Out of the Crystal Maze: Chapters from the History of 
Solid State Physics. New York, Oxford University Press, 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.8 Magnetism 

REWORK: A few minerals in their natural 
state are capable of being attracted by a strong 
steel magnet; they are said to be magnetic. 
This is conspicuously true of magnetite, the 
magnetic oxide of iron; also of pyrrhotite or 
magnetic pyrites, and of some varieties of 
native platinum (especially the variety called 
iron-platinum) . 

A number of other minerals, as hematite, 
franklinite, etc., are in some cases attracted 
by a steel magnet, but probably in most if 
not all cases because of admixed magnetite. 
Occasional varieties of the three minerals 
mentioned above, as the lodestone variety of 
magnetite, exhibit themselves the attracting 
power and polarity of a true magnet. They are 
then called natural magnets. In such cases the 
magnetic polarity has probably been derived 
from the inductive action of the earth, which 
is itself a huge magnet. 

In a very strong magnetic field, as 
that between the poles of a very powerful 
electromagnet, all minerals, as indeed all other 
substances, are influenced by the magnetic 
force. According to their behavior they are 
divided into two classes, the paramagnetic and 
diamagnetic; those of the former appear to be 
attracted, those of the latter to be repelled. 
Iron, cobalt, nickel, manganese, platinum are 
paramagnetic; silver, copper, bismuth are 
diamagnetic. Among minerals compounds 
of iron are paramagnetic, as siderite, also 
diopside; further, beryl, dioptase. Diamagnetic 
species include calcite, zircon, wulfenite, etc. 

The magnetic oxide of iron, magnetite, was 
known and used by the Greeks and Romans. 
In the 13th century the basic properties of 
magnetic poles were under-stood. I 613 ! Up 

1992. • P.F. Mottelay., Bibliographical history of electricity 
& magnetism chronologically arranged. New York, 1922. xx, 
673 p., index. [Reprinted, Mansfield Centre, Martino Fine 
Books, 1993. An essential bibliography of electrical and 
magnetic phenomena from 2637 B.C. to 1821 A.D. Contains 
at the end, biographical notes on the people mentioned.] • 
W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of physical crystallography" 
(pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 

[613J E Wiedemann., "Beitrage 2, Uber Magnetismus," 
Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch-medizinischen Sozietat in 
Erlangen, 36 (1904), 322-331. 

to the 19th century crystals were regarded 
either as magnetic or nonmagnetic. The 
magnetic crystals are now called ferromagnetic 
to distinguish them from the several other kinds 
which have since been discovered. 

1728: Charles-Francois De Cister- 
NAI Du FAY wrote on magnetism ( 1728)J 614 ] 

1826: Poisson gave a theory of magnetism 
as applied to crystals and predicted the 
behaviour of crystals in a magnetic field 
which was verified by Pliicker in 1847. I 615 ! 
He determined the magnetic attraction of a 
number of substances compared with iron taken 
as 100,000. For example, for magnetite he 
obtained 40,227; for hematite, crystallized, 533, 
massive, 134; limonite, 71; pyrite, 150. 

He studied quartz, zircon, beryl, vesuvian- 
ite and corundum, and related the reaction of 
the crystal to a magnetic field to its symmetry. 
All these crystals were repelled from a strong 
field, unlike the ferromagnetic crystals. They 
were therefore called diamagnetic. 

1850: Several investigations were carried 
out by Pliicker & Beer using torsion balances 
to measure the small forces involved in most 
observations.! 616 ] Not only were some 

crystals repelled from a strong field but there 
were others which were slightly attracted. 
These were called paramagnetic. By the 
end of the 19th century the three types of 
crystal ferro-, dia- and paramagnetic, were well 
established and successful theories had related 
dia- and paramagnetic crystals to their crystal 

1896: Weiss studied ferromagnetic proper- 
ties who explained the hysteresis by supposing 
the atoms to have permanent magnetic poles 
which are normally randomly arranged but be- 
come more and more parallel under the influ- 
ence of an applied magnetic field. On remov- 
ing the field the mutual effect of the parallel 
dipoles tends to maintain the magnetized state. 
He further postulated that there were domains 
within which all the atomic dipoles were simi- 

[614] ????? C.-F. Du Fay, "Observations sur quelques 
experiences de l'aimant," 1728, p. 355-369. 
I 615 ! Pogg. Ann., 74, 343, 1848. 

I 616 ! Pliicker and Beer. Pogg. Ann., 81, 115, 1850; 82, 42, 
1852. and Pogg. Ann., 72, 315, 1847; 76, 576, 1849; 77, 
447, 1849; 78, 427, 1849; 86, 1, 1852. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

5.9 Elasticity 

larly orientated and that the N-S axis could be 
differently orientated in neighbouring domains. 
This theory was widely accepted but no physi- 
cal proof of the existence of these domains was 
given until 1931 with the theory of Bitter. 

The magnetic properties of minerals 
became a subject of special interest in the 
middle of the 19th century. In a paper on the 
polar magnetism of minerals and rocks (1849), 
Achille Delesse noted that many non-ferrous 
minerals are magnetic and that, in crystals, the 
distribution of the magnetic poles is unrelated 
to the crystallographic axes. I 617 ! Studying the 
action of magnetism on different substances, 
Edmond Becquerel was led to introduce the 
effects of the surrounding medium into the 
explanation of magnetic phenomena. 

Faraday studied magnetism ..J 618 ! 

Lord Kelvin also was interested in the 
subject. I 619 ! 

Knoblauch and Tyndall studied damag- 
netism in crystallization. I 620 ! 

1879: Rowland and Jacques. Bismuth, 
Calcite. Am. J. Sc, 18, 360, 1879. Tumlirz. 
Quartz. Wied. Ann., 27, 133, 1886. 

1883: Stenger. Calcite. Wied. Ann., 20, 
304, 1883; 35, 331, 1888. 

1887: Koenig. Wied. Ann., 31, 273, 1887. 

Another reference ...I 621 ! 

5.9 Elasticity! 622 ! 


I 618 ! Faraday. Phil. Trans., 1849-1857, and Experimental 

Researches, Series XXII, XXVI, XXX. 

[619] w ^ Thomson (Lord Kelvin). Theory of Magnetic 

Induction. Brit. Assoc, 1850, pt. 2, 23; Phil. Mag., 1, 

177, 1851, etc. Reprint of Papers on Electrostatics and 

Magnetism, 1872. 

[620] Tyndall. Phil. Mag., 2, 165, 1851; 10, 153, 257, 

1855; 11, 125, 1856; Phil. Trans., 1855, 1. Researches on 

diamagnetism and magne-crystallic action. London, 1870. 

and Knoblauch and Tyndall. Pogg. Ann., 79, 233; 81, 481, 

1850 (Phil. Mag., 36, 37, 1850). 

[621] Alfred Still., Soul of lodestone; the background of 
magnetical science. New York, Toronto, Murray Hill Books, 
Inc., 1946. x, 233 p. [History of magnetism.; Written as a 
companion volume to the authors, Soul of Amber.} 
[622] pother historical information may be found in: 
Dana's Textbook, p. 195. • Tutton, Crystallography, 
London, 1922, 1, p. ??. * W.A. Wooster., "Brief history of 
physical crystallography" (pp. 61-76), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, 
ed., Historical atlas of crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 

REWORK: Elasticity, or the ability of a crystal 
to stretch when pulled was also studied. Some 
minerals (e.g. a sheet of mica) are highly 
elastic, springing back to their original shape 
after being bent. Others (e.g. talc) may 
be readily bent, but do not return to their 
original form when released; these are said 
to be pliable or flexible. Sectile minerals 
(e.g. chlorargyrite) may be cut with a knife 
without being fractured: related characters 
are malleability (e.g. argentite) and ductility 
(e.g. silver). The tenacity, or degree of 
frangibility of different minerals varies widely: 
they may be brittle, tough, soft or friable. 
The fractured surface produced when a mineral 
is broken is called the " fracture," and the 
kind of fracture is often of determinative value; 
descriptive terms are: conchoidal (e.g. quartz, 
which may often be recognized by its glassy 
conchoidal fracture), sub-conchoidal, uneven, 
even, splintery (e.g. jade), hackly or with short 
sharp points (e.g. copper), &c. 

General principals of te theory of the 
elasticity of solid bodies were developed in the 
1820s by the mathmeticaians and physicists: 
M. Mauleg [1785-1836], S.D. Poisson [1781- 
1840], and O.L. Cauchy [1789-1857]. Later 
F. Neumann and his student G. Voigt gave 
an expanded study of elasticity in crystals. 
From their conclusion they demonstrated their 
existed a coefficient of elasticity in crystals. For 
a cubic crystal this has identical maximums 
and minimums in the 3 dirctions of the axes 
of symmetry. Plotting the coeffienent of the 
faces of they crystal shows the geometric shape 
of the property. Those surfaces that correspond 
to the eight faces of an octahedron correspond 
to a circle. [623] 

[Get images from Shafranovskii, istohia 

kristallografii XIX vek, 1980.] 

1827: Navier developed a theory based on 
the mutual action of a regular arrangement of 
particles was advanced for an isotropic body. 


Cauchy studied noncubic bodies. 

Poisson also studied it. 

Green introduced the limitation that 

the force between any two elements of a crystal, 

[623] Shafranovskii, Istoriia kristallografii XIX vek, 1980, p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

6.1 Technological Background 

however small, must lie along the line joining 
their centres. 

1887: Rontgen & Schneider made mea- 
surements of the cubic compressibility of NaCl 
and KC1. 

1874: Baumgarten made measurements 
based on bending bars of calcite as did Voigt. 

1874: Untersuchung der Elasticitatsver- 
haltnisse des Steinsalzes, Inaugural dissertation 
von Woldemar Voigt (1874). 

1876: Voigt made measurement based 
on twisting bars or rods. For a number 
of cubic crystals all three elastic constants 
(or moduli) were thus determined. Voigt 
continued these investigations over the next 13 
years and determined the properties of crystals 
of hexagonal, trigonal and orthorhombic 
symmetry (Voigt, 

Elasticity Tester (c1900) 

Minerals are at their core naturally occurring 
chemical compounds, and the greatest strides 
in understanding them occurred in conjunc- 
tions with developments in chemistry. In fact 
some of the earliest knowledge of chemistry 
comes from the methods used in resting use- 
ful metals from their host rock, as happened in 
antiquity during the Copper, Bronze, and Iron 
ages. Additionally, the compounds most read- 
ily available to early chemists were minerals, 
which therefore made them ripe for study. 

6.1 Technological Background 

REWORK: The technological arts, particularly 
assaying and metallurgy, made significant 
contributions to the advance of chemistry. 
However, the early miners and assayers were 
largely illiterate and left no documentation — 
the techniques they used being passed by word 
of mouth from worker to worker. But in 
sixteenth century Europe, when mining had 
become an important economic activity, there 
appeared books dealing with these subjects. 
These texts are valuable in showing the state 
of the technical arts at the time. 

The books vary from the utilitarian "do 
it yourself" booklets to complete treatises. 
They are all characterized by a practical 
approach, which is not suprising having been 
written by practical men. Little or no theory 
can be found in their pages, the object 
being to teach workable techniques. This 
was highlighted early in the century by the 
appearance of the Ein nutzlich bergbuchley 
(Little Book of Ores) that was frequently 

6.0 Chemical Mineralogy! 624 ) 

I- -I Further historical information may be found in: Jo- 
hann Friedrich Gmelin., Geschichte der Chemie. Gottin- 
gen, 1797-9. 3 vols, viii, 777 p.; [2], 790 p.; [4], 1288, 
[96] p. [Reprinted, Hildesheim, Georg Olms Verlagsbuch- 
handlung, 1965; An early comprehensive history of chem- 
istry, written only a few decades after Lavoisier's contribu- 
tions, by a leading scientist of the time.] • Hermann Kopp., 
Geschichte der Chemie. Braunschweig, Friedrich Vieweg und 
Sohn, 1843-7. 4 vols., 4 portraits. [Comprehensive history 
of chemistry to 1840.] • A. A. Manten., "Historical foun- 
dations of chemical geology and geochemistry," Chemical 
Geology, 1 (1966), p. 5-31. • Seymour H. Mauskopf., "Crys- 
tals and compounds: molecular structure and composition 
in nineteenth-century French science," Transactions of the 

American Philosophical Society, 66 (1976), p. 1-82. • Robert 
P. Multhauf., "The beginning of mineralogical chemistry," 
Jsis, 49 (1958), p. 50-53. • David R. Oldroyd., From Parcel- 
sus to Haiiy: the developement of mineralogy in its relation 
to chemistry. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of New South 
Wales (Australia), 1975. • James R. Partington., A history 
of chemistry. London, Macmillian, 1961-70. Vol. 1, pt. 1, 
2-4. xlv, 370 p.; xxiv, 795 p.; xxiii, 854 p.; xxxi, 1007 p. 
[No more published. Indispensable standard reference in 
the history of chemistry.] • Theodore M. Porter., "The 
promotion of mining and the advancement of science: The 
chemical revolution of mineralogy," Annals of Science, 38 
(1981), p. 543-570. • J.M. Stillman., The story of early 
chemistry. New York & London, D. Appleton and Com- 
pany, 1924. xiii, [1], 566 p., biblio., index. • F. Szabad- 
vary., History of analytical chemistry. Translated by Gyula 
Svehla. Oxford, London, etc., Pergamon Press, 1966. ix, 
[1], 418 p., illus., notes, indexes. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

6.1 Technological Background 

reprinted. It deals primarily with the location 
of ores. Of greater significance to chemistry 
were the Probierbuchlein that began to appear 
around 1510. These small books gave the 
techniques used to assay the metal content of 
ores, but also discuss balances and weights, 
sampling techniques, the touchstone, furnaces 
and crucibles, cupellation, the separation of 
gold, silver, and copper, cementation, recovery 
of precious metals from scrap, and other 
miscellaneous operations on silver and gold. 

Printing was not even a century old when 
in 1540 the first work on metallurgical science 
appeared. The De la Pirotechnia written 
by Vannuccio Biringuccio [1480-1537] was 
one of the first technological treatises ever 
printed. Biringuccio acquired his knowledge 
of metallurgy by traveling extensively through 
Italy and Germany and reviewing the mine and 
metal works he encountered. He was interested 
in the practical aspects of metal technology. 
His book shows a man amazingly lacking of 
superstitious believes, and the contempt he 
holds for alchemy marks him as one of the first 
real chemists. 

A comprehensive treatise on metallurgy, 
the Pirotechniais divided into ten books. Book 
I discusses the treatment of the ores of gold 
and silver, copper, lead, tin, and iron. It 
describes their location, surface markings, and 
recovery. Book II is devoted to mercury, sulfur, 
antimony, alum, arsenic, salts, and borax. In 
Book III cupellation, roasting, and testing are 
treated. The preparation and use of aqua 
fortis in parting is found in Book IV. Alloys, 
casting, furnaces, and molds are the subjects 
of Books V through VIII. The last two books 
are of chemical interest, containing details 
on sublimation, distillation, pyrotechny, and 
allied subjects. The first description of the 
recovery of silver by amalgamation is found 
in Book X. The method for the preparation 
of saltpeter in the Book X is the earliest 
complete account. Agricola's process was taken 
from this source, as was his description of the 
distillation of mercury and sulfur, glass and 
steel manufacture, and the preparation of alum 
and vitriol. 

The Pirotechnia appeared in seven Italian 
and three French editions and was apparently 

widely used. Its unattractive format and poor 
illustrations, as well as to the author's crude 
literary style, and it never appearing in a Latin 
edition all contributed to its influence being less 
than it could have been. In fact, its principal 
influence comes mainly from later metallurgical 
publications that reference Biringuccio's work. 

Georgius Agricola's De Re metallica 
was published posthumously in 1556. It is a 
work that describes in a very lucid manner the 
various metallurgical and mining procedures of 
the time and is richly illustrated with hundreds 
of woodcuts. Although Agricola borrowed 
liberally from previous authors, sometimes with 
only minor acknowledgement, he also includes 
much of his own rich experience that he 
accumulated observing the mining operations 
of Saxony. Agricola deals factually with his 
material giving complete and detailed accounts 
of problems and solutions in mining and 
metallurgy. For a long time it remained the 
standard work in its field, with a German 
translation appearing in 1557, an Italian 
in 1563, and numerous reprints published. 
Like the Pirotechnia, it contains sections on 
assaying, salt preparation, niter, and related 
subjects, in addition to a good discussion of 
general metallurgy. Agricola's contributions 
to chemistry were of lesser influence and are 
largely confined to Book XII of the De re 
Metallica. It is unquestionable, however, 
that the sharp clarity and practical focus of 
his accounts had a wide influence on the 
development of chemical science. 

Another major work of high quality was 
the Beschreibung Allerfilrnemisten Mineralis- 
chen Ertzt vnnd Berckwercksarten written by 
Lazarus Ercker [c1530-1594] and published 
in Prague in 1574. It is a systematic review 
of the methods used in obtaining, refining, and 
testing the alloys and minerals of gold, silver, 
copper, antimony, tin, mercury, and lead. He 
covers the preparation of acids, salts, and other 
useful compounds, as well as describing and il- 
lustrating the apparatus. As inspector general 
of the mines of the Holy Roman Empire, Ercker 
was able to travel extensively and observe min- 
ing and metallurgical operations of all types, 
and his work is based on his own practical ex- 
perience. It covers much the same ground as 


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6.1 Technological Background 

Agricola, but Ercker gives more emphasis to as- 
say methods. Like the treatises before him he 
emphasises the practical aspects of the opera- 
tion, and in particular, Ercker discusses how to 
refine precious metals to remove impurities like 
lead and copper. Other books on metallurgy 
appeared, but none of them were as innova- 
tive as the these classic works, which suggests 
the technology was not advancing much. This 
would remain the condition until chemistry de- 
veloped to a point where it could impact prac- 
tical technology. 

The assay methods described in the works 
of Biringuccio, Agricola, and Ercker are the 
first group of quantitative tests in chemistry. 
The techniques outlined imitate the overall 
smelting process and their objective was to 
accurately determine the amount of gold and 
silver that could be recovered from an ore 
rather than the exact quantity of metal present. 
This approach could also be used to figure 
out purity of the metal used in coins and 
jewelry. It was a useful and practical approach 
to chemistry that the alchemy of the time was 

Apparatus used in the assayors office of 
the time included muffle furnaces and balances, 
with the necessary compliment of items like 
weights, cupels, crucibles, flasks, and tongs. 
The best balances were well crafted devices that 
were sensitive to 0.1 mg and were encased in 
a box with a beamlifting apparatus to protect 
the knife edge of the scale. Weights were not of 
standard sizes but represented fractions of the 
amounts used in large scale operations. Using 
these insturments and much skill, the assayor 
of the time recognized antimony, arsenic, 
bismuth, and zinc as metals distinct from the 
seven known in antiquity. Previously, these 
four had been thought of as stong alloys of one 
of the known metals with other materials like 
lead and mercury. 

Technological books of the time also 
treated other subjects like the making of glass, 
pottery, gunpowder, salts, and acids. Some 
of these arts were reexamined in light of the 
practical changes being introduced. BERNARD 
PALISSY [c1510-1589] experimented with clays 
and enamels used in pottery and developed 
a distinctive glazed stoneware that became 

popular with the French aristrocracy. In 1540, 
Christoph Schirer. of Saxony introduced the 
use of cobalt compounds in the production 
of blue glassJ 625 ! The element cobalt 

was itself was not recognized for another two 
centuries, although miners had encountered 
diffculty recovering copper from it refractory 
ores using standard procedures. Superstition 
caused the miners to believe such material 
was bewitched by the gnomes or Kobalds of 
the mountains. Nickel was causing similar 
problems, and was therefore referred to as 
Kupfernickel, or "Old Nick's Copper." 

Substantial changes characterized the 
Renaissance with respect to the development 
of chemistry. The old alchemy transformed into 
the iatrochemistry founded by Theophr ASTUS 


who later called himself PARACELSUS. Trained 
as a physician, he looked skeptically at the 
alchemists, but recognized that chemistry 
could play a useful role in medicine. He 
introduced iatrochemistry (from iatro meaning 
doctor in Greek), which marks the beginning 
of chemistry as an independent science. It 
turned attention away from alchemy and was a 
preeminent study throughout the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries. In his time, Paracelsus 
was a forceful presence, and his doctrines, 
which opposed the teachings of Galen and 
Avicenna, were viguroiusly championed or 
vehmently opposed by those that came after 

Paracelsus works were published after his 
death. They are difficult to understand because 
of his obtuse and contradictory writing style. 
He shows belief in some of the alchemical 
concepts and incorporated mysticism into his 
writings. His direct contributions to chemistry 
are small, however, because he was a reformer 
of medicine. Yet his embracing of chemistry 
stimulated his followers to experiment, observe 
and ultimately think for themselves, which led 
to the overthrowing of long held learnings. 

Much of Paracelsus' chemistry revolved 
around minerals, because they were the 
chemical compounds available. His Ettliche 
Tractat Philippi Theophrasti Paracelsi ... 

I 625 ! Stillman, The story of early chemistry, 1924, p. ??. 


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6.1 Technological Background 

von naturlichen Dingen that first appeared 
in 1570 was prepared by Michael Toxites 
from previous publications and unpublished 
manuscript material. It is the fullest statement 
about Paracelsus' theory of minerals. His ideas 
about the origin of minerals are typical of 
the age. He believed that the seven planets 
influenced the production inside the earth of 
the various minerals. That the metals and 
minerals grew like roots within the earth, from 
congealing elemental water and comprise: (1) 
metals, (2) gems, (3) salts, (4) mineral springs, 
(5) silver and golden marcasites, (6) common 
stones, including marble, slate, alabaster and 
jasper, (7) sulfurous earths such as yellow 
(amber) and black (jet), and (8) coral, eagle- 
stone, most petrifications and 'lusta naturae' 
(sports of nature) . The colors of gems are due 
to included metal impurities, thus the green of 
emerald comes from copper, the golden hue of 
carbuncle is due to gold, the red of ruby to 
iron, the blue of sapphire to silver, the white 
sapphire to tin, the hyacinth to mercury, and 
each in turn corresponding to particular planet. 
This is how each substance derives its medicinal 
virtue. Paracelsus' view on the generation of 
metals, stones and minerals owes much to the 
Arabic authors. He criticised the old theory 
that they were composed of only mercury and 
sulfur, believing that salt also entered into 
their composition. He recognized seven metals, 
corresponding with the planets, of both male 
and female types, thus iron was female while 
steel was male. He also recognized that many 
undiscovered metals might exist. 

After its introduction, the iatrochemistry 
enjoyed a growing reputation, and became the 
dominate theory of chemistry. 

Andreas Libavius (Andreas Libau) 
[1550-1616] wrote a number of books on 
medicine, alchemistry, and metallurgy, includ- 
ing his Alchemia (1597) that is considered the 
first textbook in chemistry. There is little 
doubt that Agricola's clear treatment of tech- 
nological matters paved the way for the sys- 
tematic approach of its subject taken in the 
Alchymia. Libavius was a teacher and physi- 
cian of the later iatrochemical school, yet he 
was not a disciple of Paracelsus and vigorously 
denounced many of the latter's doctrines. Al- 

though the Alchymia includes some of Llbav- 
ius's own discoveries, he contributed little orig- 
inal material to chemical theory. It is an at- 
tempt to systematize chemistry with a nomen- 
clature that although strange, is clear and log- 
ical in its setting. The term 'alchemia' as in- 
voked in the title of the book is used in much 
the same way the word chemistry is used today. 
Libavius divides his study into 'encheria' that 
deals with the methods, and 'chymia' that deals 
with the materials and their properties. 'Mag- 
isteria' encompasses the substance, its proper- 
ties, and the forces that act upon it. 

It was the practical approach taken in 
the Alchemia that was an innovation. The 
work remained for many decades the most 
important chemical book of its type, emboding 
a complete survey of the chemistry of the 
period and written in clear language with no 
attempt at obscurity. It was a basic text 
studied for chemical techniques by physicians 
and other scientists and included procedures 
for the preparation of zinc, lead nitrate, and 
anhydrous stannic chloride ("fuming liquor 
of Libavius"). His description of chemical 
apparatus is the most complete of its time. 
In many respects, Libavius' intelligent and 
practical discussions are modeled after the 
form of those found in Agricola's De re 
Metallica. They illustrate a transitional 
phase of chemical science being a mixture of 
alchemical and chemical learning, and thus 
among much rational material Libavius admits 
that the transmution of metals is possible. Like 
Paracelsus, Libviaus also wrote considerablly 
on mineralogical matters. His Singulariarium 
Liber IV, quorum I et III de Metallis, 
Lapidibus et Fossilibus (1599-1601) publishes 
lecture notes about the chemical nature of 
minerals, including separation techniques and 
analytical procedures. 

A prominent disciple of Paracelsus was 
Jan Baptist Van Helmont [1577-1644]. 
An extended trip through Europe impressed 
him with the importance of chemistry. He 
gave up his medical interests and devoted the 
remainder of his life to chemical investigations. 
As a scientist, he strove to understand the 
chemistry that made the world around him. 
Van Helmont rejected the theories of the four 


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6.1 Technological Background 

ancient elements and the three Paracelsian 
principles. Instead, he believed that air 
and water were the only basic elements. 
Since air, he believed, underwent no chemical 
changes, water was the basic element of all 
things. Van Helmont is said to represent 
the transition from alchemy to chemistry. He 
was the first to speculate correctly on the 
composition of complex chemical compounds, 
by reducing them to simpler bodies. He 
utilized quantitative procedures in his studies 
and showed for example, that when silver is 
dissolved in nitric acid, it does not loose its 
essence, but only changes form. 

Some alchemists believed that the fact 
that metallic copper appeared when a piece 
of iron was placed in a blue vitriol solution 
was an example of a transmutation. Angelo 
Sala [1575-1640] who was the first to correctly 
recognize that the precipitation of copper form 
a solution of copper sulfate by the introduction 
of iron was not a transmutation of iron into 
copper, but a displacement of the copper from 
solution by iron. I 626 ! Daniel Sennert [1572- 
1627] showed that gold could be precipitated 
from acids in which it had been dissolved, 
because gold atoms retained their fundamental 
essence inside the solution. He also postulated 
four kinds of atoms corresponding to the four 
elements, and suggested that substances of the 
second order were formed by the combination 
of primary atoms. 

The Benedictine monk BASIL VALENTINE 
of St. Peter of Erfurt, probably never 
existed. I 627 ! The many works published under 
his name were probably authored by JoHANN 
Tholde of Hesse, who wrote them during 
the early years of the seventeenth century. 
Tholde claims to have found manuscripts which 
had been written by Basil Valentine in the 
first decades of the sixteenth century, but no 
mention of them is made prior to that time. 
Further evidence is contained in the works 
themselves which reference many chemical 
procedures that were known only a century 
later. Also, lengthy searches of the records of 

[626] Gmelillj Qeschichte der Chemie, 1788, 1, p. 586.; 

Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961, 2, p. 276-280. 

[627] p artington; History of Chemistry, 1961, 2, p. 183-203. 

the monasteries in Germany and the archives at 
Rome by science historians have not turned up 
a monk by that name. Finally, the name Basil 
Valentine, or the "mighty king," has the sound 
of a pseudonym about it. Tholde probably 
invented the identity to secure prestige for his 
publications, and thus make their mystical and 
practical content even more appealing to their 

The works of Basil Valentine clearly show 
the influence of Paracelsus and contain no 
chemistry which was not known to Tholde 
and his contemporaries, although many of 
the methods described are written in the 
symbolic and imaginative language of alchemy. 
The Triumph-Wagen des Antimonii (The 
Triumphal Chariot of Antimony), one of the 
most important books from the fictious pen, 
first appeared in Leipzig in 1604. It contains 
much good genuine chemical knowledge, but 
makes extravagant claims for the effectivness 
of medical remedies containing antimony while 
giving clear directions for the preparation of 
the compounds. The work is generally cited as 
the first scientific monograph on the chemical 
compounds of a single metal. However, a 
study of Biringuccio's Pirotechnia shows that 
most of the material the Triumph-Wagen des 
Antimonii covers was well described a century 
before its publication. Other sources were also 
probably used. It is nevertheless an important 
work that disseminated much useful chemistry 
to a wide audience through its translation into 
Latin and other languages. 

Interestingly, the Haligraphia, das ist, 
Grundliche und eigendliche Beschreibung 
published in 1603, a year before the Triumph- 
Wagen des Antimonii appeared, is the only 
work published by Tholde under his own name. 
It treats the salt works of Lueneburg, with a 
description of the surrounding village, mining 
operations, mineralogy, purifiying, economics 
(including yeilds, costs, wages), etc. It has 
been pointed out that this work bears a 
strong resemblence to the Letztes Testement 
attributed to Basil Valentini and published in 
1626. I 628 ! It was perhaps the slight reception 
the Haligraphia that caused him to publish 


Hoefer, Histoire de Chemie, 1866, 1, p. 481. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.1 Technological Background 

under the name of Basil Valentini. 

One of the last important members 
of the iatrochemists whose contribution has 
been underestimated was Johann Rudolph 
Glauber [1604-1670]. As a medical man, 
he acquired extensive knowledge about acids 
and salts and their interrelationships, but was 
otherwise without formal training. He focused 
his energy on chemistry becoming a very able 
and practical chemist who may justifiably be 
called one of the first chemical engineers. 
Glauber improved the methods of preparing 
several mineral acids, and may have been 
the first to recognize metathesis, or double 
composition reactions. He followed Paracelsus' 
teachings to such a degree he is sometimes 
called "The Paracelsus of the Seventeenth 
Century." He bases his chemical philosophy 
on the three principals of salt, sulfur, and 
mercury, which he follows through out the wide 
range of his publications. Glauber's books, 
like those of Paracelsus and van Helmont, also 
contain much superstition and mysticism, but 
he keeps to a practical approach where chemical 
experimentation is concerned. 

Glauber devised improved methods for 
the preparation of sulfuric, nitric, acetic, and 
hydrochloric acids. The last he called muriatic 
acid (meaning brine) because of the salt 
used in its manufacture. Prior to Glauber, 
hydrochloric acid was created by distilling a 
mixture of ferrous sulphate and salt. Instead, 
he used sulphuric acid and salt to prepare 
the acid and sodium sulphate simultaneously. 
Glauber was the first to describe this sulphate 
product, also known as "Glauber's salt" , a 
substance that he thought was so remarkable 
he called it sal mirabile (miracle salt). By 
dissolving various metals in hydrochloric acid, 
Glauber investigated the medical properties of 
the resulting compounds. It was during the 
preparation of these chlorides that he grouped 
some of the fundamental truths of chemical 
affinity It is clear, even though he uses mystic 
language to describe them, that he grasped 
the nature of several chemical reactions. His 
far ranging interests included explosives, wines, 
and poison gases, about which he predicts their 
use in chemical warfare. He discusses ideas 
about industrial chemistry linked to a national 

economy that were much advanced for their 
time. Glauber's writings may have influenced 
Otto Tachenius [c1620-1690] who developed 
a clear idea that salts are the end result of a 
chemical reaction between an acid and a base. 
The iatrochemists were the pioneers in 
revising the ancient theories. In their writings 
they expressed their view of chemistry, by 
describing what was observed in the laboratory, 
and when necessary breaking with the old 
doctrines. For the first time they made 
scientific discovery through experimentation, 
a philosophy that would soon dominate not 
only chemistry but the whole of science. The 
results of their experiments would show that 
even complex compounds could be broken down 
to manageable components. They showed 
for example, that salts were the product of 
a chemical reaction between an acid and a 
base, and they began to view minerals as the 
results of similar reactions inside the earth. 
These new discoveries were slow to penetrate 
the fabric of daily life and the alchemical 
ideas of transmutation was well as believes 
that minerals grew like roots on some giant 
subterranean bush continued to dominate. 

6.1.1 The Housecleaningl 629 ! 

REWORK: The iatrochemistry of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries brought a practical 
foundation on which the science of chemistry 
could be erected, but the concepts of the old 
alchemy still prevailed. Before the science could 
flourish, a general housecleaning of the old 
ideas had to occur. From the mid-seventeenth 
to the end of the eighteenth century just 
such an expurgation happened. The centuries 
worth of accumulated chemical concepts and 
theories were critically reviewed and on an 

[629J Further historical information may be found in: 
Helene Metzger., Les doctrines chimiques en France du debut 
du XVIIe a la fin du XVIIIe siecle. Nouveau tirage. Paris, 
Albert Blanchard, 1969. [1J-496 p. [History of chemical 
theories in France from the beginnings of the 17th century 
to the close of the 18th century] • David R. Oldroyd., 
"Some phlogistic mineralogical schemes, illustrative of the 
evolution of the concept of "earth" in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries," Annals of Science, 31 (1974), p. 269- 
305. • ibid., "Mechanical mineralogy," Ambix, 21 (1974), 
p. 157-178. • ibid., "Some neoplatonic and stoic influences 
on mineralogy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries," 
Ambix, 21 (1974), p. 128-156. 


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6.1 Technological Background 

individual basis either accepted or discarded. 
Unfortunately, the process was painfully slow 
because there was a tendency to set the garbage 
to the side rather than toss it completely 
away. This meant that periodically the old 
concepts reappeared in a modified form, thus 
handicapping the sciences actual progress. 

During the seventeenth century, chemistry 
was not the only study submerged in the 
ancient ideas. This led to a growing support 
for the experimental approach to science that 
was championed not by scientists but by 
philosophers. Francis Bacon [1561-1626] 
had an optimistic vision of science that he 
expressed in his Novum Organum and New 
Atlantis. He pioneered in leading science 
away from Aristotelian ideas to a study based 
upon fact collecting. In a somewhat different 
fashion the 1637 Discours de la Methode 
by Rene Descartes [1596-1650] introduced 
the principle of systematic doubt, which says 
accept nothing that cannot be established to be 
true. From this certain reality one then would 
deduce an outcome by dividing the problem 
into as many parts as possible and moving 
from simple to complex. This approach was 
successfully applied to studies in mechanics and 

Support for the Baconian view led to 
important chemical work being carried out 
by Robert Boyle [1627-1691], a wealthy 
Englishman whose enthusiasm for science 
stimulated the formation of the Royal Society. 
In 1661 Boyle published The Sceptical Chymist 
in which he set out to demolish the concept 
of the four elements and the three principles. 
He showed that there was no sound basis 
for regarding these substances as elemental. 
Boyle knew from his experiments with acids 
that dissolved sulfates could be precipitated by 
calcium salts, and solutions containing silver 
by the addition of hydrochloric acid. He 
further observed the color of ammonium copper 
oxide resulted from the actions of ammonium 
and hydrochloric acid vapors on copper, the 
amalgamation of gold and silver through the 
introduction of mercury, the reaction of iron 
salts to tannic acid, by which Boyle was able 
to detect iron in haematite. He was able to 
separate gold from copper through treatment 

with nitric acid, and silver from copper through 
precipitation with copper. I 630 ! Boyle's 

works are an excellent source as regards the 
chemical knowledge of his time. He was one 
of those who laid the foundations of qualitative 
analysis. In his ????? of 1672 he utilized 
flame colors, spot tests, fumes, precipitates, 
specific gravity, and solvent action as analytical 
tools. His work with indicators like syrup 
of violets led to the association of various 
acidic and alkaline substances. The value of 
these experiments did not greatly influence 
the contemporaries of Boyle, the theme of the 
period being quantitative analysis, applicable 
only to a particular study or use. Alchemy 
still governed chemistry and chemical studies 
of minerals remained vague and insignificant. 

The principal problem that had to be faced 
was chemical identity. Different substances 
had been confused with one another since 
antiquity, and identical substances were known 
under a variety of names and considered to be 
different. There was no clear recognition of the 
fact that some substances were building blocks 
of which other substances were composed, or 
that subtle replacements could take place in 
chemical reactions. 

In Germany, where chemistry was closely 
associated with mining and smelting, there 
arose a new theory to take the place of the 
ancient believes. Johann Joachim Becher 
[1635-1682] in his Physicae Subterraneae 
(Subterranean Physics) of 1669 concluded 
that all bodies were composed of three 
earths: terra lapidae (stony or vitreous earth), 
terra mercurialis (mercurial earth), and terra 
pinguis (oily earth). According to his theory, 
combustible bodies contained "oily earth" that 
was released during combustion, leaving behind 
only "stony or vitreous earth." When charcoal 
is consumed by fire, the oily earth is driven 
off, leaving behind only a few ashes. Charcoal 
must therefore be very rich in the oily earth. A 
calx or a metallic compound can be returned 
to its metallic state by heating it with charcoal 
because the charcoal is a rich source of oily 
earth, which is absorbed by the calx (oxide) 
to produce the metal. With his new theory as 

I 630 ! Kopp, Geschichte der Chemie, 1866, 2, p. 59. 


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6.1 Technological Background 

support, he zealously attacked the Aristotelean 
philosophy in so far as their belief that elements 
with a peculiar properties exist. 

Furthermore, Becher's theory could ex- 
plain how the different mineral species origi- 
nated within the earth. In fact, he recognized 
that they were many mixtures that were a com- 
bination of two or more substances, and that 
one approach to understanding them was to 
separate the various substances and system- 
atically study them. Becher believes that by 
knowing the components of the combinations, 
one learns a kind of alphabet from which the 
book of nature could be read. Becher advo- 
cates having on hand a collection of minerals 
and compounds made from them to employ as 
comparison material during the analysis. He 
was a proficient chemist, and Becher claims in 
one day to have made 50 such comparisons. He 
further says that in two years time, he had per- 
formed more than 3,000 analysis of minerals, 
that had cost him the small sum of 100 ducats 
spent on the purchase of coal, glass, etc. This 
was exceptional, he remarks, because others 
had spent many thousands without any return. 
It is remarkable and unfortunate that Becher's 
many experiments on the chemical characteris- 
tics of minerals did not led to further research. 

Georg Ernst Stahl [1660-1734] was 
one of the leading chemists of his age. 
He greatly extended Becher's theory in his 
Specimen Beccherianum of 1703. In that book, 
Becher's ideas are developed into an elaborate 
chemical system in which the term "phlogiston" 
replaced the terra pinguis, thus inventing the 
phlogiston theory. Stahl theorized that the 
metals and other combustible substances were 
formed in a combustible earth and described 
that combustion by air driven away from the 
combustible earth. He believed the principle 
of combustion is in the fuel rather than in 
the air. When Stahl asked foundry men what 
function the charcoal played in reducing the 
calx (oxide) to its metal, he was told that the 
metal buried itself in the charcoal to escape 
the heat of the fire. To observe firsthand the 
action of charcoal, he heated a calx of lead 
in a furnace, then dropped small pieces of 
charcoal onto the calx. Wherever the charcoal 
fell on the heated mass, a small bit of lead 

appeared. It seemed obvious that the charcoal 
added some ingredient that was absorbed by 
the calx to create the metal. Stahl theorized 
therefore, metals all contained phlogiston, 
which explained their common properties of 
density, luster, and malleability. It required 
sometime for the theory to accepted, but by the 
mid-eighteenth century, it was predominant. 

The potential comprehensiveness of the 
phlogiston theory proved amazingly good in 
a world in which chemistry was still held 
together by ancient theories. Not only did 
the theory explain combustion and calcination 
as being caused by the loss of phlogiston, it 
explained the smelting of ores equally well. 
Since the oxide of a metal is converted into 
metal by heating with charcoal, a substance 
rich in phlogiston. Stahl argued that phlogiston 
was transferred from the charcoal to the 
calx, converting the latter into the metal. 
Respiration, as well as many other chemical 
changes, were also explained in terms of 
phlogiston concepts. 

Swedish chemists began to dominate 
mineralogical studies. URBAN HlAERNE [1641- 
1724] in his Een kort Anledning till Atskillige 
Malm-och Bergarters Mineraliers Wdxters 
(1694) presents the first important contribution 
to mineralogy, which focused the activities 
of other Swedish researchers to the chemical 
anaylsis of minerals and mineral waters. Many 
subsequent naturalists considered this work 
to be one of the key publications setting 
mineralogy on a chemical foundation. The 
monograph describes the results of various 
analyses on stones and mineral waters that 
Hjarne performed. For example, he notes 
that carbon dioxide evolves from some minerals 
after treatment with acid. Underlying the 
descriptions is a classification showing elements 
of a traditional type. The author distinguishes 
seven divisions: water, earths, stones, metals, 
semi-metals, salts and sulphurs. Other 

subdivisions are noted under some of these 
categories including common stones, precious 
stones, figured stones, useful stones, and stones 
derived from animals. 

Magnus von Bromell [1679-1731] wrote 
a modest, little mineralogy that had a profound 
influence upon the subsequent development 


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6.1 Technological Background 

of mineral classification, but because it was 
based on a chemcial approach to mienralogy, 
also affected that area. Designed as a 
handbook to help the Swedish naturalist in 
their mineralogical studies it is written for 
a threefold purpose. First, to distinguish 
and recognize the principal minerals, and to 
instruct the reader upon the proper names 
of rocks and ores, their nature, habit and 
use. Second, to describe which types of useful 
minerals should be found in Sweden, and third, 
which metals and minerals had already been 
found in the kingdom. This last section 
emphasises those minerals and ores for which 
additional deposits needed to be located. 

In this work, Bromell uses chapters to 
separate the divisions of the minerals, ores 
and petrifications. Within each chapter the 
properties of the group are described. By 
this method, the author developed a mineral 
classification that employs both physical and 
chemical properties. He divides minerals 
into earths, salts, sulphur and sulphurous 
rocks, stones, minerals and semimetals, and 
ores and metals. These divisions parallel 
the classifications of John Woodward and 
Urban Hjarne. Like Agricola, Bromell 
subdivides the earths according to their use, 
into medicaments, earths used by painters and 
dyers, earths used for cleaning and polishing, 
earths used in ceramics, fertilizers, earthy ores, 
and fuels. However, in this early attempt 
at physical-chemical distinction, for the class 
of stones, Bromell is the first mineralogist to 
group together species according to the more 
consistant property of the minerals behavior in 

Through his father, Bromell became a 
passionate collector of minerals and fossils. He 
had inherited the cabinet begun by his father 
and had considerably added to its numbers. 
While studying the collection, he became 
curious about the effect fire had on various 
specimens. Employing the crude qualitative 
techniques of the era, various samples of what 
were classified as stones by Bromell were placed 
in fire and the resulting reactions recorded. 
This lead Bromell to categorize stones into four 
subdivisions: fire-resistant stones, stones that 
calcine, stones that become harder and stones 

that fuse and become glass. Since a stone's 
chemical composition ultimately determined 
its reaction in the fire, and therefore the 
category to which it was assigned, Bromell 
foreshadowed the more elaborate chemical 
classification system to be developed later by 
Fr.iedr.ich Axel Cronstedt. Bromell also 
demonstrates by his emphasis upon describing 
the properties of minerals his interest in an 
orderly description of their natural characters. 

Another Swede, contemporary to Bromell 
was the famous naturalist CARL LINNAEUS 
[1707-1778], who was a physician and one 
of the organizers an first president of the 
Swedish Academy of Science (1739). He 
developed important systematic classification 
of plants and animals that was based on 
the clear subordination of taxons: class, 
genus, type, species, and variation. This 
systematic approach that may be still found 
today in the scientific nomenclature of plants 
and animals was applied by Linne to minerals. 
This application of a naturalistic approach to 
making the study of mineralogy systematic 
had great influence through out the eighteenth 
century into the nineteenth century, but the 
approach really was not suited for mineral 
studies. Since minerals do not birth like 
plants and animals the idea of similar 
families of minerals based solely on external 
appearance was doomed to failure. It would 
require a chemical approach to direct mineral 
systematics along a correct path, and this 
only after chemical techniques and theory 
sufficiently developed. However, Linne's focus 
on studying the external forms of minerals, 
particularly their crystal shapes, would led to 
important discoveries. 

The Chymische Untersuchungen (1746) 
of Johann Heinrich Pott [1692-1777] and 
its two supplements gave the results of a 
reported 30,000 experiments performed by Pott 
to discover the secret of making porcelain. 
The King of Prussia had commissioned Pott 
to discover the secret for making Meissen 
porcelain. To achieve his goal, he employed 
the "dry method," that consisted of heating 
to high temperature in a furnace all manner 
and mixture of substances, mostly mineral in 
nature. The range of reactions recorded was 


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6.1 Technological Background 

a model of comprehensiveness in the chemical 
study of the time and showed conclusively that 
relative reactivity could be discovered through 
planned, interrelated analysis. Pott did not 
discover the secret to making porcelain and fell 
out of favor with the King. But his published 
results had wide relevance to manufacture, and 
were invaluable for the further development of 
theories regarding chemical affinity, especially 
with regard to minerals. 

One of the most widely known opponents 
to Linne's approach to mineralogy was the head 
of the department of chemistry and mineral- 
ogy at Upsala University, JoHAN GoTTSCHALK 
Wallerius [1709-1785]. His Mineralogie, 
efter Mineralriket of 1747 enjoyed wide popu- 
larity being translated from Swedish into Ger- 
man, French, Latin, and Russian. It is consid- 
ered the first detailed textbook of mineralogy 
published, and it contains a systematic mineral- 
ogy based on both. Chemical composition and 
physical characteristics, together with concise 
descriptions of the minerals it describes. 

Another Swedish chemist and metallurgist 
of the time was Axel Friedrich Cronstedt 
[1722-1765], who was the discoverer of the 
element nickle in 1754. He wrote a little 
mineralogical volume the advocated the use of 
chemical composition to develop a classification 
of minerals. He advocated this approach based 
upon the results he and other were obtaining 
with the use of the mouth blowpipe in chemical 
analysis. His book, Forsok Till Mineralogie, 
Eller Mineral= Rikets Upstallning of 1758 
was quickly translated into German, English, 
French, Italian, and Russian. It is the first 
time mineral systematic were based strictly on 
a chemical basis. Cronstedt also improves the 
mineralogical nomenclature, and is the first 
to separate fossils and other geological objects 
from minerals. He was a keen observer, and 
based on chemical tests says that graphite and 
molybdenite are not the same minerals, as was 
then thought, but in fact two totally different 


Torbern Olaf Bergman [1735-1784] 
was another Swedish chemist who left his 
mark on mineralogy. Bergman was a docent 
of physics (1759-1761), adjunct professor of 

mathematics (1761-1767), and head of the 
departments of chemistry and minerlaogy 
(1767-1784) of Upsala University. He 

developed a chemical classification of minerals, 
and attempted to revise the mineralogical 
nomenclature. His last contribution was the 
theory that large crystals were being built 
up of smaller units all of the same shape, 
and that these particles gave the crystal its 
physical properties, such as cleavage. This idea 
had significant impact on the morphological 
description of minerals, that crystals were 
built up from elementary particles shaped like 
rhombohedrons in the case of calcite. In this 
work on the structure of crystals, Bergman 
anticipated Haiiy. In chemical mineralogy his 
fame rests in the techniques he developed in 
qualitative analysis of samples using both dry 
analysis, notably with the blowpipe, an wet 
methods. He led the way in the use of the 
blowpipe, requiring his students to learn its 
use, and making modifications to the tool 
that improved its usefulness. Bergman also 
introduced a large number of reagents to be 
used in analysis, and stressed the importance of 
weighing results during the intermediate steps 
to determine if any material had been gained 
or loss. He was one of the best chemists and 
mineralogists of his day when he died at a 
rather young age. 

6.1.2 The Chemical Revolution! 631 ] 
REWORK: Before 1750 chemistry could not 
really be regarded as an independent science. 

[631J pother historical information may be found in: 
Archibald Clow and N.L. Clow., The chemical revolution. A 
contribution to social technology. London, The Batchworth 
Press, 1952. xvi, 680 p., 110 plates. • E. Grison, M. 
Goupil, and P. Bret, eds., A scientific correspondence during 
the chemical revolution: Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau and 
Richard Kirwan, 1782-1802. Edited by Emmanuel Grison, 
Michelle Goupil, and Patrice Bre. Berkeley, Office for 
History of Science and Technology, University of California 
at Berkeley, 1994. vi, 257 p., illus. • James W. Liana., "A 
contribution of natural history to the chemical revolution 
in France," Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History 
of Alchemy and Chemistry, 32 (1985), p. 71-91. [On a 
major impetus toward a new view of the elements derived 
from Swedish mineralogy and chemistry, especially the 
work of Axel Cronstedt and Torbern Bergman.] • David 
R. Oldroyd., "Mineralogy & the 'Chemical Revolution'," 
Centaurus, 19 (1975), p. 54-71. • Theodore M. Porter., 
"The promotion of mining and the advancement of science: 
The chemical revolution of mineralogy," Annals of Science, 
38 (1981), p. 543-570. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.1 Technological Background 

It had always been ancillary to other fields. 
Alchemy its progenitor was the source for 
man of its recipes, apparatus and theory, but 
that information was purposely shielded in 
the unwieldy allegorical language used by the 
alchemists in their books. Chemistry was 
becoming, however, a tool of the apothecary 
and physician. This was reflected in the many 
theories, which were closely related to medical 
issues. Also, the local apothecary is where the 
chemist of the time purchased their materials. 

The industrial revolution had greatly 
increased the demand for certain chemical 
materials such as mineral acids and alkalis, and 
the need to discovery more efficient methods 
of production placed tremendous pressure on 
practical chemistry. One of the principal 
stumbling points that was hindering chemistry 
was an inadequate theory to explain how the 
science actually worked. The phlogiston theory 
that seemed to have explained so much at 
the start of the eighteenth century, was by 
the 1770s showing its inadequacies. Clearly, 
some fundamental assumption in the idea of 
the phlogiston was not correct, and chemical 
science could not advance until the flaw was 

On to this scene appeared the Frenchman 
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier [1743-1794]. 
He had an exceptional mind that worked out 
theory, while at the same time he could devise 
practical experiments to either support or 
disprove his theory. However, It should be 
emphasized that Lavoisier discovered no new 
substances and devised no improved apparatus. 
Instead, he correctly interpreted the facts 
already known. When he began his chemical 
research, chemistry was still controled by 
the phlogiston theory and was essentially a 
collection of unorganized observations. The 
affinities of substances towards one another had 
been investigated, and acids and bases had 
been described fairly well, but it was hardly a 
science. Using the results of his contemporary 
chemists, in conjunction with experiments of 
his own design, he discovered the role of oxygen 
in combustion and overthrew with impeccable 
logic the doctrine of phlogiston. This laid the 
foundation of modern chemistry. It has been 
said Lavoisier accomplished for chemistry what 

Isaac Newton had done for mechanics a century 


6.1.4 Science of Chemistry 

REWORK: Carl Wilhelm Scheele [1742- 
1786] as well as a pharmacist and chemist who 
was self taught in the chemical analysis, but 
managed anyway to discover the five chemical 

elements , , , , and . Because 

of the many papers he published on organic 
compounds he is considered one of the founders 
of organic chemistry. It is his detailed and 
meticulous analysis of minerals that gave him 
lasting fame. 

Louis Nicolaus Vaquelin [1763-1829] 
was a French pharmacist before becoming 
a chemist. He carried out many chemical 
analytical studies, and is considered one of the 
founders of qualitative analysis. In the School 
of Mines in Paris, where he was a professor, he 
conducted studies on many minerals, which he 
conducted in concert with the crystallographic 
studies of Haiiy. In 1797 his analysis of the 
new mineral crocoite from Berezovsky, Russia, 
derived the presence of an unknown metal. 
By 1798 he had isolated the metal naming it 
chromium. In that same year he first isolated 
from a Siberian beryl crystal a sweet tasting 
element that was later named beryllium by 

Martin Heinrich Klaproth [1743- 
1817] was the first professor of chemistry at the 
University of Belin and the best chemist of his 
time. He stressed the importance of repeatable 
results i hi chemical analysis as well as full 
documentation of the qualitative methods used 
in the procedure. His careful precision led him 
in his analysis of various minerals to discover 
the new elements: zirconium (1789), titanium 
(1795, and independently of Gregor), tellurium 
(1798), chromium (1798, independently of 
Vaquelin), uranium (1789), and cerium (1803, 
independently of Berzelius) . 


He published his mineral analysis in 
various German journals and periodically 


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6.1 Technological Background 

collected them into volumes in his important 

(6 vols., 1795-1815). He also 

authored his Chemical Dictionary (5 vols., 

Johann Gottlieb Gahn [1745-1818] 
was a Swedish chemist and friend of Scheele. 
He operated a mine in the Faluna Region and 
by his expert use of the mouth blowpipe he 
was able to chemically analysis its minerals. 
From pyrolusite he was perhaps the first to 
produce metallic balls. These he sent to Scheele 
who further purified the metal and confirmed 
the discovery of the new element manganese. 
Together with Scheele, Gahn participated in 
obtaining phosphorus from the ashes of horns 
and the bones of animals. 

Hans Gadolin [1760-1852] a professor of 
chemistry at Abo, Finland isolated from the 
black mineral yttrbite in 1787 an unknown 


At the end of the eighteenth century 
there was an explosion of developments in 
chemistry connected with the work of Antoine 
Lavoisier [1743-1794]. He was the first to 
create a scientific explanation of combustion 
and show conclusively that no material is lost 
or gained during the oxidation process. This 
reversed ideas about the phlogiston theory, and 
in fact destroyed the theory. 


6.1.5 Nineteenth Century! 632 ! 

REWORK: The development of mineralogy in 
the nineteenth century continued in lock step 
with the progress of chemistry, with the basic 
concepts and methods being common to both 
sciences. The study of crystallography helped 
create a method for mineral determination, as 
well as connecting information about chemical 
composition with the characteristics of the 
crystal shape and different physical properties. 

[bsz\ pusher historical information may be found in: J. 
Lafaille., "Contribution de la naissance de la Chimie 
minerale au developpement de la Mineralogie ed de la 
Petrographie a la fin du XVHIe siecle," Travaux du Comite 
francais d'Histoire de la Geologie, First Series, 1978, no. 14, 
4 p. • E.M. Melhado., Jacob Berzelius. The emergence of his 
chemical system. Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 
1981. 357 p. 

Early in the century, a dispute arose be- 
tween Berthollet and Proust concerning the 
constancy of the composition of chemical sub- 
stances that would have important repercus- 
sions in mineralogy. The dispute that erupted 
in 1801 developed from analytical chemists and 
the ratio of specific chemical elements (base and 
acid) with in the salts they analysed. 

Claude Louis Berthollet [1748-1822] 
revealed in his publications that he thought 
chemical composition was variable, and that 
the effect of temperature on the density of a 
body would cause the attractive force of the 
chemical elements to change, thereby making 
the chemical composition variable. Berthollet 
supported this view about variable composition 

in chemical compounds in his (1801) and 

(1803) that found many chemists writing 

in support of his view or warring against it. 

The charge against Berthollet was led by 
the French chemist, Joseph Louis Proust 
[1754-1826], who preformed numerous chemical 
analyses on specimens from his own excellent 
mineral collection. In particular, Proust 
studied the properties of silver minerals. He 
believed that Berthollet did not perform his 
analysis on pure samples, but on crystals that 
were composed of different layers that caused 
the chemical composition to vary. Through his 
excellent chemical analysis, Proust conclusively 
showed by 1808 that all chemical compounds 
were always mixed in the same proportions. 

The chemical controversy between Proust 
and Berthollet reflected a deeper schism in 
early nineteenth century science. Scientists 
were finally freeing themselves from the 
heritage and old traditions, in this case 
alchemy. The theorists that defended either the 
iatro chemistry of the phologiston were by and 
large being replaced by the experimentalists 
who developed theory from what was seen 
in the laboratory. For the first time in the 
development of chemistry, the science grew 
through experimental advancements, which led 
to bright prospects for further development. 

A significant role in chemistry was played 
by the Italians Luigi Galvani [1737-1798] 
and Anasasio Volta [1745-1827] with their 
experiments in electricity. They generated 
their electrical current by placing a conducting 


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6.1 Technological Background 

fluid between two different metals. This 
Galvanic pile or battery was another tool 
available to the chemist that led to many 
new discoveries, including the decomposition 
of water, electrolysis of some metals, and the 
discovery of new elements like sodium. 

Chemical developments continued to be 
linked to the study of minerals in the work of 
the Swedish chemist and mineralogist, JoHAN 
Jakob Berzelius [1779-1848]. He was the 
president of the Swedish Academy of Science, 
and one of the greatest scientists of his age. His 
greatest contribution was his development of an 
atomic theory and the correct determination 
of the atomic masses of most of the chemical 
elements known at the time (36 of the known 
49). He applied his atomic theory to the 
devolvement of another chemical theory that 
linked chemistry and electricity, which he 
called 'electro- affinity'. Berzelius developed 
a nomenclature of chemical elements, and a 
method of writing the chemical formulas of 
compound substances and reactions between 

With his determination of atomic masses 
of chemical elements, Berzelius had the 
fundamental component to correctly determine 
the formula of many substances, including the 
minerals the he experimented with. To develop 
his theory, he preformed over 2,000 analyses 
of substances that contained the 43 known 
chemical elements. This allowed him to publish 
in 1814 the first compilation listing the atomic 
masses, which was revised with corrected values 
when his table was published in 1826. From 
his experimental data he was able to establish 
a theoretical framework for various oxides and 
say that oxide compounds are of the form: X 2 0, 
X 2 3 , X 2 , X 2 O s , and X 2 O y . 

Berzelius viewed all chemical compounds 
as having both positive and negative charged 
components, and that the substance was held 
together by the mutual attraction of these op- 
positely charged elements. These electroposi- 
tive and electronegative parts corresponded to 
the base and acid, respectively, of the sub- 
stance. His theory made it possible to explain 
the integration of substances with each other, 
their behavior in solution, an the reason for the 
formation of chemical compounds in strict pro- 

portions. To facilitate the communication of 
his ideas, Berzelius proposed in 1813 to des- 
ignate the element by the first two letters of 
the Latin name of the element, and dropping 
the old alchemical symbols completely. He also 
championed the writing of chemical formulas, 
to consist of the electropositive (base) portion 
followed by the electronegative (acid) part. A 
practice followed to this day. 

In his work, Berzelius investigated the 
chemical composition of many minerals. To 
expedite his investigations, he made liberal use 
of the blowpipe, which he had been taught 
by J.G. Gahn, but which nevertheless was 
improved by Berzelius. Using this useful tool 
he discovered several elements, and was able to 

isolate in an elemental form for the first 


Berzelius was a prolific writer, announcing 
his theories, discoveries, and innovations 
through his numerous scientific papers and 
textbooks. Due to the nature of his 

research, many of these works deal directly 
with the chemical composition of minerals. 
After being sent a large gift of minerals by 
Andreas Ekeberg, Berzelius analysised them, 
and established the large role a flint like 
material played in their composition. He 
proposed the general name "silicates" to define 
this type of mineral formation. Not satisfied 
with the classification of mineral species by 
their physical forms as was then the prevailing 
method, he developed his own classification 
system based on chemistry. In particular, 
he divided the silicates into groups depending 
on the relationship of metals to the silicate 
component (Si x O ), where x is in the ratio to y 
as 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3. 

Although Berzelius was the most signifi- 
cant chemist and mineralogist of the early nine- 
teenth century, others noticeably contributed 
to the chemical analysis of minerals, and in the 
process discovered new chemical elements. 

Carl Gustav Mozander [1797-1858] 
was another Swedish chemist and mineralogist 
who investigated and discovered several rare 
earth elements. In 1839, he showed that the 
cerium earth analysised previously by Klaproth 
and Berzelius actually contained several similar 
elements, one of which he named lanthanum. 


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6.2 Mineral Analysis & Analysts 

In the same year he obtained a pure cerium 
oxide, but metallic cerium (Ce) was only 
obtained in 1875 by the American chemist 
U.F. Hillebrand. Mozander also isolated the 

earth, whose heterogenous nature 

was proven spectroscopically by Bauner, and 
which Auer von Welsbach in 1885 finally 
reduced to the elements praseodymium (??) 
and neodymium (??). Mozander's interest 
and success in studying the rare earth series 
encouraged others to investigate their ores and 
thus were discovered: 


Reference... I 633 ! 

6.2 Mineral Analysis & Analysts! 634 ! 

REWORK: The beginnings of mineral analysis 
are lost in the fog of history. Assyrian, 
Babylonian, Sumarian, Egyptian and Biblical 
records show that a form of fire assay for gold 
and silver dating back to before 2500 B.C.E. 
was generally known, and it can be supposed 
that metallurgists evaluated any new ore by 
assaying a sample. The fire assay of gold and 
silver probably came close to modern standards 
of accuracy by 600 years ago if not earlier, and 
other methods of assaying for other metallic 

[bss\ g j gt Beckmann., "Mineralogische Beschriebung 
und chemische Untersuchung eines griinen, ausserlich dem 
Chrysopras ahnlichen Fossils aus dem Zillerthal in Tyrol.," 
Neue Journale der Pharmacie [Trommsdorff] , 20 (1830), 31-7. 

^ J Further historical information may be found in: 
Frank Greenaway., "The early developement of analytic 
chemistry," Endeavour, 21 (1962), p. 91-97. * Max H. Hey, 
"Mineral analysis and analysts," Mineralogical Magazine, 39 
(1973), p. 4-24. • Herbert A. Laitinen and Galen W. Ewing, 
eds., A history of analytical chemistry. Washington, Division 
of Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, 
1977. xiv, 358 p., illus. * David R. Oldroyd., "Some 
eighteenth century methods for the chemical analysis of 
minerals," Journal of Chemical Education, 50 (1973), p. 337- 
340. • ibid., "A note on the staus of A.F. Cronstedt's 
simple earths and his analytical methods," Isis, 65 (1974), 
p. 506-512. • James R. Partington., A history of chemistry. 
London, Macmillian, 1961-70. Vol. 1, pt. 1, 2-4. xlv, 
370 p.; xxiv, 795 p.; xxiii, 854 p.; xxxi, 1007 p. [No more 
published. Indispensable standard reference in the history 
of chemistry.] • G. Rath., "Die Mineralquellenanalyse 
im 17. Jahrhundert," Sudhoffs Archiv, 41 (1957), p. 1- 
9. • Eberhard Schmauderer., "Kiinstliches Ultramarin 
im Spiegel von Preisaufgaben und der Entwicklung der 
Mineralanalyse im 19 Jahrhundert," Technik Geschichte, 
36 (1969), p. 314-333. * Ferenc Szabadvary., History of 
analytical chemistry. Translated by Gyula Svehla. Oxford, 
London, etc., Pergamon Press, 1966. ix, [1], 418 p., illus., 
notes, indexes. 

ores have been developed since then. Assaying 
is an early qualitative approach to the problem 
of chemical composition. R tells if a specific 
metal is present it does not say if there are other 
elements present. In the eighteenth century 
chemistry developed new techniques of analysis 
that allowed for the quantities of every element 
contained in a substance to be determined 
with accuracy. This had a profound impact in 
mineralogical science. 

The task of the analyst is to choose a line 
of attack for the material on hand, to modify 
existing analytical methods, or if necessary 
invent new ones to carry the chemical analysis 
to completion, and properly interrupt the 
results. In the beginning, even the procedures 
had to be invented, before the chemists could 
show their true skill. Between 1757 and 1781 
Andreas Sigismund Marggraf [1709-1782] 
made many advances of analytical significance, 
including distinguishing between soda and 
potash, the use of ferrocyanide as a reagent 
for iron, the use of the blowpipe and the 
microscope as an aid in the identification of 
salts. I 635 ! Many of his papers were collected 
together in the Chymischer Schriften (2 vols., 
Berlin, 1761-7), which was also translated into 
French by Formey. He was skilled at chemical 
analysis, and studied phosphorus, silver, zinc, 
barite, potash, gypsum, etc. Before his time, 
qualitative chemical analysis of minerals was 
hardly ever attempted, and in fact, although 
Marggraf analyzed many mineral compounds, 
he appears never to have published a complete 
analysis of a mineral. 

Among the first scientific publications 
of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier [1743- 
1794] were his chemical analysis of gypsum, 
submitted to the Paris Academie des Sciences 
in 1765 but published in 1768. I 636 ! In 

his analysis Lavoisier correctly determines that 
gypsum (CaS0 4 ) is a combination of vitriolic 
acid with a calcareous earth and that it has 
the same composition as selenite. He showed 
that plaster, which is made from the dust 

[635] p artmgton; History of Chemistry, 1961, 2, p. 723-729. 
[bSb\ Antoine L. Lavoisier., "Analyse du gypse," Memoires 
de VAcademie Royale des Sciences, Paris, 5 (1768), p. 341- 
357.; Partington, History of Chemistry, 1962, 3, p. 378-379. 


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6.2 Mineral Analysis & Analysts 

of gypsum, hardened due to its combination 
with water. He also provides full geological 
data concerning where the material is found. 
The scholarship displayed in this paper brought 
Lavoisier to the attention of Guettard, who 
invited him to assist in the preparation of 
the Atlas et Description Mineralogiques de la 
France (1780), which mapped the mineralogical 
wealth of France. Interestingly, in a second 
memoir on gypsum that Lavoiser delivered to 
the Academie in 1766, but which was only first 
published in 1865, he shows that gypsum can 
be artificially formed in the laboratory from the 
reaction of chalk and sulfuric acid. I 637 ' 

By the middle of the eighteenth century, 
then, there was a large accumulation of data 
about qualitative analysis that could be drawn 
upon to form a general scheme for mineral 
analysis. However, the trick to a good analysis 
was to place the entire sample into a solution, 
which it was discovered could be achieved by 
fusion with an alkali. This technique had been 
known since the earliest glass makers colored 
their products, but it was not an obvious step. 
Once discovered, however, these procedures 
collectively became known as the wet method 
of analysis. Because the chemical precipitates 
at the various stages could be weighed on a 
balance, it was also called gravimeteric analsis. 

The first chemist-mineralogist to use these 
procedures in his chemistry was the Swedish 
Torbern Olaf Bergman [1735-1784] J 638 ! 
A brillant man, who had persistant ill- 
health, Bergman prepared in a period of 
less than two decades a chemical analysis 
of seemingly every substance that came into 
his posession, including many minerals . 
Among the large collection of papers and 
dissertations published by Bergman and his 
students are essays on: ankerite, I 639 ! tin 

sulphide (1781), I 640 ! stibnite (antimony sulfide, 
1782), I 641 l volcanic products (1777), in 

[637] Antoine L. Lavoisier., "Sur le gypse," Memoires de 
l'Academie Royale des Sciences, Paris, 3rd Serie, 8 (1865), p. 
128-136.; Partington, History of Chemistry, 1962, 3, p. 379. 

[638] p ar tington, History of Chemistry, 1962, 3, p. 179-199. 

I 639 ! X; A, ii, 184. 

I 640 ! XLI; A, iii, 157. 

I 641 l XLII; A, iii, 164. 

which he gives an analysis of basalt (silica 
52, alumina 15, calcium carbonate 8, iron 
25),I 642 1 lithomarge (1782), I 643 ! asbestos 
(1782), I 644 ! the hydrophane (oculus mundi) 
(1777), [645] tourmaline (1779), I 646 ! cassiterite 
(tin) from Siberia (1781), I 647 ! observations 
on minerals (1784), I 648 ! mineral waters of 
Medevi (1782), I 649 ! the precipitation of cobalt, 
nickel, platinum, and manganese (1780), I 650 ! 
magnesia nitrate (1777), I 651 ! and with 

little success, complete analyses of emerald, 
ruby, sapphire, topaz, and hyacinth (probably 
idocrase).! 652 ! 

Bergman is also the first to issue a manual 
that explained the steps in analysing a mineral 
in a general way, Dissertatio Metallurgica de 
Minerarum Docimasia Humida (1780). It 
is an important disseration responded to by 
Petrus Castorin, which is a greatly expanded 
and revised edition of Bergman's earlier 
paper, "Chemisk Afhandling om Jarnmalmus 
Proberande" (1777). The text gives detailed 
and practical methods for qualitative and 
quantitative analysis of 15 different metals 
found in ores, including silver, mercury, lead, 
iron, copper and zinc. The wet method of 
analysis is preferred, he says, because of its 
accuracy even though it takes considerably 
longer to perform than the dry assay method. 

Sadly, the published analyses of Bergman 
are not as accurate as they could have been. 
There were several reasons for this. He 
tended not to consider the contribution of 
some of the less common "earths" in the 
analysis. Sometimes, he would include the 
less accurate results of his students in his own 
work, and finally, the mortar he used to crush 
particularly hard samples would contaminate 

I 642 ! XVIII; A, iii, 184-290. 

I 643 ! XLIV; B, iv, 142. 

I 644 l XLV; B, iv, 160. 

I 645 ! XX; KAH, 1777, xxxviii, 347; A, 11, 54. 

I 646 ! XXXI; KAH, 1779, xl, 224; A, ii, 118. 

I 647 ! KAH, 1781,ii,328. 

I 648 ] XLIX; KAH, 1784, v, 109; B, v, 98. 

I 649 ] 15 XLVI; KAH, 1782, iii, 288; B, iv, 346. 

I 650 ! XXXVI; KAH, 1780, i, 282; B, iv, 371. 

I 651 ! XXIV; KAH, 1777, xxxviii, 213; B, v, 111. 

I 652 l XXL; A, ii, 85. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
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6.2 Mineral Analysis & Analysts 

the test sample with silca, which tricked 
Bergman into believing the original substance 
contained the element. His authority was 
considerable, and his analytical work was not 
questioned until better chemcial techniques 
were developed, which happened shortly after 
his death. Nevertheless, Bergman and his 
pioneering procedures of the "analysis in the 
humid way" was of fundamental significance. 

After Bergman, progress in mineral 
analysis was rapid. Others soon began 

to investigate minerals and precious stones 
chemically, and they began publishing papers 
and books that described their findings: 
Achard,! 653 ! Bindheim,! 654 ! Forster, I 655 ! 

Gerhard, I 656 ! Scheele,! 657 ! Withering, I 658 ! 
among them. In Ireland, RICHARD KlRWAN 
[1733-1812] used "humid" techniques in his 
mineral analyses. By 1784 he was able to 
tabulate 74 analyses of rocks and minerals 
completed by himself and others in the first 
edition of his Elements of Mineralogy. He also 
includes in the book a useful description of his 
analytical procedures. 

By 1800, 32 elements were recognized, 
many of these having been discovered through 
analysis of minerals. The greatest strides in this 
direction were made in Germany by MARTIN 
Heinrich Klaproth [1743-1817], the greatest 
practical chemist of his age. He did not make 
sweeping theories about his science, but instead 
his work reformed chemcial analysis techniques. 
He published many papers on the chemistry of 
minerals that included detailed descriptions of 
his laboratory methods, which show his careful 
and accurate techniques. Periodically, these 
papers were collected together and published 

[653J pY anz c ar ] Achard., Bestimmung der Bestandtheile 
einiger Edelsteine. Berlin, 1779. 128 p., 2 plates.; ibid., 
"Chemische Untersuchungen der Edelsteine" Abhandlungen 
des Miinchen Akademie, 1800, p. 219-350. 

I 654 ! Johann Jacob Bindheim., "???". See Weeks 7th 

1 655 J Johann Reinhold Forster., An Easy Method of Assaying 

and Classing Mineral Substances. London, 1772. 44 p. 

[656J (j aI \ Abraham Gerhard., Beitrage zur Chymie und 

Geschichte des Mineralreichs. Berlin, 1773. 2 vols. 

I 657 ! Carl Wilhelm Scheele., "???". 

[658] \villiam Withering., Outlines of Mineralogy. London, 

1783, being an English translation of T.O. Bergman's 


Chemical Elements Known In 1800 

as a volume of the important, Beitrage zur 
chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkorper, of 
which six volumes appeared between 1795 and 

Klaproth extended mineral analysis in a 
number of new directions. Whereas earlier 
chemists habitually recalculated their result to 
always total 100 percent, Klaproth insisted 
that his results be accurately reported, even 
if they did not total exactly 100 percent. He 
includes information on the weights of his 
samples and reagents, and was at pains to 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.2 Mineral Analysis & Analysts 

remove any potential source for error. Purity 
of his chemical reagents is emphasised, and in 
this era when the chemist had to make his 
own, Klaproth describes processes for purifying 
them. He also chose his apparatus carefully, 
so that unwanted contaminants were not 
introduced to the test sample. He introduced 
the use of agate, flint, and diamond mortars, 
correcting for weight losses in the mortar and 
crucible. He initiated the technique of drying 
precipitates to constant weight, and if ignition 
created a stable residue without alteration, this 
technique was used. Before Klaproth, Bergman 
had suggested the idea of precipitating metals, 
i.e., silver as the chloride, calcium as the 
sulfate, and lead as the sulfide. This idea was 
expanded by him to incorporate other metals. 

Showing his tremendous skill during his 
mineral analyses, Klaproth frequently found 
samples for which the analytical procedures 
failed to total close to 100 percent. This 
suggested the presence of some additional 
element contained in the mineral that had not 
previously been recognized. Leads such as 
this were persued by Klaproth, which led to 
him either discovering or confirming a recent 
discovery of the elements: zirconium, uranium, 
tellurium, and titanium. For example, in 
his 1789 analysis of zircon from Ceylon he 
discovered an earth (oxide) that made up 70 
percent of the composition of the sample. 
Bergman had previously thought this material 
was a combintation of aluminum, calcium and 
iron oxides; however, Klaproth recognized it as 
actually the oxide of a new metal, which he 
named zirconium, which was only first isolated 
in elemental form by Berzelius in 1824. 

In France, Nicolas Vauquelin [1763- 
1829] used "humid" techniques in his mineral 
analyses. Haiiy at the Fcole des Mines 
supplied him with samples of minerals for 
analysis. Generally, these analyses were inferior 
to Klaproth's because Vauquelin paid less 
attention to impurities in reagents and to the 
purity of his samples. Nevertheless, he did 
produce good results. Analysing crocoite from 
Siberia, he isolated a new metal that because 
of the vibrant colored compounds it formed was 
given at the suggestion of Haiiy and Fourcroy 
the name chromium. In the decompostion 

of beryl crystal given him by Citizen Patrin, 
he was the first to recognize the oxide of 
beryllium, an element not isolated until 1828 
by F. Wohler. 

By the late eighteenth century, quantita- 
tive mineral analysis had become recognized 
as an important branch of mineralogical chem- 
istry and many books on the subject soon be- 
gan to appear. Carl Fribdrich August 
Hochheimer authored the 2 volume Chemis- 
ette Mineralogie, oder vollstdndige Geschichte 
der analysischen Untersuchung der Fossilien 
(1792-3), in which he covers the development 
of mineral analysis, together with reviews of 
the various techniques so far established, hi 
1801, LAMPADIUS published what is generally 
considered the first textbook on mineral analy- 
sis with the Handbuch zur chemischen Analyse 
der Mineralkorper (Handbook to the Chemi- 
cal Analysis of Mineral Bodies). The Prac- 
tical Essay on the Analysis of Minerals of 
1804 was prepared for the English readership 
by Friedrich Accum to describe the appa- 
ratus, preparation, purification, and testing of 
reagents, and giving procedures for the analy- 
sis of a considerable number of minerals. Fur- 
thermore, Accum taught classes in chemistry to 
an eagar public at the Royal Institute(?). The 
techniques available were still being perfected, 
and the insturments, in particular the balances, 
were still not accurate enough. Klaproth used, 
for example, a balance that appears to have 
been accurate to one grain (about 30 mg) so 
that although he usually used 5 to 10 grammes 
of a mineral for analysis, his best results could 
only be accurate to one percent, which he 
clearly recognized. Many later workers were 
less cautious. 

In England, William Hyde Wollaston 
[1766-1828] an enthusiastic and talented 
investigator in various fields of chemistry and 
physics investigated the new platinum metal 
being imported from South America since 
about 1750. It aroused the attention of 
chemists because of its chemical inertness, 
and the extremely high temperatures needed 
to melt it — virtually beyound the furnace 
technology of Wollaston's time. He instead 
found a method to prepare a platinum mass 
by the thermal decomposition of ammonium 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.2 Mineral Analysis & Analysts 

chlorplatinate. The process kept secret until 
his death brought him a steady income. 
However, during his studies of native platinum, 
he discovered the two metals palladium and 
rhodium in 1803. Together with osmium and 
iridium, discovered by Smithson Tennant 
[1761-1815] in 1804, they form the platinum 
group of metals. 

With the work of Swedish Jons JAKOB 
Berzelius [1779-1848] the modern period 
of gravimetric analysis is entered. Though 
many improvements were still to come, and a 
large number of chemical separations still gave 
trouble, Berzelius the best chemist of his age. 
In his mineral analyses he devised many new 
procedures and introduced new reagents such 
as hydrofluoric acid for the decomposition of 
silicates and the determination of silica. He also 
greatly improved the technique of analysis by 
introducing the use of a filter paper that when 
burned left little ash behind and the cleaning 
of precipitates by the use of a convenient 
wash bottle. His technical improvements were 
so great that he was the first researcher to 
determine the elemental atomic weights with 
accuracy — a study he used in part to base his 
system of mineral classification (see §9. ). 

In 1821, Friedrich Stromeyer [1776- 
1835] published his Untersuchngen iiber die 
Mischung der Mineralkorper, which was the 
first in a proposed series of volumes describing 
the chemical makeup of minerals. In the 
forward, he writes that it was the influence 
of Berzelius' researches that motivated him 
to prepare this book. It is a collection of 
investigations into the analyses of minerals that 
he has made with the best technique of the 
time. Thirty species are treated including 
aragonite, aluminite, magnesite, strontianite, 
boracite, apophyllite and spodumene. In 
several cases Stromeyer presents analyses from 
multiple localities to show that the composition 
of a mineral species does not vary much deposit 
to deposit. Unfortunately, no more volumes 
were published, although Stromeyer continued 
publishing papers dealing with the chemical 
analysis of minerals.! 659 ] 

]659J j^ complete list of Stromeyer's papers can be found in 
the Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers, ??, p. ??-??. 

By the first decades of the nineteenth 
century, as is shown by the 1829 first edition 
of the Handbuch der analytischen Chemie 
of Heinrich Rose [1795-1864], a set of 
workable methods for the separation and 
determination of each of the known elements 
was available. The techniques and instruments 
used in wet gravimeteric analysis had advanced 
to a point where the priority shifted from 
manipulation of the samples to discovering 
new procedures and chemical reagents that 
would give results of greater accuracy. The 
remainder of that century saw hundreds of new 
procedures devised, many of which arose out 
of the discovery of new minerals, elements, 
and compounds. Still others came from 
the application of chemistry to problems in 
industry, agriculture, and medicine. 

Among the many important new pro- 
cedures were, for example, the molyb- 
date method for phosphorus, introduced 
by Franz Leopold Sonnenschein [1819- 
1879],[ 66 °1 and the method for the deter- 
mination of alkalies in silicate minerals and 
rocks, devised by J. Lawrence Smith [1818- 
1883]. I 661 ! Elaborate schemes were also de- 
vised for the analysis of complex materials, a 
notable example being that of William Fran- 
cis HlLLEBRAND [1853-1925] for the complete 
analysis of silicate and carbonate rocks. I 662 ! 

The chemist Karl Remigius Fresenius 
[1818-1897] is generally recognized as the leader 
in the development of chemical analysis in 
general and gravimetric analysis during the 
second half of the nineteenth century. He 
opened in 1848 a laboratory that became 
a center for training analytical chemists, 
for research on methods of analysis, and 
for commercial analytical work done for 
individuals, government bodies, and industry. 
Students there used his textbook, Anleitung 
zur qualitativen chemischen Analyse first 
published in 1846, that contains instructive 
procedures for the qualitatitive analysis of all 

[660] pL Sonnenschein., "???," Journ. prakt. Chem. 
(Erdmann), 53 (1851), p. 339. 

^ J J.L. Smith., "???," American Journal of Science, series 
2, 15 (1853), p. 234; 16 (1854), p. 53. 

[662] WF> Hillebrand., "???," Journal of the American 
Chemical Society, 16 (1894), p. 90. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 

the known elements. Because pure reagents 
were not commercially available at the time, 
detailed directions for their preparation are 
also included.! 663 ] The book was 

immediately recognized as a work of superior 
merit. Six editions were published until 1898, 
the year after Frensenius' death, together 
with translations into Chinese, Danish, Dutch, 
English, French, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. 
It became (and still is) the best textbook 
on chemical analysis written.! 664 ] Much 

information on the chemistry of minerals is 
contained within its pages, with the first part 
devoted to qualitative analysis of minerals. 

Together with the newly devised proce- 
dures, new inventions stimulated analysis. Un- 
til the mid nineteenth century, charcoal was 
often used as the fuel for furnaces and ovens 
and alcohol for laboratory burners. In 1855 
Robert Wilhelm Bunsen [1811-1899] in- 
vented the convenient and clean gas burner that 
still bears his name. In 1878, Frank Austin 
Gooch [1852-1929] invented the glazed porce- 
lain filter crucible that is used in high temper- 
ature analysis. 

6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 

REWORK: Lavoisier's new theory of chemistry 
was gradually accepted, and by the end of 
the 18th century even England and Germany, 
where any ideas originating from revolutionary 
France were treated with grave distrust, had 
accepted the new theory. But at this time 
the laws governing stoichiometry, despite the 
valuable work of Richter, Proust and Dalton 
were not conclusive enough to be used for 
exact calculations. Dalton's atomic theory, and 
also the laws of stoichiometry, only became 
an integral part of quantitative analysis after 
accurate values of the atomic weights had been 
established. This work was carried out by 
Berzelius at the beginning of the 19th century, 

[bbs\ The first reagents of guaranteed purity were placed 
on sale by the Kahlbaum Co. in Germany in 1880. 
[664J K ar ] Remigius Fresenius., Quantitative chemical 
analysis, by the late Dr. C. Remigius Fresenius ... Authorized 
translation of the greatly amplified and revised 6th German 
edition, by Alfred I. Cohn. New York, J. Wiley & Sons, 
1904. 2 vols. [The great quantitative chemistry textbook, 
translated into English.] 

and his invaluable work marks the start of a 
new period in chemical history. 

Berzelius's work was furthered in that 
he was able to rely on a large amount of 
analytical information, which had not been 
available to Wenzel or Richter. This was largely 
due to the rapid development of mineralogy 
between the years 1790-1810. During this 
time the quantitative composition of a large 
number of minerals and naturally occurring 
salts was established with a fair degree of 
accuracy. Mineral analysis was the primary 
concern of chemists throughout Europe at this 
time, but three names stand out above the 
others. Kirwan, Klaproth and Vauquelin, 
although only slightly more illustrious than 
most of their contemporaries, give a good 
impression of the manner in which analysis was 
carried out in Europe at that time. 

Richard Kirwan was born in Ireland in 
1735, where he first studied and practiced law. 
However, being a rich man he soon retired and 
lived in London and Dublin, and at his country 
estate, where he engaged himself in the study 
of science as a hobby. His main interest was 
in analysis. He was a member of the Royal 
Society, and for a long time he supported the 
phlogiston theory in opposition to Lavoisier, 
but eventually realized that it was untenable. 
He died in Dublin in 1812. 

Kirwan describes many types of salts, 
and the results of his analyses were extremely 
accurate, a fact which assisted both Richter 
and Berzelius in their investigations on 
stoichiometry. However, there was little in 
his work which was new, the main object 
being to make Bergman's methods of water 
analysis quicker and more simple. His work was 
published in London in 1799, under the title An 
Essay on the Analysis of Mineral Waters. 

Kirwan's book is outstanding, mainly 
because of its comprehensive list of references, 
which summarize all the work carried out in 
the field of water analysis since the time of 
Bergman. The first part of the book describes 
the various compounds which can be found in 
water. Some of his observations in this section 
are remarkable. For example, he noted that: 

Aerated lime is itself soluble in an excess 
of fixed air (C02), as Mr. Cavendish 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 

first discovered, and here two questions arise 
important to subsequent calculations, namely 
what quantity of aerated lime can be held 
in solution by a given volume of water fully 
aerated ... (p. 17). 

He also compared the available informa- 
tion concerning this problem, but did not arrive 
at a definite conclusion. 

In the second part of his book he describes 
the various tests that can he applied to 
identify the various compounds. There is 
little or no reference to any new reactions, 
the only difference being that the book is 
classified according to the different compounds, 
and alongside each is given the test for its 
identification. Carbon monoxide, which was 
discovered by Priestley, is also referred to in 
the section on gases; Heavy inflammable air or 
carbonated hydrogen. This air is distinguished 
by the fact that it burns without explosion 
when mixed with common air. It is not 
absorbed by limewater, but water over which it 
is burned precipitates lime-water, as fixed air is 

As can be seen, Kirwan had discontinued 
the use of the phlogiston nomenclature. One 
of the reagents that he used was boric acid, 
and he observed that it gave a precipitate with 
lead nitrate, but that carbonates and sulphates 
must first be removed (p. 84). 

Kirwan also carried out interference 
studies (p. 136) and records the salts which 
cannot be present for a given salt being 
determined, although he mentions the fact 
that in some cases small quantities of the 
interfering salt do not have much effect. As 
examples of salts which cannot be determined 
in the presence of each other, he gives the 
alkali carbonates and metal salts, the alkali 
sulfates and the alkaline earth salts, magnesium 
sulphate and calcium nitrate or chloride, and 
magnesium nitrate and calcium nitrate or 
sodium nitrate (?). The reasons for some of 
these salt pairs being classified as interfering is 
not very clear. 

Kirwan suggests a simple procedure for 
the determination of the total salt content 
of water without the need for a quantitative 

There is a method of calculating the 

quantity of salt in 1000 parts of a saline solution 

whose specific gravity is known, which, 
however inaccurate, is yet useful in many cases 
as the error does not exceed 1 or 2 per cent, and 
sometimes is less than 1 per cent. It consists 

simply in subtracting 1000 from the given 
specific gravity expressed in whole numbers, 
and multiplying the product by 1.4. It gives 
the weight of the salts in their most desiccated 

state and consequently freed from their 
water of crystallization. The weight of fixed air 
(C02) must also be included, thus for a solution 
of common salt having its specific gravity 

1.079, I find the difference from 1000 is ... 
79 and 79 x 1.4 = 110.6, then 100 gr of such 
solution contain 110.6 gr of common salt ... (p. 

He also mentions the error involved in the 
analysis carried out with "tests" which had 
been mentioned by other authors, that it does 
not give any indication which acid reacts with 
which base to form the salt. He concludes by 
saying that 

The usual method of applying tests is 
similar to that of sending out adventurers to 
an unknown country to see what discoveries 
they can make, hence that indications are 
vague and unconnected. Whereas if they 
were limited to some particular object, and so 
combined and arranged to prove or disprove its 
existence, their indications might be rendered 
certain and precise; and such information I 
have already shown them capable of conveying, 
when employed with single and definite views 
(p. 162). 

He elaborates this view later in his book. 

After this Kirwan deals with the practical 
aspects of analysis, and differences between 
qualitative and the quantitative examinations 
The Analysis of a Mineral Water embraces, 
as I have already noticed, two objects: the 
discovery of the different species of ingredients 
contained in it, and the determination of the 
weight of each. How the species are discovered 
I have already set forth in the chapter of Tests. 
The quantities of solid ingredients I determine 
in most instances by estimation, as being the 
least laborious, in many cases equally and in 
many the most exact (p. 175). 

Kirwan attempted to resolve the problem 


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6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 

that he had previously stated: the problem 
of finding out which acid, and which base has 
reacted to form a salt. 

He attempts by using different reagents 
to determine the nature of the salt, as well 
as its concentration, but his method is rather 
unreliable and complicated. It is scarcely 
of practical importance, although Thomson 
discusses it a quarter of a century later in 
his work System of Chemistry [1]. Kirwan 
supposed that the single sulphates can be 
separated from one another with the help 
of calcium, barium and strontium salts, for 
example, magnesium sulfate precipitates with 
a strontium salt, while potassium sulfate does 

Kirwan 's analytical work was famous in 
his time, and his results were cited all over 
Europe. However, at the turn of the 18th 
century another great chemist, Klaproth played 
an even greater part than Kirwan. There are 
very few books published during this period 
which do not refer to some aspect of Klaproth's 

Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743- 1817) 
was the son of a provincial tailor; after leaving 
the grammar school for some unknown reason 
at the age of 15 he became, like so many great 
chemists before him, an apprentice pharmacist. 
He first worked at an apothecary's shop in 
Quedlinburg, but later became an assistant in 
Hanover, Berlin and Danzig. In 1771 he went 
to work at the pharmacy of Valentin Rose in 
Berlin. Rose at this time was a famous chemist, 
but died only four weeks after Klaproth had 
joined him. He entrusted the education of his 
children and the direction of his pharmacy to 
Klaproth, who faithfully carried out his last 
wish. He was in charge of the pharmacy for ten 
years, until Rose's son had grown up. In 1780 
he married a niece of Marggraf, and used the 
not inconsiderable dowry to purchase his own 
laboratory. Previously he had only carried out 
his research in addition to his pharmacy, but 
he now gave up pharmacy and devoted himself 
entirely to research. Nearly all of his work was 
devoted to mineral analysis. In 1788 he was 
elected a member of the Berlin Academy of 
Sciences, and in 1800 he was appointed leader 
of the chemical laboratory of the Academy in 

succession to Achard. In addition he was a 
Professor at the Artillery Officer Academy. In 
1809 King Friedrich Wilhelm founded the new 
University of Berlin, and Klaproth was called 
to be the first Professor of Chemistry there. 
According to the time-table of the university 
he lectured on "Practical chemistry" for four 
hours a week for the first term, in the second 
term, also for four hours a week, he lectured on 
the subject "Introduction to chemical analysis" 
[2]. hi his later years he had many domestic 
troubles and was subject to fits of apoplexy. 
He was ill for a long time, and had to give up 
his lecturing. He died on New Year's Day 1817. 

Klaproth lived in the same period as the 
great phlogiston chemists, and like many of 
them he was self-taught and did not attend a 
university. His scientific career did not really 
start, however, until he was about 40 years of 
age, and by this time Lavoisier had expounded 
the new chimie francaise so that Klaproth was 
not bound to the phlogiston theory. After 
confirming several of Lavoisier's experiments, 
he became an exponent of the antiphiogiston 
theory, and was the first important German 
chemist openly to accept the views of Lavoisier. 

Klaproth was essentially a practical 
scientist; he had complete faith in his 
experiments, and mere suppositions did not 
interest him. He lived at a time when 
violent debates were going on in chemical 
society concerning the various chemical views. 
Klaproth never took part in these, and never 
gave any indication of his own opinions. 
Klaproth examined a wide variety of minerals 
with great thoroughness and published his 
results, but here his interest ended. The 
accuracy of his analysis, however, was an 
important factor in the establishment by 
Proust of his law of constant proportions. 

Klaproth's point of view is best charac- 
terized by his de bate with Ruprecht. An- 
tal Ruprecht, who was Professor at the 
Selmecbanya Mining Academy, found that he 
could obtain metals from the earths (alkaline 
earth oxides) by reduction with carbon. This 
an nouncement aroused great interest in the 
world of chemistry and produced a bitter con- 
tro versy because hitherto earths had been 
considered to be elemental substances which 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 

could not be decomposed further. Klaproth 
carefully repeated Ruprecht's experiments, and 
proved that the metals formed did not origi- 
nate from the earths but from the contamina- 
tion of the chemicals, and concluded that the 
simple earths do not contain metals. Although 
Ruprecht's experiments were incorrect, the idea 
behind them proved to be right [3]. This was 
confirmed a few years later by Davy, when he 
succeeded in reducing the earths to the metals 
with the help of an electric current. Klaproth 
did not believe this. This was an often repeated 
and unfortunate occurrence in the history of 
the sciences, of the older scientist who is in- 
grained with the old concepts and refuses to 
accept the new developments. This was the 
fate of the phlogiston chemists, who had spent 
their lives creating a theory and were quite nat- 
urally reluctant to abandon it even in the face 
of irrefutable evidence. 

A very clear appraisal of Klaproth's 
contribution to chemistry is the following 

He was an incorruptibly accurate re- 
searcher, but was lacking only in ingenuity or 
intuitive thought; had he possessed this also 
then he would have taken his place among the 
greatest chemists [4]. 

He discovered three new elements, ura- 
nium, zirconium and cerium, and although tita- 
nium, strontium and tellurium had previously 
been observed by other workers, he examined 
these discoveries in more detail, and also gave 
a name to these elements. His contemporaries 
credit him with the discovery of tellurium al- 
though in fact this had already been discov- 
ered in 1782 by the Hungarian, Ferenc Miiller 
[5], in the gold-ores of Transylvania [6], who 
had sent a sample of this ore for confirmation 
by Klaproth. The orator, who delivered the 
memorial speech for Klaproth, before the Berlin 
Academy in 1819, was wrong when he was car- 
ried away with the power of his rhetoric and 
said: "Klaproth increased the number of ele- 
ments with which the Lord God created the 
earth, by four" [7]. 

Klaproth made many contributions to 
various periodicals, most of them giving an 
account of the analysis of a single mineral. He 
also published his collective results regularly 
in book form under the title : Beitrdge zur 

chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkorper, and 
this work extended to six volumes. The first 
of these was published in 1795, and the last 
in 1815, and in them Klaproth recorded the 
analysis of minerals originating from all parts 
of the world. In his books Klaproth departed 
from the earlier procedure of stating the 
experimental details very briefly, and often of 
publishing only the result without the inclusion 
of any relevant data such as sample weight, 
weight of precipitate, etc. He describes every 
step in the procedure in great detail, and in the 
introduction he explains his reason for doing so. 

For those who want to repeat my 
experiments, I have written the procedure in 
as great detail as possible without exposing 
myself to a charge of loquacity. Those who 
are acquainted with this topic will perhaps 
recognize my intention, that is to find simple 
and reliable procedures for the analysis of 
minerals [8]. In another book he states, the 
experiments must be carried out in such a 
manner that if they are repeated by other 
chemists, who work with the same accuracy, 
then the result will always be the same [9]. 

An example of the methods of Klaproth 
are now given, without the introduction. It 
concerns the analysis of zoisite Chemical test: 
the specific weight of the ore is 3300. When 
heated on a carbon block with a blow pipe it 
shows a foam-like effervescence, and the color 
of the ignited part becomes reddish and it is 
transformed into a fine powder. During the 
course of the ignition the loss is insignificant. 

If his results differed much from 100 
per cent, then Klaproth searched for the 
cause of the divergence, and in this way he 
discovered new elements or found unsuspected 
components. In this way he found that 
potassium occurs not only in vegetables, but 
also in minerals. When examining the 

mineral leucite he found that there was a 
21 per cent discrepancy in the total after 
the determination of aluminium oxide and the 
silicon dioxide. This was far greater than the 
possible experimental error, so he tested for 
the presence of borax, phosphoric acid and 
other less frequent components, but could not 
detect anything. Finally he evaporated and 
crystallized the residue remaining after the 


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6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 

separation. The shape of the crystals formed 
was quadratic, and they did not affect litmus, 
nor were they affected by ammonia nor soda 
solution. Klaproth noted, however, that the 
taste of the crystals was similar to potassium 
chloride, so he evaporated with sulfuric acid 
and was able to obtain crystals of potassium 
sulfate, and potassium nitrate crystals with 
nitric acid. This established the presence of 
potassium in this mineral. He also discovered 
that this gives a precipitate with tartaric acid, 
which upon ignition forms potassium carbonate 
[11]. As a result of this discovery he proposed 
to change the now obsolete names alkali 
vegetable (Pflanzenalkali) and alkali minerale 
(Mineralalkali) for natron and kali [12], which 
unfortunately were accepted neither in the 
French nor in the English languages. 

Klaproth also originated the technique of 
alkali fusion, for which he used silver vessels. 
He also mentioned the use of platinum vessels in 
connection with the fusion with soda [13]. An 
indication of the exactness with which Klaproth 
carried out his analysis, can be judged from 
the fact that he carried out an analysis of the 
composition of the mortar he used to grind 
his samples, and thus found it was composed 
of almost pure silica. Also, after he had 
ground his sample for analysis he re-weighed 
it to ensure that it did not contain any of 
the material from the mortar, and if there was 
any increase in weight, then he subtracted an 
equivalent amount from the silicic acid content. 
Another important point that Klaproth was 
the first to note was that precipitates must be 
dried or ignited to constant weight, and in order 
to obtain the high temperatures sometimes 
required, Klaproth used the furnaces of the 
porcelain factory in Berlin [14]. 

It can be clearly seen how Klaproth 
developed his own ideas on stoichiometry. 
In the course of a silver ore test in 1795 
he reduced silver chloride to silver metal, 
and he also reduced hydrated antimony oxide 
with potassium carbonate and carbon to pure 
antimony, and weighed them both in the 
metallic form [15]. Later he left out the 
reducing process, but still carried out an 
occasional reduction as a control test. For 
example, he dissolved 100 gr of antimony 

in 4 parts of hydrochloric acid and added 
some nitric acid to it, and after diluting with 
water found that he had obtained 130 gr of 
antimony lime (oxide). Using this proportion 
he calculated back his results to give metallic 
antimony [16]. After a while he must have 
realized that the control tests were superfluous 
as the results obtained were constant, so that 
in the last volume of his book he simply 
records that a certain weight of precipitate 
corresponds to a definite weight of metal or 
oxide. Moreover, he used these conversion 
factors for identification purposes. 

An ingenious example of this is the 
proof that the mineral strontianite contains 
strontium and not barium. He placed 100 
gr of strontianite in a small dish on the pan 
of a balance and saturated it with a weighed 
amount of hydrochloric acid. To the other 
pan of the balance he added an equal amount 
of hydrochloric acid. After the evolution of 
carbon dioxide was complete the weight of 
the sample was only 70 gr, therefore 30 gr 
of carbon dioxide had been evolved. If the 
substance had been barium carbonate then the 
weight of carbon dioxide evolved from 100 gr of 
sample would only have been 22 gr. The other 
proof he applied was that 100 gr of strontianite 
when treated with sulfuric acid formed 114 gr 
of strontium sulfate, of which 2??/2 gr were 
soluble in 8 oz of hot water, whereas of the 
amount of barium sulfate formed from an equal 
amount of barium carbonate, none was soluble 
in hot water. 

Klaproth also changed the established 
methods of water analysis, wherever possible 
entirely omitting the separations based on 
fractional crystallization ... because that does 
not give a sure result. So I have devised a more 
reliable method which first of all involves the 
saturation of the free mineral alkalis with acid, 
and then 

I decompose the neutral salts which are 
formed with a suitable reagent; at the same 
time I carry out a trial experiment in order to 
make clear the relationship, and on the basis of 
this I calculate the result [17]. 

An example of his trial experiment is as 

(a) He ignited 1000 gr of freshly crystal- 


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6.3 Chemical Compostion of Minerals 

lized sodium carbonate on a sand bath when 
363 gr of dry powder were formed. 

(b) 100 gr of this saturated 382 gr of a 
sulfuric acid solution, which contained 1 part 
of acid (density 1.85) and 3 parts of water. 

(c) The weight of Glauber's salt formed, 
after evaporation and drying, was 132/2 gr. 

(d) 1000 gr of crystallized Glauber's salt, 
after ignition, formed 420 gr of dry salt. 

(e) 100 gr of this when precipitated 
with barium acetate gave 168 gr of barium 
sulfate. Therefore 1000 gr of barium sulfate are 
equivalent to 595111, gr of water- free Glauber's 

(f) 100 gr of rock salt are equivalent to 
2331/2 gr of silver chloride, therefore 1000 gr 
of silver chloride are equivalent to 4281/4 gr of 
sodium chloride. 

After this he added sulfuric acid to 
the water, until it was just saturated 
(neutralized), and then precipitated the sulfate 
with barium acetate, and subtracted the 
amount corresponding to the added sulfuric 
acid from the weight of the precipitate. Then 
he precipitated the chloride with silver nitrate, 
and after filtration evaporated the filtrate and 
dissolved the residue in hydrochloric acid. 
Lime was precipitated from this solution with 
ammonium carbonate, and the iron with 
potassium ferrocyanide solution. The insoluble 
residue was silicic acid. On an analysis of 1 
cubic inch (290 gr) of Karlsbad water, Klaproth 
obtained 39 gr of mineral alkali (Na2C03), 
345/8 gr of rocksalt, 701/2 of Glauber's salt, 
21/2 gr of of silicic acid and 21/2 gr of iron. 

For reasons of space, Klaproth's analytical 
methods cannot be described in their original 
detail. When examining silicate ores he 
separated the silicate after fusion by repeated 
evaporation with hydrochloric acid; he then 
separated the metals with ammonia and, 
finally, he precipitated magnesium in the form 
of the hydroxide. Ores containing sulfides 
he dissolved in nitric acid and filtered the 
separated sulfur, which he determined by 
ignition. He also questioned whether part of 
the sulfur does not form sulfuric acid during 
the solution process. He determined the sulfur 
content of a silver ore by this method, and 
then determined the sulfate-content separately, 

but was unsure whether any of the sulfate had 
been formed from sulfur. As the dissolution 
process was rather slow, and as only a very 
small amount of nitrous fumes was evolved, 
he considered it unlikely. In order to solve 
the problem he determined the sulfate after 
dissolution of the silver in hydrochloric acid 
when no oxidation of the sulfur could take 
place, and found that this result corresponded 
satisfactorily with the former, so he concluded 
that the nitric acid does not change the sulfide 
into sulfate [18]. 

Klaproth attempted a fusion of tin oxide, 
similar to the Freiberg method; he mixed 
the finely powdered cassiterite with an equal 
quantity of sulfur, and heated the mixture 
in a glass retort on a sand bath. However, 
the experiment was not very successful, so 
he repeated it using potassium hydroxide to 
fuse the sample [19]. He also observed the 
molybdenumblue reaction, when he treated 
molybdenum ores in hydrochloric acid medium 
with tin [20]. He hydrolysed iron with sodium 
succinate in the presence of manganese and 
aluminum [21], and then precipitated the 
phosphate and arsenate as the lead salts, and 
the chromium as silver or mercury chromate. 
The mercury was removed from the latter 
by ignition, and the chromium weighed as 
the oxide [22 ]. There was no reference to the 
use of hydrogen sulfide in Klaproth's work, 
but he makes one reference to the use of 
ammonium sulfide for the identification of 
antimony [23]. Klaproth applied the corrosive 
action of hydrogen fluoride as a test for fluoride 
ion. He also utilized it for making glass 
micrometers for astronomical purposes [24]. 
Finally, we can see how the analytical data 
of Klaproth compare with present-day values 
(Table 7). 

Louis Nicolas Vauquelin (1763-1829) was a 
peasant child, who also became an apprentice 
pharmacist at the age of 15. Later he 
went to Paris and worked as a laboratory 
assistant to Fourcroy, the famous chemist. He 
soon progressed from laboratory technician to 
become the co-worker of Fourcroy, and in 1791 
he was elected a member of the Academy. He 
became a Professor of the College de France, 
and later at the University. He was the 


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6.5 Isomorphism & Dimorphism 

discoverer of beryllium and chromium, but in 
addition to his research he was engaged in the 
production of chemicals on an industrial scale. 
The novelist Balzac portrays him as a scientist 
and industrialist in one of his novels [251. His 
chemicals were in great demand because of 
their purity and reliability, so that Vauquelin 
can be regarded as a pioneer in the production 
of analytically pure chemicals. 

The work of Vauquelin is similar to that of 
Klaproth in that he analyzed a large number 
of minerals by methods similar to those of 
Klaproth, except that there were fewer original 
methods. Vauquelin studied the reactions of 
chromium and chromate very thoroughly; he 
found that chromium becomes yellow when 
fused with alkali, and that this solution gives 
a red precipitate when treated with mercury, 
and a yellow precipitate with lead; and that the 
addition of a tin chloride (stannous chloride) 
solution causes the solution to become green 

6.5 Isomorphism & Dimorphism! 665 ! 

REWORK: The studies an crystallography be- 
ing made at this time commonly held that iden- 
tity of crystal form implied identity of com- 
position. This principle had been enunciated 
by Haiiy, the founder of crystallography, and 
it had many adherents, in spite of certain ex- 
ceptions which had been observed. Klaproth in 
1788 established the chemical identity of cal- 
cite, which occurs in the rhombohedral form, 
and aragonite, which occurs in the rhombic 
form (both are CaC0 3 ). In 1816 Gay-Lussac 
observed that crystals of potassium alum grew 
normally in a solution of ammonium alum, 
and about the Same time Gehlen succeeded in 
preparing typical alum crystals from a sodium- 
containing solution. In 1817 J. N. von Fuchs 

[665J pother historical information may be found in: 
Aaron J. Ihde., The development of modern chemistry. New 
York, Evanston, & London, Harper & Row Publishers, 
1964. xii, 851 p., notes, illus., index. [Isomorphism and 
dimorphism, p. ??-??.] • E.M. Melhado., "Mitscherlich's 
discovery of isomorphism," Historical Studies in the Physical 
Sciences, 11 (1980), p. 87-123. * H.-W. Schiitt., Die 
Entdeckung des Isomorphismus. Eine Fallstudie zur Geschichte 
der Mineralogie und der Chemie. Hildesheim, Gerstenberg 
Verlag, 1984. [1J-324 p., biblio., indexes. [History of the 
discovery of isomorphism and its impact on chemistry and 

called attention to the similarity of crystal 
forms in aragonite, strontianite (SrC0 3 ), and 
cerussite (PbC0 3 ). 


1863) who clearly established the relationship 
between chemical composition and crystalline 
forms. This was formulated in his law of 
isomorphism which was published after work 
done in 1819. In order to determine if 
crystalline form depends upon the chemical 
nature of the elements, he studied salts of 
the phosphates and arsenates. (Berzelius 
had already established the close relationship 
of these two Sets of saits in properties.) 
Mitscherlich found that the phosphates and 
arsenates each formed three distinct series of 
salts, and he reported that "every arsenate 
has its corresponding phosphate, composed 
entirely in the same proportions." He observed 
similar analogies in the various Sulfates and 

The law of isomorphism, which states that 
compounds which crystallize in the same form 
are similar in chemical composition, was well 
received. Mitscherlich recognized that similar- 
ity in chemical composition resulted in approx- 
imate rather than absolute isomorphism. Sup- 
porting data accumulated rapidly. 

Mitscherlich's career in chemistry was 
delayed by his early interest in Oriental 
philology. While he was a student at 
Gottingen he came under the influence of 
Friedrich Stromeyer (1776-1835), noted for 
his discovery of cadmium in 1817, and for 
his early support of laboratory instruction 
in chemistry. Mitscherlich went to Berlin 
in 1818 for further studies in chemistry in 
the laboratory of H. F. Link, the botanist. 
It was here that he began his studies 
an arsenates and phosphates of potassium 
and confirmed Berzelius' reports regarding 
properties and composition. In starting his 
work an crystals he received instruction from 
Heinrich Rose's brother Gustav, mineralogist 
at the University of Berlin. The promising 
nature of Mitscherlisch's work led to his being 
invited to work in Berzelius' laboratory in 

Soon after his return from Sweden 
Mitscherlich was appointed to the chair of 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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chemistry, once held by Klaproth, at the 
University of Berlin. Here he continued his 
researches and wrote his Lehrbuch der Chemie 
(1829-1830). In his crystallographic studies he 
observed the variation in thermal expansion 
along dissimilar axes of a crystal, and the 
different crystal forms of sulfur. The property 
whereby a given substance could have more 
than one crystal form he called dimorphism. 
In 1827 he prepared selenic acid and showed 
that the selenates are isomorphous with the 
Sulfates. Later he demonstrated isomorphism 
in the manganates, chromates, and sulfates, 
and the permanganates and perchlorates. The 
isomorphism of the two latter salts revealed 
the composition of perchloric and permanganic 

Mitscherlich utilized the isomorphism of 
the sulfates and selenates to determine the 
atomic weight of selenium ; he reasoned that 
sulfate and potassium selenate have identical 
atomic ratios, except for the atom of sulfur in 
one, and of selenium in the other. As Table 
6.3 shows, the weights of sulfur and selenium 
combined with equal weights of potassium and 
oxygen thus are 18.39 and 45.40 respectively. 
Since the atomic weight of sulfur is 32, that of 
selenium must proportionately be 79. 

Berzelius meanwhile used the law of 
isomorphism in connection with his atomic 
weight estimations. The isomorphism of 
sulfates and chromates led him to revise the 
formula of green chromic oxide from Cr03 
to Cr203; he assigned the formula Cr03 
to chromic anhydride. The isomorphism of 
chromic oxide with the oxides of aluminum, 
iron, and manganese enabled him to assign 
correct formulas to the oxides of these metals. 
This led to his halving the atomic weights of 
these metals that he published in 1818. He 
subsequently halved the atomic weights of the 
other metals as well, thus bringing the results 
into accord with the law of Dulong and Petit. 
However, there were four exceptions. In the 
Gase of silver and cobalt, he doubted the 
validity of the law; and in the Gase of sodium 
and potassium, no specific heats were available. 

Already in 1815, J.N. Fuchs had observed 
that in gehlenite iron and calcium could mu- 

tually replace each other; he also pointed out 
the analogy with potassium- and ammonium 
alum. Four years later, E. Mitscherlich ob- 
served the similarity in crystal form of the 
potassium and ammonium salts of arsenic and 
phosphoric acid. Several investigators after- 
wards concerned themselves with the problem 
of isomorphic replacement of elements in crys- 
tals and proposed hypotheses for an explana- 
tion of the discoveries. However, a final solu- 
tion could only be reached after M. von Laue's 
discovery of X-ray diffraction (for which he re- 
ceived a Nobel prize, in 1914) and the fuller 
interpretation thereof by W.H. Bragg and his 
son W.L. Bragg, in the years 1912-1913. This 
made possible the determination of the atomic 
struc-ture of solid substances. But it took some 
time before geochemists realized the impor- 
tance of this discovery. When the last edition 
of Clarke's The Data of Geochemistry appeared 
in 1924, it contained nothing about crystal- 
structure determinations. Once more, it was 
V.M. Goldschmidt who saw the importance of 
crystal chemistry, and in particular, the impor- 
tance of ionic radii for geology, which is so much 
a science of solids. The entry of any atom or 
ion into the lattices of crystals was found to 
depend upon its size. The particles dissolved 
in a magma or in an aqueous solution are thus 
sorted by the lattices of crystallizing minerals 
according to their sizes, which can be defined 
with sufficient accuracy by their atomic or ionic 
radii. Goldschmidt found that standard values 
of these radii could be determined for the vari- 
ous particles which occur in crystal structures; 
the standard state chosen by Goldschmidt and 
later adopted by other scientists being that of 
the ions in a lattice of the sodium-chloride type 
(Goldschmidt, 1923, 1924, 1954). 

6.7 Pseudomorphsl 666 ! 

[666J Further historical information may be found in: Si 
Frazier., "Pseudomorphs," Journal of the Geoliterary Society, 
?? (2004), p. 11-11. • Max Johs., "Pseudomorphososen 
ein kurzer geschichtelicher Uberblick," Lapis, 6 (1981), no. 
11, p. 36-37. • Georg Schulze., "Die Entwickelung der 
Lehre von den Mineral-Pseudomorphosen." Jahresbericht 
des Neustadter Realgymnasiums zu Dresden (Dresden, C. 
Heinrich, 1891), pp. 3-23. • G. Spiess, "Zur Geschichte 
der Pseudomorphosen des Mineralreichs." Leopoldina, 14 
(1873?), pp. 11-11. 


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Every species of mineral when crystallized has 
a distinct and characteristic form. In the 
18th century, when the concept of mineral 
chemistry was developing there were sometimes 
noticed specimens that had the form both 
as to the angles and general habit of a 
certain species, and yet differed from that 
species entirely in chemical composition. It 
was also observed that although the outward 
appearance showed a complete crystal, the 
internal structure was often granular, or waxy 
with no distinct cleavage. Such crystals 
are today called pseudomorphs (from the 
Greek pseudo=fsAse+morph^ form) and owe 
the existence to their original mineral being 
transformed through natural processes to a new 
compound. The new substance is said to be a 
pseudomorph after the original mineral. 

Among the first to write a description 
of a pseudomorphic mineral is Rome de 
L'Isle, who described the over crustation of 
galena and pyrite by quartz which consequently 
gave quartz the shape of the other minerals. 
He furthermore observes in metallic minerals 
the shape of another mineral and suspected 
that such transformations were similar to the 
formation of petrified wood or other fossilized 
animal bodies where by the form remains 
eventhough the the material is completely 
transformed. Rome wrote: 

This must make feel how much the connoissance 
forms suitable for differens mixed can more jetter of day 
on the nature of these mixed one, since the forms often 
indicate the origin of certain substances to us which of all 
that they possedoient in a former state preserved only this 
only character. I 667 ! 

In another section Rome describes the 
well known pseudomorphs of galena after 
pyromorphite from Zschopau, Germany as a 
special type of lead ore, mine de plomb 
noire cristallisee. He adds, however, that it 
seems to be the product of decomposed green 
pyromorphite and he expresses the opinion 

[ 667 1 J.B.L. Rome de L'Isle, Cristallographie, 1, 1783, p. 93: 
"Ceci doit faire sentir combien la connoissance des formes 
propres a differens mixtes peut more jetter de jour sur la 
nature de ces mixtes, puisque les formes nous indiquent 
souvent l'origine de certaines substances qui de tout ce 
qu'elles possedoient dans un etat anterieur n'ont conserve 
que ce seul caractere." 

that the original mineral has been converted 
to galena by the action of hydrogen sulfide 

gas . [668] 

Around this time Abraham Gottlob 
Werner also took notice of pseudomorphs. He 
recognized that there was a substantial differ- 
ence between authentic crystals and their pseu- 
domorphic form. He could only explain them 
as the product of some unknown mineraliz- 
ing force. Therefore in his descriptive miner- 
alogy he placed these disquised minerals imme- 
diately after what he considered authentic crys- 
tals. In 1792 the renowned author and enthu- 
siastic mineral collector WOLFGANG Goethe 
proposed the term Afterkrystallen to gener- 
ally describe this class of mineral.! 669 ] Werner 
together with other early German researchers 
such as Estner, Hausmann, Hoffmann, and Bre- 
ithaupt soon adopted the term. 

However, in 1801 Rene Just Hatjy first 
introduced the term pseudomorph to miner- 
alogical science with the following statement: 

There is a third order of concretions, which we will 
call pseudomorphoses, i.e. bodies which have a false and 
misleading figure, because the substances which belong 
to this order present in a recognizable manner very foreign 
forms which they in some fate concealed with other bodies 
which swage them received nature. I 670 ! 

Further on, Haiiy observes: 

One finds some substances of this reign (mineral 
kingdom) in crystalline forms that is borrowed, and it 
is rather probable, that at least in certain cases, the 
new substance gradually replaced that which yielded the 
place to it, as one thinks of the replacement of petrified 
wood.! 671 ! 

I 668 ! Rome de L'Isle, Cristallographie, 3, p. 400. 
1669] Johann Grim and W. Grim, Deutsches Worterbuch. 
Neubearbeitung Herausgegeben von der Akademie der 
Wissenschaften der DDR. Leipzig, S. Hirzel Verlag, 1986, 
vol. 2, col. 17, "Afterkrystall". 

I 670 ! R.J. Haiiy, Traite de Mineralogie, 1, Paris, 1801, p. 
140: "II existe un troisieme ordre de concretions, que nous 
appellerons pseudomorphoses, c'est a dire corps qui ont une 
figure fausse et trompeuse, parce que les substances qui 
appartiennent a cet ordre presentent d'une maniere tres 
reconnoissable des formes etrangeres qu'elles ont en quelque 
sort derobes a d'autres corps qui les avoient recues de la 

I 671 ! Haiiy, Traite de Mineralogie, 1, Paris, 1801, p. 143: 
"On trouve quelques substances de ce regne (regne mineral) 
sous des formes cristallines qui ne qu'empruntees, et il est 


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Because of Hatiy's stature in mineralogical 
science, "pseudomorph" was the term soon 
adopted by reseachers outside Germany, which 
lagged sometime in accepting it. 

In 1815 Werner's Bergakademie colleague 
Johann August Friedrich Breithaupt 
was the first to thoroughly study these inter- 
esting mineralogical formations, publishing his 
researches under the title, Uiber die Achtheit 
der Krystalle (On the Authenticity of the Crys- 
tals).! 672 ! Hi his book, Breithaupt recognized 
different types of pseudomorphs including those 
instances where there had been a gradual re- 
moval of the original material and simultane- 
ously a replacement with the new mineral with- 
out any chemical reactions occurring between 
the two species. He also recognized alteration 
pseudomorphs where the original material had 
been changed to a different mineral species by 
the loss or addition of another chemical ingre- 
dient. For example, the loss of oxygen is the 
cause for native copper to form in the shape 
of cuprite crystals and the addition of carbon 
makes cuprite alter to malachite. Breithaupt's 
early interest in pseudomorphism foreshadowed 
his most important work and the research he is 
best remembered for today, mineral paragensis 
(see §6.8). After Breithaupt other researchers 
would begin to focus their attention on psuedo- 
morphic minerals. 

In the year 1816 a chemical text of JOHANN 
Ludwig Carl Gravenhorst appeared, I 673 ! 
in which he focused his research at arriving 
at an understanding of the transformation 
process. He believed the transformation to 
be a gradual transition from one substance to 
another based upon enviromental conditions. 
Unfortunately, the writing is so obscure 
that his innovative ideas were overlooked by 
mineralogists of the time. 

Johann Friedrich Ludwig Hausmann 
deviates little from Breithaput in his opinion 

assez probable, qu'au moins dans certains cas, la nouvelle 
substance s'est substitute graduellement a celle qui lui a 
cede la place, comme on pense que cela a lieu pour le bois 

I 672 ! J.A.F. Breithaupt, Uiber die Achtheit der Krystalle. 
Freiberg, 1815. 

[673] j l c Gravenhorst, Die anorganischen Naturkorper, 
nach ihren Verwandschaften und Uebergangen betrachtet und 
zusammengestellt. Breslau, 1816. 

about pseudomorphosenJ 674 ! He differentiates 
likewise three kinds of "after-crystals" , and 
recognizes that they were formed by a chemical 
transformation of the original crystal.! 675 ] In 
his largest class, which he calls metamorphic 
crystals, he notes that the specimens retain 
the shape of the original material perfectly, 
being fully transformed, but are usually not as 
smooth and lusterous as the original due to a 
much more porous surface. In his two other 
types, Hausmann observes that one is formed 
by the original mineral being coated and this 
material filling out, leaving a core of the original 
mineral. In other observations, he recognizes 
how a coat wraps around a crystal that is 
then destroyed, leaving an empty area that can 
in some instances be filled by another totally 
different mineral. This formation process leaves 
a distinctive specimen showing impressions of 

Friedrich Mohs, one of the most 
important pupils of Werner, and his successor 
as rofessor of the Mining Academy in Freiberg, 
is the first to differ substantially from his 
contemporaries with regard to pseudomorphs. 
He thinks that the pseudomorphic crystals 
principally form by first being an encrustation 
on the original mineral, which is in time 
is dissolved away, and the resulting shell is 
then filled in by the same mineral as the 

In this case, the shape which the mineral assumes 
is not a consequence of the properties inherent in the 
mineral, or peculiar to its nature, but it merely belongs 
to that space serve as support for this individuals. 

[676] j n gonie cases, he also believed 
that pseudomorphs formed from the loss of 
chemicals in the minerals composition, usually 

Carl Friedrich NaumannI 677 ! agrees 
with Mohs in his evaluation of the space 

[674] jpL Hausmann, Untersuchungen iiber die Formen der 
leblosen Natur. Gottingen, bei Bandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 
1821. viii, 677, [1] p., 16 folding plates (crystal drawings). 

[675] Hausmann, Untersuchungen, 1821, p. 667. 

[676] pYiedrich Mohs., GrundriB der Mineralogie, Berlin, 1 

(1822), p. 316-320.; ibid., Treatise on mineralogy, translated 

by Wilhelm Haidinger. Edinburgh, 1 (1825), p. 258-263. 

[6'7J Naumann, Lehrbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin, 1828, p. 



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filling pseudomorphoses. He recognized three 

I. The "Umhullung-Pseudomorphosen" , or enveloping 
or encasing pseudomorph. It usually is applied to the 
case where a crystal is encrusted by another mineral 
and then the crystal is later dissolved away, either 
partially or completely. This type of psuedomorph 
forms commonly as quartz after calcite, and is today 
often called a perimorph (the new mineral is on the 
periphery of the first one). 
II. The "Ausfiillungs-Pseudomorphen" , that is literally 
a filling in or filling up pseudomorph, where one 
mineral fills in the space left by another crystal. 
III. The "Metasomatish-Pseudomorphosen" , which is 
the almost similtaneous replacement of one mineral 
with another. It is the principal method of ore 
deposit formation. 

Naumann continued to review and evalu- 
ate the latest theory of pseudomorphs in the 
many editions of his popular and influential 
textbook, Elemente der MineralogieA 678 ^ 

Wilhelm Haidinger provided substan- 
tial knowledge to pseudomorphs through a se- 
ries of descriptive papers that he published 
through out his career. I 679 ! He concentrated his 
research on the chemical processes that formed 
the pseudomorphs and especially the effect of 
oxygen, carbonic acid and water in the process. 
In 1827, he conclusively showed that some min- 
eral psuedomorphs are formed by the alteration 
of the original mineral from the outside in. For 
example, magnetite altering to haematite. In 
particular Haidinger's work contributed early 
on to drawing attention to the importance of 
pseudomorphism in geochemical processes in 
the earth's crust and the formation of miner- 
alized deposits. 

Frantisek Xaver Maximilian Zippe 
believed that the pseudomorphs were created 

[678] First edition; 1846 . 15th edition, 1907. 

[679J Haidinger, W., "On the parasitic formation of 
mineral species, depending upon the gradual changes 
which take place in the interior of minerals, while their 
external form remains the same," Edinburgh Journal of 
Science, 9 (1828), p. 275-292; 10 (1829), p. 86-96; 
Edinburgh Royal Society Transactions, 11 (1831), p. 73-118; 
Schweigger's Journal, 55 (1829), p. 257-317; Froriep Notizen, 
26 (1830), cols. p. 17-25, 36-40; "Notiz von einer neuen 
Pseudomorphose," Prag, Jahrbuch des Bbhmische Museum, 1 
(1830), p. 16-19. 

with in the earth by chemical decomposi- 
tion.! 680 ] He assumed this was some how in- 
fluenced by the galvanic rivers, and he imag- 
ines the process. If a pyrite cube (FeS 2 ) is pro- 
tected by the surrounding rock and comes into 
contact with water in a chlorinated state, then 
the sulfur compound is not changed. On the 
other hand, if the penetrating humidity acts as 
a galavanic conductor to the surrounding rock 
then elements in the pyrite are replaced either 
partially or completely, and the pyrite changes 
to other hydrous iron oxides, such as limonite 
(2Fe 2 3 ) . 3H 2 0). 

A substantial writing on pseudomorphs 
appeared in 1841 with the publication of 
Georg Landgrebe's Ueber die Pseudomor- 
phosen im MineralreicheA 681 ^ In his forward 
Landgrebe writes that mineralogy has no field 
of study more interesting. Then after clearly 
defining what a pseudomorph is he divides the 
text into two large parts. The first covers 
mineral pseudomorphs and contains sections 
on mineral casts and mineral metamorphosis 
through chemical exchange. In the second part 
Landgrebe theorizes on the chemical transfor- 
mation that occurs to create petrified wood 
and fossilized bones and plants. Incorporated 
within the body of the text are all citations to 
pseudomorphs that the author uncovered while 
conducting a systematic review of both German 
and foreign mineralogical literature. 

Landgrebe divides the second category 
metasomatishe into the following classes of 

I. Formed by molding (Abformung) 

A. Molding by being coated e.g., quartz encrusting 
calcite that then disappears. 

B. By having the new mineral totally replace the 
original one (Abforming durch Ausfiilung). e.g., the 
famous talc pseudomorphs after quartz crystals from 
Gopfersgrun, near Wunsiedel in Bavaria. 

II. Formed by alteration (durch Umwandlung). 

A. Alteration without gain or loss of new components 
(Umwandlung ohne Abgabe oder Aufnahme von 
Stoffen). e.g., aragonite altered to calcite 

1 1 Zippe, "Ueber einige in Bohmen vorkommende 
Pseudomorphosen," Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft des 
vaterlandischen Musuems in Bohmen, Prag, 1832, 43ff. 
[681J q Landgrebe, Ueber die Pseudomorphosen im 
Mineralreiche. Cassel, 1841. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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B. Alteration with the loss of a component (Umwand- 
lung mit Verlust von Bestandtheilen). e.g., laumon- 
tites loss of water turning it into a crumbling powdery 

C. Alteration with the addition of components 
(Umwandlung mit Aufname von Bestandtheilen) 
e.g., anhydrite altered to gypsum. 

D. Alteration with exchange of components (Umwand- 
lung mit Austausch von Stoffen) e.g., feldspar altered 
to cassiterite. 

A few years later a more extensive and 
complete work appeared. Based upon previous 
research and augmented with the author's 
own observations Johann Reinhard Blum's 
Pseudomorphosen des Mineralreichs is the 
most comprehensive treatise on pseudomorphs 
ever published.! 682 ] This book begins with 
a review of previous studies on the subject 
together with a discussion of the same, and 
the author's reasons for dividing the subject 
into the two broad classes of alteration 
pseudomorphs and replacement pseudomorphs. 
The text then presents detailed descriptions 
of the 263 known pseudomorphs, for which 
Blum provides a thorough discussion of 
previous research, rich references, and locality 
information. Through his writings Blum 
reenforced the importance of chemistry in 
several pseudomorphic processes, especially in 
the replacement process, which was shown 
later to be one of the principle processes 
involved in forming economic ore deposits. 
Blum maintained and heavily augmented the 
basic text over the next 36 years by the 
publication of four supplements that appeared 
in 1847, 1852, 1863, and 1879. Today, this 
work is still considered the classic, fundamental 
work on pseudomorphs, which has never been 
surpassed in its treatment of the subject. 
Interestingly, the collection of over 1,700 
pseudomorph specimens Blum accumulated 
during his research was acquired in 1871 by 
Yale University where they may still be found. 

James Dwight Dana wrote on pseudo- 
morphism in 1845. I 683 ! In the fourth edition of 

l b ° 2 \ J.R. Blum, Pseudomorphosen des Mineralreichs. Stutt- 
gart, 1843. 

[683J Dana, J.D., "On pseudomorphism," American 
Journal of Science, 48 (1845), ??????? 

his famous System of Mineralogy he summa- 
rizes previous work in the area, and compiles 
a list of the pseudomorphs reported to that 
time.! 684 ] He recognizes four distinct types 
of pseudomorphs. 

1. Pseudomorphs by alteration: Those that 
formed by the gradual change of composition in a 
species, e.g., change of augite to steatite, or azurite 
to malachite. 

2. Pseudomorphs by substitution: Those that 
formed by the replacement of a mineral which has 
been removed or is gradually undergoing removal, 
e.g., petrifaction of wood. 

3. Pseudomorphs by incrustation: Those 
formed through the encrustation of a crystal which 
may have subsequently dissolved away; often the 
cavity afterwards is filled [or partially filled] by 
infiltration; e.g., change of fluorite to quartz. 

4. Pseudomorphs by paramorphism: Those 
formed when a mineral passes from one [dimorphous] 
state to another e.g., change of aragonite to 
calciteJ 685 ! 

Causes of change in the crystals Dana 
principally attibutes to the solvent power of 
ordinary ground water, the reactions according 
to chemical principles, of the ingredients, 
dissolved in those waters, the process of gradual 
oxidation to which the crystals are liable, and 
the reaction of substances thus formed on 
the ingredients at hand, and the action of 
exhaling gases from the earth, with or without 
volcanic action. This opinon follows mainly the 
observations given in Bischof's extensive work. 

The important German mineralogist and 
crystallographer, George Amadeus Carl 
Friedrich Naumann [1797-1873] defined a 
pseudomorph (1846, 96) as a "crystalline or 
amorphous body that without itself being a 
crystal shows the crystal form of another 
mineral." I 686 ! He favored a more 

restrictive definition than that used by many 
of his colleagues: "The crystal forms of 

[684] j D j)ana ., System of Mineralogy. New York, 1854, p. 


[685] D ana . ; System of Mineralogy. Fourth edition. New 

York, 1854, p. 223. 

[ 686 J Naumann, Elemente der Mineralogie, 1846, p. 96: 
"so nennt man namlich diejenigen krystallinischen oder 
amorphen Mineralkorper, welche ohne selbst Krystalle zu 
sein, die Krystallform eines anderen Minerals zeigen." 


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pseudomorphs are usually quite well preserved 
[erhalten] and easily recognized with sharp, 
well-formed faces." I 687 ! He distinguished three 
different types of pseudomorphs. 

1. Umhullung-Pseudomorphosen 

2. Ausfiillungs-Pseudomorphosen 

3. Metasomatische Pseudomorphosen 

Naumann attributed the formation of all 
pseudomorphs to two processes: 

A. A new mineral coats the surfaces of a crystal that 
forms out ("hypostatische pseudomorphosen"). 

B. Transformation of a crystal into a new mineral 
( "metasomatische pseudomorphosen" ). 

With the last type, he differeniates the 
same four groups distinguished by Landgrebe: 
1. Hypostatishen Pseudomorphosen, 2. Exoge- 
nous Pseudomorphosen, 3. Amphigene Pseudo- 
morphosen, and 4. Esogenen Pseudomorpho- 

By the middle of the ninteenth century, 
research into the processes of pseudomorphism 
was still not well known. Only the simplest 
mechanisms were clear, but transmutation of 
complex mineral compounds remained only 
conjecture. Clearly it required an extremely 
delicate chemical reaction to proceed inside the 
earth and that a solvent, usually thought to 
be water was involved. In addition, heat in 
the form of volcanic warmth, electrical forces, 
and other unknown qualities contributed to 
pseudomorphism. During that time research 
into chemical processes inside the earth were 
becoming important areas of study, leading to 
the development of the field of geochemistry. 

In 1847 Karl Gustav Christoph 
BlSCHOF began to publish his Lehrbuch 
der chemischen und physikalischen Geologie, 
which was completed in 1855. I 688 ! This 

enormous work soon became the standard text 
in geochemical studies, and helped found the 
sciences of geochemistry and petrology. The 
first volume in particular is concerned with the 
various aspects water plays in the geological 
process and at the core of these processes are 

1 J ibid., "Diese Krystallformen der Pseudomorphosen 
sind meist sehr wohl erhalten und leicht erkennbar, ja 
zuweilen ganz sharfkantig und glatt." 

[688] K.G.C. Bischof, Lehrbuch der chemischen und physikal- 
ischen Geologic 

the mechanisms of pseudomorphism applied to 
rocks and minerals on a regional scale. In 
particular Bischof like Haidinger examined the 
effect of oxygen, water and carbonic acid on 
mineral alteration. 

Another researcher who extended the re- 
search in to mineral alterations was Theodor 
Scheerer, who authored Der Paramorphis- 
mus und seine Bedeutung in die Chemie, Min- 
eralogie, und Geologie^ 689 ^ Here Scheerer dif- 
ferentiated a peculiar condition that he called 
'paramorphism' where a mineral species has a 
dimorphous state that because of temperature 
differences passes from one mineral species into 
another. For example, he describes a natrolite 
crystal from Norway that normally would be 
an orthorhombic mineral but had an exterior 
form that was monoclinic in habit. Other ex- 
amples are the change of aragonite to calcite 
(both CaC0 3 ) at a certain temperature or the 
paramorphs of rutile after brookite (both Ti0 2 ) 
from Magnet Cove, Arkansas. 

In 1855, Gustav Georg Winkler 
published his Die Pseudomorphosen des 
Miner alreichs\ &90 \ It is a cclear and concise 
review of pseudomorphism, containing a 
critical summation of all facts and explanations 
pertaining to the phenomena as it relates 
to the mineral kingdom. Winkler recognizes 
two types of pseudomorphism. The first, 
produced principally from atmospheric effects, 
causes the original material to be altered. 
The second, produced through mineralizing 
solutions, replaces the orginal mineral with a 
new mineral that is carried in the solution. 
The book describes specific replacements, 
gives commentary of the viewpoints of Blum, 
Haidinger, Landgrebe, and others, and contains 
a large descriptive section. 

Winkler organizes pseudomorphs into a 
classification system based upon if the mineral 
is metallic or non-metallic. His categories are 
summarized below: 

I. Pseudomorphosen of the non-metallic minerals. 

[ yj T. Scheerer, Der Paramorphismus und seine Bedeutung 
in die Chemie, Mineralogie, und Geologic Braunschweig, 

[690J G.G.Winkler, Die Pseudomorphosen des Mineralreichs. 
Miinchen, 1855. vi, 136 p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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A. Pseudomorphosen of first kind (fluor-spar after 

B. Pseudomorphosen of second kind: 

a) Non-metallic minerals by non-metallic pleases 
(quartz after Calcspar), 

b) Non-metallic minerals by metallic pleases (quartz 
after bleiglanz). 

II. Pseudomorphosen of the metallic minerals. 

A. Pseudomorphosen of first kind (brown iron stone 
after Eisenspat). 

B. Pseudomorphosen of second kind: 

a) Metallic minerals by non-metallic pleases (brown iron 
stone after Calcspar), 

b) Metallic minerals by metallic pleases (brown iron 
stone after lead gloss). 

The French chemist Achille Delesse in 
1859 looked at pseudomorph formation from a 
purely chemical point of view. I 691 ! Determinig 
the composition of inclusions contained inside 
the individual pseudomorphs, Delesse was able 
to show conclusively what the original mineral 
was, and derived a chemical process that 
would convert the original mineral to the new. 
His work was influential and fundemental to 
understanding pseudomorphic transformation. 

Prior to the 1870's researches on mineral 
pseudomorphs were limited to observations 
that could be made on specimens seen with the 
naked eye. However, the introduction of both 
the petrological microscope and FERDINAND 
Zirkel's microscopical methods showed the 
great importance of pseudomorphism in the 
geological process, especially with relation to 
the formation of economic mineral deposits. I 692 ! 
Zirkel's microscopic methods were collected 
together and first published as a dissertation 
by Franz Eugen Geinitz.! 693 ] This led to 
a surge of investigations into pseudomorphic 
replacement as viewed through the microscope. 
Studies into the conditions that caused the 
original mineral substance to transformbecame 

[691] j^ Delesse, "Recherches sur les pseudomorphoses," 
Annals des Mines, 16 (1859), p. 317-392. English translation, 
Geologist, 1860, p. 396-404, 450-453; 1861, p. 14-19. 
[692] p_ Zirkel., Die mikroskopische Beschaffenheit der 
Mineralien und Gesteine. Leipzig, 1873, and F. Zirkel., Die 
Einfiihrung des Mikroskops in das mineralogisch-geologische 
Studium. Leipzig, 1881. 

I 3J F.E. Geinitz., "Studien iiber Mineralpseudomorpho- 
sen," Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, 1876, 449-503. 

important research. Geinitz was also able 
to show that the transformation occurs 
preferentially along the crystallographic axes. 

Furthermore, Geinitz came to believe 
from the results of his investigations, that 
pseudomorphs come to existed based upon 
their chemical compostion, and that two 
possible methods of transformation were 

1. a casing, often by the new substance in an educated 
manner, with in-grown crystals already by around 
giving gesteinsmasse. 

2. an actual, gradual displacement of the old substance 
by the new. 

Much emphasis was placed on the meaning 
of the preservation of crystalline form during 
the transformation process. Using microscopic 
techniques Geinitz proved that the vast 
majority of pseudomorphs were created by the 
replacement of old material with new minerals, 
as opposed to displacement following casting 
or other filling out, and that replacement was 
a common method for ore deposits to form. 

Geinitz gave the following version of how 
to organize the pseudomorphs based upon the 
chemical processes: 

1. Pseudomorphs, developed without loss and without 
additional components (Paramorphosen). 

2. Pseudomorphs resulting from loss of components 
(Apomorphosen). There is leaching and replacement 
at the same time. 

3. Pseudomorphs, resulted from addition of compo- 
nents (Epimorphosen). There is no leaching, and 
the replacement takes place via the addition of com- 

4. Pseudomorphs, resulting from the exchange of com- 
ponents, between the original and the pseudomor- 
phic mineral (partial Allomorphosen). 

5. Pseudomorphs, resulted from the total exchange of 
components between the original and pseudomorphic 
mineral (total Allomorphosen).! 694 ] 

Geinitz' research sparked in a large 
number of other studies to be prepared 
about mineral alteration. For the most part 
microscopes were employed to review how 

[694] y.Fj. Geinitz, "Zur Systematik der Pseudomorpho- 
sen," Tschermak's mineralogische und petrographischer Mit- 
theilungen, 2 (1880), p. 489. 


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6.8 Paragenesis 

crystals form within rocks and their method 
of alteration. For example, in 1876 and 1883, 
Johann Theodor Lemberg investigated and 
described the effects of aqueous solutions on 
mineral silicates.! 695 ] 

Max Bauer wrote on the pseudomorphs 
of calcite after aragonite, and made many 
worthy observations that threw light onto 
paramorphismJ 696 ! He attributed the change 
to a molecular relocation with in the solid state 
of the crystal that over time converted the 
crystal system from othorhombic to trigonal, 
but kept the chemical compostion constant. 
In 1891, Bauer continued his studies of 
dimorphous pseudomorphs with his publication 
on the paramorphs of minerals with reference to 
that of rutile after brookite from Magnet Cove, 
Arkansas and of rutile after anatase.I 697 ! 

Henry Alexander Miers in 1896 
published an admirable paper on 131 British 
pseudomorphs, never before described.! 698 ] 
The list has general interest and illustrates the 
line of study regarding pseudomorphs. Miers 
follows these interesting determinations with 
a list of possible but insufficiently determined 
pseudomorphs comprising 56 examples. 

Many other studies of specific pseudo- 
morphs appeared particularly among German 
mineralogists. However, relatively few gen- 
eral papers about pseudomorphs appeared af- 
ter Geinitz' study. Among the general papers, 
Austin F. Rogers published a good account 
in 1910 that is still on one of the best in En- 
glish on its subject.! 6 "] Clifford Frondel 
in 1935 also contributed an authortative mono- 
graph based on an extensive study of pseu- 

! ] J. Lemberg., "Tiber Silicatumwandlungen," Deutsche 

Geologisches Gesellschaft Zeitschrift, 28 (1876), p. 519-621; 

ibid., "Zur Kenntniss der Bildung und Umwandlung von 

Silicaten," Deutsche Geologisches Gesellschaft Zeitschrift, 35 

(1883), p. 557-618. 

[696J jyj Bauer, "Uber Pseudomorphosen von Kalkspath 

nach Aragonit," Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, 1 (1886), 

p. 62. 

[697J jyj Bauer, "Pseudomorphosen von Rutil nach 

Brookite," Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, 5 (1891), 16 p. 

[b98\ Yi.A. Miers., "On some British pseudomorphs," 

Mineralogical Magazine, 11 (1897), no. 53, p. 263-285. 

[699J a.F. Rogers., "Notes on some pseudomorphs, 

petrifications, and alterations," Proceedings of the American 

Philosophical Society, 49 (1910), no. 194, p. 17-23. 

domorphs contained in the collections of the 
American Museum of Natural History in New 
York.! 700 ' He was an authority on the subject 
and well acquainted with the previous litera- 
ture about pseudomorphs, and his work is still 
perhaps the best available study in English on 
the subject. 

6.8 Paragenesis! 701 ! 

Minerals are complex, naturally occurring 
chemical compounds that form within the 
interior of the earth over a period of 
time. As the mineral species form the 
conditions surrounding their formation such 
as temperature, pressure, composition of the 
mineralizing fluid that nurture the development 
of one species may change so that other species 
are deposited. These new conditions may 
also mean that previously deposited minerals 
are now replaced or altered to new minerals 
or in other cases dissolved away completely. 
The term 'paragenesis' refers to the time- 
successive order of formation of a group of 
associated minerals within a particular deposit. 
Since the great majority of mineral occurrences 
have been formed by several distinct periods 
of mineralization, the complete description 
of the paragenesis of a deposit involves 
establishing the order in which the constituent 
minerals have been formed and the sequence 
of reabsorptions and replacements that have 
occurred. To develop a theoretical profile of 
how minerals deposited, a full understanding 
of the physical and chemical processes present 
at the time of formation are required. It 
is not surprising then that although certain 
mineral species were almost always observed 

[70UJ (j Fj-ondel., "Catalogue of mineral pseudomorphs in 
the American Museum of Natural History," Bulletin of the 
American Museum of Natural History, 57 (1935), p. 389-426. 
[701] Pusher historical information may be found in: 
Frank Dawson Adams., "Origin and nature of ore 
deposits: An historical study," Bulletin of the Geological 
Society of America, 45 (1934), p. 375-424. • Walther 
Fischer., Gesteins- und Lagerstattenbildung im Wandel der 
wissenschaftlichen Anschauung. Stuttgart, E. Schweizerbart, 
1961. viii, 592 p., illus., index. [Detailed history of 
petrology and the study of ore deposition.] • Victor Moritz 
Goldschmidt., Die kontaktmetamorphose im Kristianiagebiet. 
Kristiania, In Kommission bei J. Dybwad, 1911. ix, 483 p., 
2 plates, maps, diagrams. [Reviews previous research into 
paragenesis.] • Paul Groth., Entwicklungsgeschichte der 
mineralogischen Wissenschaften, 1926, p. 194-211. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.8 Paragenesis 

to be associated together, it was not until 
the chemical aspects of mineralogy were fully 
developed that the paragenesis process was 
fully conceptualized. 

Typical of the late eighteenth century 
was the description by Jean-Baptiste Louis 
Rome de l'Isle of the metallic ores 
contained in his personal mineral cabinet. In 
his Description Methodique d'une Collection 
de Mineraux (Paris, 1773) he gives the 
standard physical characteristics, localities, 
and mineral associations (i.e., paragenesis) 
for each specimen. However, he makes no 
connection between the associated minerals 
other than listing them. This was common to 
descriptive mineralogies of the period because 
by and large their descriptions were based 
on individual specimens separated from the 
environment in which they formed. This 
made it exquisitely difficult to recognize that 
there was a distinct sequence of processes that 
created the specimen. Therefore it was left 
to a group of researchers and writers who 
had lengthy, practical experience working in 
mines, and who recorded their observations in 
full descriptions of the mineral veins within 
the mines to accumulate the evidence that 
eventually compelled those simple lists to 
morph into the idea of mineral paragenesis. 
Early evidence that lead to building a theory 
of paragenesis was supplied by the authors of 
books describing ore deposits, and speculation 
as to how the ores formed inside the earth. 

A professor at the Bergakademie in 
Freiberg, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm von 
Charpentier wrote in 1778 his excellent and 
pioneering book, Mineralogische Geographie 
der Chursachsischen Lande (Leipzig, 1778). In 
this work he set out the results of a long 
period of observation and study about ore 
deposits and their minerals. He gives an 
excellent description of the veins and other 
mineral occurrences of Saxony and the adjacent 
regions, and in the last few pages of the book 
discusses the question of the probable origin of 
the ores. He gives an admirable presentation 
of the facts gathered during his long years 
of mining experience. Charpentier considers 
in succession those observations that have a 
definite bearing on the question of the genesis of 

the ore deposits, and, based on them, he offers 
an explanation of their origin, which, he says, 
cannot be considered as more than a conjecture 
but which he believes represents the closest 
approximation to the truth attainable at that 

Charpentier abandons beliefs the ancient 
believes and proposes that mineral deposits, 
including the veins were created by some 
alteration happening to the original country 
rock. He comes to this opinion based upon 
his long experience of first-hand observation 
of mineralized veins in the earth and notes 
that ores like cassiterite (tin) are distributed 
through their host rock like a huge three 
dimensional web. He envisions an ore deposit 
forms in a way analogous to the process that 
forms petrified wood. Petrified wood, he notes, 
was not silicified from the outside in, noting 
that had that occurred the hard silica would act 
like a shell around the woody interior. There 
apparently was some unknown process that 
changed the original wood to silica — a change 
Charpentier considers even more remarkable 
than the creation of the stock work of an ore 

Carl Abraham Gerhard, who wrote 
in 1781 his Versuch einer Geschichte des 
Mineralreichs held that veins were open fissures 
which originated through great movements in 
the earth's crust as well as from other causes, 
and that they were filled by the action of waters 
dissolving material out of the surrounding 
country rock and depositing it in these fissures. 

The famous and elaborate work on mining 
written by Friedich Wilhelm Heinrich 
von Trebra. I 702 ! contains a small 

section that speculates on the genesis of 
ore deposits. He agrees with Charpentier 
that his speculation is only a theory and is 
open to many objections. Trebra believed 
ore bodies developed through "Gahrung" 
and "Faulniss" , which literally translated 
means "Fermentation" and "Decomposition" , 
respectively. This is an echo of the ancient 
beliefs that processes with in the earth were 
analogous to those inside a living body of 

[702J Friedich Wilhelm Heinrich von Trebra., Erfahrungen 
vom Innern der Gebirge. Dessau und Leipzig, 1785. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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6.8 Paragenesis 

an animal, and as an animals body was 
nourished by blood and other fluids contained 
in a circulatory system, so the earth was 
nourished by fluids circulating in its body. 
The central fire located deep in the earth 
supplied the energy to cause circulation to 
occur. Trebra notes that when some organic 
bodies like yeast come into contact with water, 
the mass undergoes substantial changes and 
ferments. In dead animals, when the body 
is exposed to air, they like wise substantially 
change through decomposition. It was thought 
that similar processes existed inside the earth, 
and that this was how ore deposits and 
veins formed. By the eighteenth century, the 
German miner's coined the terms "Gahrung" 
and "Faulniss" to describe the processes of ore 
and vein creation, which Trebra adopts in his 
writing. The modern terms, Metamorphism 
and Weathering, embrace most, if not all, of 
these natural operations. Trebra is silent, 
however, as to any theory regarding the 
possible sources for the minerals that filled the 

Abraham Gottlob Werner, the fa- 
mous mineralogist, also set about to give a the- 
oretical answer to the problem of ore forma- 
tion and thus gave stimulus to the search for a 
solution. His Von den Entstehung der Gange, 
published in 1791, more than previous similar 
works, made the study of vein formation an in- 
tegral study in historical geology. I 703 ! He adds 
some observations to the previously existing 
knowledge of the internal structure of the veins, 
the phenomena displayed at the intersection of 
different sets of veins, and the differences be- 
tween the internal structure of veins and beds. 
However, it is Werner's new and novel theory 
of vein formation that caused his work to be 
widely studied. As the chief supporter of the 
Neptunist theory, which he had developed, and 
which theorized most rocks were created by be- 
ing deposited in ancient oceans, he suggested 
that as the sediments settled from the ocean 
and became compacted as rocks, cracks devel- 
oped in the mass due to the squeezing out of 
the water or other events such as earthquakes. 

[703J Abraham Gottlob Werner., Neue Theorie von der 
Entstehung der Gange. Freiberg, 1791. 

Some of these open fissures would extend all 
the way to the surface, and if still located under 
the sea, they would be filled with waters of the 
great ocean. In such fissures the oceanic waters 
would lay undisturbed and would over time pre- 
cipitate and crystallize the minerals that form 
a mineral vein or deposit. Werner did not be- 
lieve that veins derived their metallic content 
from the country rock through the action of 
circulating waters, because the country rock in 
districts where metal-bearing veins occur, con- 
tains no traces of the metals which are found in 
the veins. This theory is not possible, because 
he says the first layer of material secreted along 
the walls of the fissure would make it imper- 
meable to the passage of all further solutions. 
Werner's personal charm, however, must have 
been altogether remarkable. No other teacher 
of geological science either before or since has 
approached him in the extent of his personal 
influence or in the breadth of his contempo- 
rary fame, and his theory of ore deposition 
was widely studied. It was entirely disproved 
by the early nineteenth century, however, hi 
fact, the Bergrath Friedrich Constantinl 704 ! of 
Werner's own city, Freiberg, less than fifty years 
after the publication of Werner's Neue Theorie, 
writes that not only this theory, but Werner's 
whole system of geognosy, had completely bro- 
ken down under the accumulation of a great 
body of newly discovered facts. For example, 
FORCHAMMER, of Copenhagen, in an 1835 pa- 
per, detailed the results of a series of chem- 
ical analyses which showed that, contrary to 
the statement of Werner, minute quantities of 
the heavy metals were present in almost all 
rocks. I 705 ! Forchammer correctly claimed that 
circulating ground waters made their way lat- 
erally into fissures, carrying materials in solu- 
tion, and filled the fissures, thus giving rise to 
mineral veins, but he did not make the connec- 
tion to a sequence of mineral depositions, and 
missed describing paragenesis. 

The theory of paragenesis, or the associ- 
ation of minerals of common origin was sug- 

[<04J Friedrich Constantin, Freiherr von Benst., Kritische 
Beleuchtung der Werner'schen Gangtheorie. Freiberg, 1840. 


[ Title Needed 1 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

6.8 Paragenesis 

gested as a general idea by the great Rus- 
sian mineralogist Vasily Mikhaylovich Sev- 
EE.GIN in 1798, I 706 ' who noted the signifi- 
cance of mineral associations — sphalerite and 
galena, for example — and developed a theory 
on the contiguity of minerals that he described 
as the occupance of two or more minerals in one 
place. I 707 ! Even when a later Russian mineral- 
ogist, Dmitrii Ivanovich Sokolov, wrote a 
detailed textbook of mineralogy. I 708 ! He cor- 
rectly attributed the physical properties of min- 
erals, including morphology, color, shape, lus- 
ter, cleavage, hardness, to the chemical compo- 
sition of the mineral. Like many mineralogists, 
Sokolov was interested in mineral associations, 
and discusses something like paragenesis in his 
textbook of mineralogy. The Russian insights 
into paragenesis remained unknown and unrec- 
ognized to European researchers, however. The 
theories of Werner had much more influence. 

In his massive description of the min- 
eralogy, geology, and mining of Saxony, 
FREIESLEBEN provides an abundance of data 
regarding mineral associations actually ob- 
served in the mines, particularly the tin de- 
posits. I 709 ! In other countries concepts sur- 
rounding the importance of mineral associa- 
tions were beginning to take root. Robert 
Jameson for example, in the second edition 
of his System of Mineralogy published in 1816 
continues to give an account of the mineral as- 
sociations when he describes the geographic sit- 
uation that specific mineral species are known 
to occur. The Englishman W. Henwood in 
a series of writings between 1831 and 1846 
presents descriptions of mineral associations 
observed in the mines of Cornwall.! 710 ] An- 


[706J p erV y e Osnovania Mineralogii, p. 85-86.: 

l 707 \ I.D. Sedletskii. "AKa,n. B.M. CeBepTHH h yneime o 
napareHe3iice MHHepajioB. [Acad. V.M. Severgin and the 
study of the paragenesis of minerals]", Vestn. As USSR, 1 
(1948). • I.D. Sedletskii. "IlpHopHTeT pyccKoro y^exoro 
B.M. CeBeprima b ynexiiii o napareHe3Hce MHHepajioB. 
[Russian scientific priority of V.M. Severgin in the study 
of the paragenesis of minerals.], Zap. Rostov State Univ., 11 
(1948), no. 6. 

[708] D m it r ii Ivanovich Sokolov., Pvkobo^ctbo Ktj Mmh- 
epajiorin.. St. Petersburg, 1832. 

[709] Fi-eiesleben., Geognostische Arbeiten, 1807-1815. 
[710] Manuel del Rio published many min- 
eralogical papers related to Mexican mineral- 
ogy and geology, including work on the origin 
of mineral veins, the associations seen in sul- 
fide minerals, and the effect of trace elements 
on a minerals physical properties, and polymor- 

The French geologist G.A. Daubree 
authored in 1841 a particularly important 
paper, in which he compares chemically the 
tin ores of Germany, England, and France, and 
notes that in all cases the tin ore (cassiterite) 
is always accompanied by minerals such as 

fluorite or that contain the elements 

fluorine or boron. I 711 ! At the time, 

it was generally accepted from laboratory 
experiments that there was a chemical affinity 
between silicon and tin. In his study, Daubree 
concludes that fluorine and boron must 
impregnate the original host rock where the 
ore deposits formed, and when a mineralizing 
solution containing tin and silicon came into 
contact, cassiterite, quartz, fluorite, and the 
associated minerals were deposited. This 
theory was later expanded when it was shown 
that titanium was also present. Later, after 
paragenesis was firmly established, Daubree 's 
observations were shown to be correct, and that 
the tin containing minerals of Saxony had been 
formed from original sulphides ores that had 
been acted upon not by a metalliferous solution 
but by the penetration of flourine and boron 
gas penetrating from deep inside the earth. 
In 1843 Daubree published an overview and 
description of the geology and mineralogical 
conditions of a large number of Swedish and 
Norwegian ores.! 712 ! Again he recognizes the 
importance of the geological conditions in the 
formation of ore deposits. In this case, the type 
of host rock and the presence or absence of 
pegmatite material. The work formed together 
with Hisinger's topographical studies a valuable 
study of the mineralogy and geology of Sweden 

[ Title Needed ] 

[ ] 

[711 J g_a. Daubree., "Memo-ire sur le gisement, la 
constitution et l'origin anias de mineral d'etain," Ann. de 
Mines, Paris, 1841. 

[712] q J± Daubree., "Memoire sur les deposits metalliferes 
de la Suede et de la Norwege," Ann. de Mines, Paris, 1843. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

6.8 Paragenesis 

and Norway. 

It was the long history of mining in Saxony 
that provided an extensive line of observations 
from which the German theorists could draw. 
In addition, there was by the middle of the 
nineteenth century an active study of the 
geology of central Europe being carried out and 
new observations were regularly being reported 
and published. Finally in 1849, the connection 
of mineral association was more generally 
explained by Johann August Friedrich 
Breithaupt in his Die Paragenesis der 
Mineralien (The Paragenesis of Minerals), that 
gave a formal name to the study. I 713 ! This 
was by far Breithaupt 's greatest contribution 
to mineralogy and to the developing study of 
ore deposit formation. Although as it has been 
shown some earlier researchers had noticed that 
there was some regularity in the association of 
different minerals, Breithaupt was the first to 
make a comprehensive study of the associations 
and emphasis their importance. Studying 
the minerals of the Schwarzenberg region, 
Breithaupt developed a classification of 20 
mineral associations. 


Breithaupt 's ideas received a great deal of 
observational and experimental support in the 
course of the nineteenth century. Tangentially 
the study of pseudomorph formation and other 
geochemical processes contributed greatly to 
understanding paragentic formation. 

The importance of Breithaupt 's work was 
immediately recognized by others, especially 
those researchers studying the emerging field 
of geochemistry. For example, Bischof in 
his important Lehrbuch der chemischen und 
physikalischen Geologie (Textbook of Chemical 
and Physical Geology) published between 
1847 and 1855 discusses the importance of 
mineral associations, basing his observations 
on Breithaupt's work and other related 
publications. A.E. Reuss' work that describes 
the paragentic formation of minerals in 
Pribram in Bohemia clearly shows Breithaupt's 
influence. Ruess demonstrates that the main 

sequence of mineralization that started with 
galena, and progressed through sphalerite and 
barite, to the various carbonate minerals, like 
calcite. He recognized from the diversity 
of mineral mixes that multiple generations 
of mineralization occurred; however, Reuss 
missed connecting the formation of minerals 
with the surrounding geology. 

It is the combination of geology together 
with the presence of mineralizing fluids that 
cause mineral species to develop. This was 
a large and complex concept to grasp, and 
a splendid early example of this complete 
approach was the examination of the silver ores 
of the Andrea Mountains of Saxony published 
in 1865 by H. CrednerJ 714 ] Credner is 

also credited with preparing the first modern 
geological map of Saxony and a study of the 
ore deposits of North America, which are the 
principal works of his career. 

In the 1860s, Gustav Tschermak began 
a series of studies into petrology. This led 
him into the study of paragenesis of minerals 
in several granites, the quartz content of 
plagioclase, and the role of olivine in various 
rock types. I 715 ! hi fact, the study of mineral 
paragenesis was deemed important enough that 
Alfred W. Stelzner began teaching in 1860 
a course in the subject at the Bergakademie 
in FreibergJ 716 ! In 1865, Geyer and 

Ehrenfriedersdorf published a study of 
South American silver minerals that included 
descriptions of their paragenesis.! 717 ] 

'Gang-formations' were observed by Brei- 
thaupt, which did not appear part of the main 
mineral deposit formation. BERNHARD VON 
CoTTA in his Erzlagerstdttenlehre (Ore De- 
posit Instruction) of 18????? was probably the 
first to call these occupance "contact ore de- 






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On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

6.8 Paragenesis 

posits" , and their geology derived from eruptive 
or intrusive magma rock. 

As a student of Breithaupt, PAUL Groth 
paid particular attention to the paragenesis 
of minerals. In an 1885 monograph on the 
mineralogy of Dauphiny, Groth accounted for 
the dependence of axinite-epidote sequences 
in amphibole schists and of anatase-turnerite 
sequences in gneiss by the leaching of elements 
from the surrounding rock. He continued to 
develop paragenesis and his Topographische 
Ubersicht der Mineiallageistatten (1917) that 
gave a general description of mineral deposts 
based upon geography was one of the best 
surveys of the time. 

As for the paragenesis associated with 
pegmatites, the great Norwegian researcher 
W. BR0GGER is of fundamental importance 
for his research on the chemistry of these 
interesting geological bodies, especially where 
they contact and interact with the surrounding 
rock. The first researcher to apply rigidly 
the laws of physical chemistry to the problems 
of mineral associations at contact zones 
between host rock and a magmatic heat 
source was the Norwegian geochemist Victor 
Moritz Goldschmidt who gave a full 
account of contact metamorphic processes in 
his important Die kontaktmetamorphose in 
the Kristianiagebiet (Kristiania, 1911). While 
discussing his own theories, Goldschmidt covers 
in detail all the earlier work in mineral 
associations and paragenesis. Even though 
his work is fundamentally geological in nature 
and outside the scope of historical mineralogy, 
the information presented was valuable to 
preparing the preceding historical presentation. 

Paragenesis began to be viewed as a 
distinct process in all of geology and not 
limited to ore deposition. This had an 
important effect on not only mineralogy, but 
also geology generally. Mineral formation 
began to be viewed as one part of a much 
fuller geological process, that led to more 
efficient geological exploration. Geologists of 
all nations began to reevaluate and interpret 
the geological structure of their nation in new 
ways and with a broader spectrum of theories. 
In Scandinavia, the ore deposit and geological 
studies of W. BR0GGER in the last part 

of the nineteenth century were part of this 
trend. Developments in petrology and various 
theories of rock formation allowed him to make 
new observations about the "Kristainiagebeit" 
formation of Norway. Previously, it had been 
studied by I.H.L. Vogt who showed in 1893 
the silica rich intrusion to be enriched with 
a high percentage of heavy metal that were 
later deposited as concentrated formations of 
economic value along the contact zones of 
the intrusion.! 718 ] This model could be 

applied to other geological formations through 
out the world, and as a result other formations 
of a similar nature were recognized. This 
led to an explosion of general studies of ore 
deposits, their formation, and a classification 
of their types, all ultimately based upon their 

By the beginning of the twentieth century 
the concept of mineral paragenesis was firmly 
established, hi fact, enough was known of the 
types of mineral formation that would occur 
based on the conditions of a mineralizing fluid 
such as a pegmatitic magma, that paragentic 
classifications of minerals were proposed in 
1900 and 1908 by A. de Lapparent,! 719 ! and 
in 1932 by F. Angel and R. ScharizerJ 720 ! 
In addition, a number of important books on 
the subject of ore deposits were published: 
Emmons,! 72 !] Kemp,! 722 ! R. Beck, 1901,[ 723 1 
A. Bereat, 1904-1906,! 724 ] and F. Beyschlag, 


72U J Franz Angel and Rudolf Scharizer, Grundriss der 
Mineralparagenese. Wien, J. Springer, 1932. xii, 293, [1] p. 

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On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

7.1 Origin of Minerals 

1910-1913. I 725 l These texts are the 

foundation of modern economic geology theory, 
and they all are derived to some extent on 
the development of theories regarding mineral 

7.0 Experimental Mineralogy 

REWORK: In the 19th century the first 
attempts were made to create minerals and 
igneous rocks artificially. The different 

methods employed were classified by Fuchs, 
Fouque and Michel-Levy and Bourgeois as 

1. Crystallization by fusion (simple fusion without 
solvents; fusion with solvents but without chemical 
reactions; fusion involving chemical reactions). 

2. Crystallization by sublimation (simple sublimation; 
chemical reaction between volatile substances; reac- 
tion between volatile and non-volatile substances). 

3. Crystallization by solution (solution without chemi- 
cal action; chemical reaction of two liquids; reaction 
of liquids and solids). 

Among the most interesting syntheses 
were: the laboratory production of marble from 
limestone (James Hall, 1801); the production 
of artificial quartz and orthoclase by the 
action of pure or slightly carbonated water 
under high pressure (Senarmont, Daubree 
and Friedel); the production of cassiterite 
(tinstone) and rutile by the action of water 
vapour on a chloride or fluoride (Daubree); 
the production of metallic sulphides by the 
action of sulphuretted hydrogen on a chloride 
(Durocher); that of orthoclase, albite, quartz, 
emerald and zircon, by chemical reaction in 
the presence of mineralizers (Hautefeuille); and 
finally the synthesis of rubies (Fremy, Feil and 
Verneuil, 1877-1891). 

Fouque and Michel-Levy's elegant exper- 
iments on the artificial production of igneous 
rocks (1878-1881) helped to solve a number 
of outstanding problems. In particular, they 
helped to prove the impossibility of synthesiz- 
ing granitic rocks by igneous fusion alone. 

Experimental syntheses of inorganic chem- 
ical compounds have thrown much new light 


[ Title Needed 1 

on the genesis and transformations of miner- 
als in nature. By modifying the technique of 
H. de Senarmont (1851), R. Weil and R. Ho- 
cart (1951-1953) were able to study the for- 
mation of silver ore and of various sulphides 
and arsenides in greater detail. Other experi- 
mental studies have yielded important clues to 
the origin of certain microstructures observed 
in metallic ores. J. Morocewicz (1898), J. H. L. 
Vogt (1924), N. L. Bowen, W. Eitel, P. Grig- 
oriev and O. F. Tuttle have done decisive work 
on the reproduc tion of magmatic minerals by 
the 'dry path'. 

The role of water as a mineralizer, in the 
supercritical state and in the presence of alkali 
salts, which was first demonstrated by Friedel 
(1890-1891), was confirmed by G. W. Morey 
and Earl Ingerson (1937) and by C. J. van 
Nieuwenburg (1932-1935). Synthetic studies of 
argillaceous minerals were made by W. Noll 
(1935-1936) and R. Roy (1950-1961) . 

Using the high temperatures and pressures 
produced by the detonation of explosives, A. 
Michel-Levy and J. Wyart (1938-1948) were 
able to reproduce various minerals associated 
with meta morphic transformations. Under 
different experimental conditions, 

Mme Christophe-Michel-Levy (1953-1957) 
succeeded in producing a series of metamorphic 
silicates and in reconstructing a number 
of natural parageneses. J. Wyart and 

H.G.F. Winkler studied the metamorphic 
transformations of certain argillaceous rocks; S. 
Caillere, S. Henin and J. Esquevin succeeded 
in synthesizing the mineral constituents of 

On the whole, the experimental work 
has tended to confirm the observations of 
mineralogists and petrographers in the field. 

7.1 Origin of Minerals i 726 i 

From the earliest times, many theories were 
invented to explain how minerals came to exist. 
After chemistry had developed sufficiently, 

L J Further historical information may be found in: 
D.P. Grigor'ev., Ontogeny of minerals. Translated from 
Russian by IPST staff. Translation edited by Y. Brenner. 
Jerusalem, Israel Program for Scientific Translation, 1965. 
v, [1], 250 p., illus. [The introduction contains an historical 
essay on the development of ideas about the origin of 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

7.1 Origin of Minerals 

attempts were made to synthesis minerals, 
and this led to a better understanding of 
the processes that were needed for mineral 
formation in the earth. In particular, 

considerations of the effect of temperature and 
pressure on the mineralizing solutions has led 
from the 19th century until today's studies to a 
firm grasp of why minerals not only form, but 
why specific suites of species occur together. 

7.1.1 Fluid Inclusion Studies I 727 ! 

REWORK: Fluid inclusions are small volumes 
of a fluid in a crystal. These fluids can 
be trapped for example along growth zones 
or crystal edges or in any imperfection of a 
crystal during growth as primary inclusions. 
When a mineral is fractured during growth 
syngenetic microcracks will be healed in the 
presence of a fluid which may be trapped 
as pseudosecondary inclusions. Any stress 
after crystal growth will lead to epigenetic 
fractures and secondary inclusions may be the 
result of their recrystallization. Primary and 
pseudosecondary inclusions will thus contain 
the fluid from which the host crystal has 
grown. Therefore they can provide information 
on the fluid composition of the corresponding 
environment (magmatic hydrothermal fluids, 
basinal brines, heated meteoric waters, etc.). 
But also secondary inclusions may provide 
information on the later geological history of 
a crystal. 

The study of fluid inclusions has become 
a routine method for solving a wide range of 
geoscientific problems of different disciplines 
like petrology, structural analysis, or the 
genesis and exploration of ore or hydrocarbon 
deposits. It took, however, a long time to 
establish fluid inclusions as a reliable tool for 
answering geological questions. This paper 
refers to the historical development of fluid 
inclusion research from early observations to 

[727] other historical information may be found in: 
Frederick Gordon Smith., Historical development of inclusion 
thermometry. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1953. 
[i]-iii, [1], 1-149 p., biblio., index. [Excellent, little 
known history of mineral inclusion studies.] • Robert 
Wiesheu and Ulrich F. Hein., "The history of fluid inclusion 
studies" (pp. 309-325), in: Bernhard Fritscher and Fergus 
Henderson, eds., Toward a history of mineralogy, petrology, 
and geochemistry. Miinchen, Institut fur Geschichte der 
Naturwissenschaften, 1998. 

first experiments and introduces the work of 
the most important scientists in its historical 
context. Finally, some statistical data about 
the latest developments and a short outlook on 
the near future are given. 

By their composition the majority of fluid 
inclusions are water-salt-gas mixtures with 
NaCl being the most important salt and C02, 
CH4, and N2 as the most important gas species. 
In terms of thermodynamics a fluid inclusion 
represent a closed (isochoric) system which 
is defined by pressure (P), temperature (T), 
volume (V) and chemical composition (X) . Two 
of these parameters (V, X) are fixed during 
formation of an inclusion while P and T remain 
variable after trapping. 

At room temperature most fluid inclusions 
contain two phases, a vapour bubble and 
an (aqueous) solution. But other phase 
combinations as two immiscible liquids (liquid 
C02 and water for example) with or without a 
vapour bubble are common as well. Additional 
solids may occur which are termed daughter 
crystals if they precipitated from the trapped 
solution. Halite is by far the most common 
solid phase observed. Figure 1 shows 

an example of a multiphase fluid inclusion 
with three daughter crystals (halite, sylvite, 
arcanite) . 

The aim of any fluid inclusion study is 
the reconstruction of the PTVX-properties. 
The most applied method is micro thermometry 
which means the observation of individual 
fluid inclusions on a heating- and freezing 
stage under the microscope in the temperature 
range of-180°C (i. e. cooling with liquid 
nitrogen) to +600° C. After complete freezing 
(solidification) the inclusions are carefully 
warmed or heated and any observable phase 
change up to total homogenization (one-phase 
state) is recorded. Initial melting of any 
solid phase permits the identification of the 
involved aqueous and also gaseous systems 
(H20-NaCl, H20-C02, C02-CH4, etc.). Final 
melting temperatures (or temperatures of 
dissolution) point to the concentration of 
individual components in the corresponding 
system. The freezing-point depression of ice in 
aqueous inclusions, for example, is a measure 
for the total salt concentration (salinity) which 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

7.1 Origin of Minerals 

is commonly expressed as weight percent 
NaCl equivalent. The tem-perature of total 
homogenization of an inclusion defines its 
density. Furthermore the homogenization 
temperature means the minimum trapping 

A microthermometric investigation would 
begin with supercooling and complete freezing 
of the inclusion (E). During subsequent warm- 
ing ice melting occurs until the last ice crystal 
disappears at the temperature of final melting 
(Tm) in D. Further warming means expansion 
of the liquid phase along the liquid- vapour co- 
tectic curve until the vapour bubble disappears 
at the temperature of homogenization (Th) in 
B. After homogenization a small increase of the 
temperature by further warming would lead to 
a large increase of the inclusions' internal pres- 
sure along the iso chore. 

Inclusions in crystals are most probably 
documented for the first time in the fourth 
century by the Roman Claudian [c375-c404], 
who wrote down nine epigrams with the title 
De crystallo cut aqua tnerat.l hi the 11th 
century the Mid Asian scholar al-Blrum [973- 
cl050] gave a first detailed description of fluid 
inclusions, but it was only in the second 
half of the 17th century that scientists used 
these observations for genetic interpretations 
of minerals and gemstones. Nicolaus Steno 
[1638-1686], the famous geologist and founder 
of the 'law of stratification', observed fluid 
inclusions along blue and white growth zones 
of chevron quartz. I 728 ! He concluded 

that the crystal grew from the inner to the 
outer zones by precipitation from a solution 
and that the inclusions represent relics of this 
solution. This conclusion was problematic since 
it contradicted the Aristotelian tradition which 
interpreted quartz crystals as fossil icicles. 

The first English description of fluid 
inclusions dates back to 1672 when Robert 
Boyle [1627-1691] reported a large moving 
bubble in quartz. He concluded that 

gemstones, like salt, originate from liquid and 
soft material because gemstones have crystal 
shapes and cleavages similar to that of salt 

[728] st en0; N. 1669. Prodromus de solido intra solidum 
naturaliter contento. Florenz: Stella. 

crystals. I 729 ! Like Steno he denied the origin 
of quartz from icicles. He argued that ice is less 
dense than water and therefore cannot contain 
water inclusions, whereas, according to his own 
calculations, the specific weight of quartz is 
2.65 g/cm3. 

Other scientists followed. Between 1702 
and 1711 Johann Jakob Scheuchzer [1672- 
1733] published observations on vapour bubbles 
in quartzJ 730 ! He favored the notion 

that quartz had its origin from water because 
of the fact that all water contains vapour 
bubbles. Generally, large inclusions attracted 
the attention of early naturalists (Dewey 1818; 
Dwight 1820; see Smith, 1953, for additional 
references). Besides pure descriptions there 
were first reports on the nature of the trapped 
fluid. Commander Deodat de Dolomieu (1792) 
may have been the first to report inclusions in 
quartz filled with petroleum.! 731 ] Hayden 

(1819) described a new mineral, neocronite, 
that spread a terrible smell. I 732 ! In fact 

the mineral turned out to be common feldspar 
containing H2S-bearing inclusions. 

The first analytical and experimental 
work to establish the composition of specific 
inclusions was done in the early 19th century. 
Scipione Breislak [1750-1826], in 1818, analyzed 
petroleum inclusions in quartz. I 733 ! Sir 

Humphrey Davy [1778-1829] opened inclusions 
by drilling under water, oil and even mercury 
and pipetted the released fluids for chemical 
analysis. Moreover, he was the first to observe 
fluid inclusions with a microscope.! 734 ] In 

1823 David Brewster [1781-1868] published two 

[729] Boyle, R. 1672. Essay about the origine and virtues 

of gems. London, William Godbid. 


[ Title Needed ] 

[ ] 

I 731 ! Dolomieu, Deodat de. 1792. Sur de l'huile de petrol 
dans le cristal de roche et les fluides elastiques tires dur 
quartz. Observation sur la Physique 42:318-19. 

[ Title Needed ] 

[ ] 

[733] Breislak, S. 1818. Institutions geologiques. Trans- 
lated from the Italian by P. J. L. Campmas. Milan, Impr. 
imperiale et royale. 

[734] rj aV y 5 H. 1822. On the state of water and aeriform 
matter in cavities found in certain crystals. Philosophical 
Transactions of the Royal Society of London 2:367-76. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

7.1 Origin of Minerals 

papers about fluid inclusions in the Edinburgh 
Philosophical Journal.! 735 ] He observed 

fluid inclusions containing a vapour bubble and 
two immiscible fluids and found out that the 
expansion of the second fluid (carbon dioxide, 
as he concluded later) was 32 times greater than 
the expansion of water. Brewster also reported 
for the first time daughter crystals within fluid 
inclusions and identified them as calcite. For 
his innovative pressure experiments he used 
rifle barrels as auto-claves which were the most 
stable vessels available at that time. The 
results of these investigations, including the 
work of William Nicol [1768-1851], I 736 ! were 
used as very strong evidence to support the 
Neptunist theory that all crustal materials had 
their origin from ocean suspension or solution. 
Ongoing research added more details on fluid 
compositions. Jean-Baptiste Dumas [1800- 
1884], in 1830, I 737 l and Heinrich Rose [1795- 
1864], in 1839,[ 738 1 reported inclusions of an 
inflammable gas (C02) in rock salt. Brewster 
(1845) observed the formation of daughter 
minerals upon heating of inclusions (i. e. 
retrograde solubility of carbonates) I 739 ! and 
Robert Bunsen [1811-1899], in 1851, identified 
CH4 in rock salt from Wieliczka/PolandJ 740 ! 

The year 1858 marked a milestone in the 
history of fluid inclusion research. Sir Henry 
Clifton Sorby [1826-1908], "The Father of Mi- 

[735] Brewster, D. 1823. On the existence of a group of 
movable crystals of carbonate of lime in a fluid cavity of 
quartz. Edinburgh Philosophical Journal 9:268-70.; ibid., 
1823. On the existence of two new fluids in the cavities 
of minerals, which are immiscible, and which possess 
remarkable physical properties. Edinburgh Philosophical 
Journal 9:94-107. 

I 736 ! Nichol, W. 1828. Observations on the fluids con- 
tained in crystallized minerals. Edinburgh Philosophical 
Journal 5:94-96. 

[737J Dumas, J. 1830. Note sur une variete de sel gemme 
qui decrepite au contact de l'eau. Annales de Chimie et 
Physique 43:318-20. 

I 738 ! Rose, H. 1839. Uber das Knistersalz von Wieliczka. 

Annalen der Physik und Chemie 48:353-61. 

[739J _^ 1845 On the existence of crystals with different 

primitive forms and physical properties in the cavities of 

minerals; with additional observations on the new fluids 

in which they occur. Transactions of the Royal Society of 

Edinburgh 16:11-22. 

[740J B unserl) Yi. 1851. Uber die Prozesse der vulkanischen 

Gesteinsbildung Islands. Annalen der Physik und Chemie 


croscopic Petrography",! 741 ] published his pa- 
per On the Microscopical Structure of Crystals 
indicating the Origin of Minerals and Rocks 
(Sorby 1858). This paper was based on the four 
fundamentals: observation, experiment, theo- 
retical interpretation, and application, and it 
presented the first systematics on fluid inclu- 
sions.! 742 ] 

Sorby was the first to propose that the gas 
bubbles present in most fluid inclusions were 
the result of differential thermal contraction of 
the enclosing host mineral and the included 
liquid during cooling from a higher temperature 
of trapping to the temperature of observation 
(room temperature). Consequently, reheating 
of such inclusions would lead to disappearance 
of the bubble and the temperature at which this 
occurs (homogenization temperature) could 
serve as an estimate on the temperature of 
mineral formation. His outstanding talent for 
observation and precise documentation resulted 
in five attached plates which represent the first 
systematic documentation on observed fluid 
inclusions and which have maintained their 
validity for petrological interpretations even 
today. I 743 l 

Experimentally Sorby proved that the 
most common liquid in fluid inclusions is 
water. He heated and decrepitated inclusions, 
collected and condensed the released vapour, 
cooled it and determined the resulting solids 
at low temperatures by their shape and their 
melting point to be ice crystals. Moreover 
he identified other components released during 
these experiments as sylvite (KC1) and halite 
(NaCl). In experiments with artificial fluid 
inclusions he showed that the expansion 
coefficients for a variety of solutions on heating 
were one or two orders of magnitude greater 
than those of the enclosing host minerals. 
From these experiments he developed a set of 
formulae which permitted the calculation of 

I 741 l Johnson, D. A., ed. 1979. H. C. Sorby centenary 
issue. Journal of the Geological Society of the Sheffield 
University 7 (4): 181-93. 

[ Title Needed ] 

[ ] 

[743] Touret, j #) 1984. Les inclusions fluides: histoire d'un 
paradoxe. Bulletin Miner alogiques 107:125-37. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

7.1 Origin of Minerals 

the homogenization temperature for a given 
inclusion on the basis of the observed filling 
degree (i. e. the volume fraction of the liquid 
phase) at room temperature for a variety of 

The formal perfection and the innovative 
character of Sorby's paper inspired Jacques 
Touret (1984) to compare it with other 
masterpieces which marked the beginning 
of a new technique such as the bible of 
Johannes Gutenberg or the violins of Antonio 
StradivariJ 744 ! 

The German scientists Hermann Vogel- 
sang [1838-1874] and Ferdinand Zirkel [1838- 
1912] were among the first to use the termi- 
nology and the techniques of Sorby to carry 
out further investigations on fluid inclusions 
in rock-forming minerals, in particular on plu- 
tonic and volcanic rocks. I 745 ! Zirkel further- 
more heated fluid inclusions and examined the 
vapour with spectroscopical methods. I 746 ! 

The first primitive heating stage was 
constructed by John Arthur Phillips [1822- 
1887], in 1875, who used a paraffin bath for 
this purpose. I 747 ! Other scientists working 

on fluid inclusions at that time were Walter 
Noel Hartley [1846-1913], I 748 l and Edward 
Sang [1805-1890] in England,! 749 ! or George 

[7 J Touret, J., 1984. Les inclusions fluides: histoire d'un 
paradoxe. Bulletin Mineralogiques 107:125-37. 

[745] Vogelsang, H. 1867. Philosophie der Geologie und 
mikroskopische Gesteinsstudien. Bonn: Cohen und Sohn.; 
Vogelsang, H., and H. Geissler. 1869. Uber die Natur der 
Flussigkeitseinschliisse in gewissen Mineralien. Annalen 
der Physik und Chemie 137:56-75.; Zirkel, F. 1866. Uber 
die mikroskopische Zusammensetzung und Structur der 
diesjahrigen Laven von Nea-Kammeni bei Santorin. Neues 
Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaontologie 

[746] Z irkel, F. 1870. Mikromineralogische Mitteilungen. 
Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaontolo- 
gie, 1870, 801-32. 

[747] Phillips, J. A. 1875. The rocks of the mining district 
of Cornwall and their relation to metalliferous deposits. 
Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 

I 748 ! Hartley, W. N. 1877a. Observations on fluid-cavities. 
Journal of the Chemical Society of London 31 (1): 241-49.; 
ibid., 1877b. On attraction and repulsion of bubbles by 
heat. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 20 (18): 

[749] Sang, E. 1873. Notice of a singular property exhibited 
by the fluid enclosed in crystal cavities. Proceedings of the 
Royal Society of Edinburgh 8:86-88. 

Wesson Hawes [1848-1882] I 750 ! and Charles 
Lee Reese [1862-1940] in the United States of 
America.! 751 ] In Russia many researchers 

critically reviewed the articles of their German, 
English and American colleagues (see, for 
example, Karpinsky 1880). I 752 ! 

Until the end of the 19th century more 
than 150 papers were published on fluid 
inclusions. In spite of this fact the turn of 
the century was characterized by a certain 
scepticism about the use of fluid inclusions, 
partly influenced by some critical papers of 
Phillips (1875) I 753 l and Zirkel (1873).[ 754 1 
Nevertheless until 1920 about 50 more articles 
appeared by well-known researchers like Harry 
Rosenbusch [1836-1914], I 755 l Johann Georg 
Koenigsberger [1874-1946] and Wolf Johannes 
Miiller [1874-1942], I 756 l and Rudolf Scharizer 
[1859-1935] I 757 l mainly to test the usage 
of this method for solving different problems 
of mineral formation and formation of ore 

1921 marks a turning point in the 
fluid inclusion research. Some scientists 

now considered the problems exclusively from 
the physico-chemical point. The German 
Richard Nacken (b. 1884) was the first to 
apply state diagrams of water and carbon 

I 75 °] Hawes, G. W. 1881. On liquid carbon dioxide in 
smoky quartz. American Journal of Science 21:209-16. 
[751] p eesS; c L_ 1898. Petroleum inclusions in quartz 
crystals. Journal of the American Chemical Society 20:795- 

I 752 ! Karpinsky, A. P. 1880. On the occurrence of 

inclusions of liquid carbon dioxide in mineral substances. 

Gornyi Zhurnal 2 (4-5): 96-117. 

[753] phiiii pS; j. A. 1875. The rocks of the mining district 

of Cornwall and their relation to metalliferous deposits. 

Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 


[754] Zij-kei^ p_ 1873. Die mikroskopische Beschaffenheit 

der Mineralien und Gesteine. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann 


[755] Posenbusch, H. 1887. Mikroskopische Physiographic 
der Mineralien und Gesteine. Bd. 2. Stuttgart: 

I 756 ! Konigsberger, J., and W. J. Miiller. 1906. Uber 
die Flussigkeitseinschliisse im Quarz alpiner Mineralklufte. 
Centralblatt fur Mineralogie 1906: 72-77. 

I 757 ! Scharizer, R. 1920. Zur Frage der Bildung der 
Einschliisse von fliissigem Kohlendioxyd in Mineralien. 
Centralblatt fur Mineralogie, Abt. B., 1920: 143-48. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

7.2 Artificial Minerals 

dioxide. I 758 ! He further showed that only 

saline fluid inclusions with a vapour bubble can 
be used as a thermometer, whereas gaseous 
fluid inclusion mainly composed of carbon 
dioxide are excellent indicators to determine 
the pressure during the formation of the host 
mineral. Nacken thereby systematically used 
synthetic fluid inclusions for his experiments. 
Many other scientists added new ideas on 
the formation and interpretations of fluid 
inclusions. They emphasized the importance 
to distinguish between primary and secondary 
inclusions, proved that some of the older 
work contained misinterpretations and tried to 
convince the scientific world of the reliability of 
microthermometry as a serious method. 

7.2 Artificial Minerals l 759 ! 

REWORK: Speculation on how metals and 
minerals formed within the earth has always 
existed in history. Aristotle's theory of mineral 
formation revolved around exhalations inside 
the earth interacting with physical conditions 
such as hot or cold to form minerals. Later, 
it was a popular belief that a mineral seed 
existed deep in the rock from which the 
minerals and metals grew. The basic idea 
of the philosopher's stone came from similar 
speculation. It was not until the invention of 
physical chemistry at the end of the eighteenth 
century that experimenters slowly recognized 
that minerals and rocks were actually complex 
chemical compounds that had formed under 
very different conditions than existed on the 
surface of the earth. They theorized that the 
conditions inside the earth that were present 
when a specific mineral or rock formed could 
be experimentally duplicated, and through the 
introduction of the proper chemical elements, 
artificial minerals might be artificially created. 
In the nineteenth century the first 
attempts were made to create minerals and 
igneous rocks artificially. The different 

methods employed were classified by the 

[758] Nacken, R. 1921. Welche Folgerungen ergeben 

sich aus dem Auftreten von Fliissigkeitseinschlussen in 

Mineralen? Centralblatt fur Mineralogie 1921: 12-20, 35- 


[759J G ro th, Entwicklungsgeschicte der mineralogischen Wiss- 

enschaften, 1926, p. 226-228. 

researchers as follows: 

1. Crystallization by fusion (simple fusion without 
solvents; fusion with solvents but without chemical 
reactions; fusion involving chemical reactions). 

2. Crystallization by sublimation (simple sublimation; 
chemical reaction between volatile substances; reac- 
tion between volatile and non-volatile substances). 

3. Crystallization by solution (solution without chemi- 
cal action; chemical reaction of two liquids; reaction 
of liquids and solids). 

On the whole, the experimental work that 
began in the nineteenth century has tended to 
confirm the observations of mineralogists and 
petrographers in the field. 

The English chemist JAMES HALL [1761- 
1832] appears to be the first to successfully 
create artificial minerals and rocks. Among the 
most interesting syntheses were: the laboratory 
production of marble from limestone (James 
Hall, 1801). 

Hall is remembered chiefly for the 
experimental work he carried out to counter 
certain criticisms of James Hutton's Theory of 
the Earth, although he made other important 
contributions to geology. His first reaction 
to the Theory had been unfavorable, and it 
was only after numerous conversations with 
Hutton that he was persuaded to accept most 
of its fundamental principles. Once convinced, 
he provided strong support for Hutton, not 
only by his experiments but also by field 

Hall's first experiments were undertaken 
to refute the claim that if igneous rocks 
had originated as molten masses injected into 
overlying strata, they would be found to 
occur naturally as masses of glass, not as 
crystalline rocks. This claim was made because 
earlier experimenters had found that artificially 
melted basalt and similar rocks, when cooled, 
formed a glass. Hall had read accounts of Rene 
Reaumur's experiments on porcelain; and in 
a local glass foundry he had noticed that a 
mass of molten glass which had been allowed 
to cool slowly had congealed to a stony mass 
containing some crystals. He conceived the idea 
that igneous rocks, if they had cooled slowly, 
as seemed probable under natural conditions, 
would form crystalline rocks rather than a 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

glass. Not long after Hutton's death in 1797 
he carried out a series of experiments to prove 

Hall melted specimens of intrusive and 
extrusive basalt ("whinstone and lava") from 
fifteen British and foreign localities and allowed 
the fused masses to cool slowly. The 

cooled melts he obtained were stony masses, 
sometimes containing obvious crystals; but 
none, so far as is known, resembled at all closely 
the rocks from which they had been derived. 
Some of his cooled melts have been preserved, 
and subsequent microscopic examination has 
shown that one of them contained small 
crystals of feldspar, augite, olivine, and iron 
ore, minerals characteristic of the rocks used in 
the experiments. Hall's results were sufficiently 
convincing to prove that fused basalt does not 
necessarily cool to a glass; but he had not 
taken into account the fact that, under natural 
conditions, igneous rocks take very much longer 
to cool than the time that he had allowed. 

The second criticism dealt with by 
Hall was the obvious one that if the 
consolidation of limestones had been effected 
in the manner Hutton supposed — by the 
action of subterranean heat — they would have 
decomposed with loss of carbon dioxide. 
Hutton had in fact suggested that this would 
not happen if the limestones were heated under 
great pressure, such as that which would be 
exerted by an overlying mass of seawater. Hall 
proved this experimentally. 

The task proved extremely difficult, 
but Hall showed great determination and 
remarkable experimental skill in bringing his 
investigation to a satisfactory conclusion. 
Between 1798 and 1805 he carried out more 
than 500 separate experiments. It was a classic 
case of proceeding by trial and error. No 
apparatus suitable for his purpose existed, and 
Hall had to design and construct his own. His 
method was to insert small weighed amounts 
of various types of limestone or carbonate of 
lime into a tubular container. Among many 
difficulties he encountered, the principal ones 
were the selection of suitable material for the 
container (which had to be nonporous and 
capable of withstanding both high temperature 
and high pressures) and the devising of an 

effective method of sealing the container after 
inserting the carbonate of lime. 

Hall used Wedgwood pyrometers to 
regulate the temperature and related the 
Wedgwood scale to the melting point of silver. 
On this basis it seems probable that he 
attained temperatures in excess of 1000 °C. 
To estimate the pressures reached, he adapted 
to his purpose a method devised by Count 
Rumford to measure the explosive power of 
gunpowder. He converted his results to a figure 
significant in relation to Hutton's theory, the 
highest pressure obtained being equivalent to a 
column of seawater 2,720 meters in height. 

Hall certainly proved that limestone can 
be heated to high temperatures under high 
pressure without suffering decomposition. In 
the most successful of his experiments the 
loss in weight of the heated limestone was 
insignificant. It is probable that in some 
experiments he produced crystalline marble. 
He also claimed to have fused limestone; recent 
research suggests that possibly he may have 
done so, but this is uncertain. It was many 
years before Hall's experiments were repeated 
successfully, and his results aroused great 
interest in Europe. Some of the apparatus he 
used and the end products of his experiments 
on basalt and limestone are now in the 
Geological Museum in London and in the 
British Museum (Natural History). 

In 1848 the German mineralogist JoHANN 
Friedrich Ludwig Hausmann [1782-18??] 
published the results of his investigations into 
the material that formed on the walls in the 
furnaces and smoke stacks of various smelters 
in Germany! 760 ] He found that a variety of 
mineral species were sublimated and deposited 
on the interior of the stacks, and included 
the following metals, silver, lead, copper, 
iron, and bismuth, as well as the mineral 
species galena, sphaerite, cuprite, magnetite, 
chrysolite, orthoclase, and annabergite. 

The production of artificial quartz and or- 
thoclase by the action of pure or slightly car- 
bonated water under high pressure (Senarmont 
1851, Daubree and Friedel). 

[760] j p_L_ Hausmann., "Beitrage zur metallugischen 
Krystallkunde," Abhandlungen des Gesellschaft der Wissen- 
schaften, Gottingen, 4 (1848-50) and 5 (1851-52). 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

In his 1852 doctoral dissertation, I 761 ! N.S. 
MANROSS working in Wohler's laboratory at 
the University of Gottingen showed techniques 
for artificially forming a variety of minerals 
including barite, celestite, anhydryite, apatite, 
pyromorphite, wolframite, scheelite, crococite, 
wulfenite, and anglesite. Previously, Daubree 
obtained microscopic crystals of apatite. I 762 ! 
Hausmann had observed wulfenite occuring 
in the walls of the furnace at Bleiberg in 
CarinthiaJ 763 ] 

1857: Jakob [Joseph] Schabus in 
his Bestimmung der Krystallgestalten in 
chemischen Laboratories 64 ^ describes the 
various forms of crystals created in the 
laboratory. Rammelsberg in the 1857 

supplemental volume to his Krystallographishe 
Chemie frequently references Schabus' work. 

1857: F.A. Gurlt., Der pyrogenneten 
kiinstlichen Mineralien. 1857. I 765 ! 

1859: The production of cassiterite 
(tinstone) and rutile by the action of water 
vapour on a chloride or fluoride (Daubree). 
Already in the beginning of the section about 
the Zusammenvorkommen of the minerals 
it was mentioned that A. DAUBREE had 
artificially represented krystallisierten dioxides 
of tin and titanium. The purpose of 

these work was the proof that the minerals 
concerned could have formed in nature from 
volatile halogen connections, on which their 
paragenetischen conditions pointed. G.-A. 
Daubree., Etudes Synthetiques de Geologie 
Experimentale. Paris, Dunod, 1879. I 766 ! 

In 1848 Daubree was summoned to Stras- 
bourg to take the chair of mineralogy and ge- 
ology, and there he established an important 
experimental laboratory for the study of miner- 
alogical and geological processes. The pattern 
of Daubree's lifework was now established, and 

I 761 ! N.S. Manross., 1852, 32 p. 

[762] G A D au b ri §e., Comptes Rendus, 32 (18??), p. 615. 
[763] j pL Hausmann., Ann. Chem. und Pharm., 81 
(18??), p. 224. 

[764] Schabus, Jakob [Joseph]., Bestimmung der Krys- 
tallgestalten in chemischen Laboratories 

[765] p_A_ Gurlt., Der pyrogenneten kiinstlichen Mineralien. 

[ 6J G.-A. Daubree., Etudes Synthetiques de Geologie 
Experimentale. Paris, Dunod, 1879. 

he is remembered for his contributions to the 
understanding of geochemical processes, the 
application of engineering principles to an un- 
derstanding of geological structures and miner- 
alization patterns, and the economic exploita- 
tion of ore bodies. The first of these interests 
resulted in Etudes et experiences synthetiques 
. . . (1859) . His interest in experimental geol- 
ogy was reflected in Rapport sur les progres de 
la geologie experimentale (1867), which was fol- 
lowed by his work of most lasting significance, 
Etudes synthetiques de geologie experimentale 
(1879). Many of the experiments described in 
the latter are still referred to, but ironically it 
was his mechanical rather than his chemical ex- 
periments that most influenced later work. In 
particular, the production of joint patterns as- 
sociated with folding and torsion proved a very 
valuable stim ulus to the experimental studies 
of such geologists as Bailey Willis and Ernst 
and Hans Cloos. 

By 1865, the literature on mineral 
synthesis was substantial enough that a 
bibliography of the subject was compiled by A. 
BoueJ 767 ! It provides a chronological list of 
attempts to create artificial minerals, followed 
by an alphabetical list of the mineral species 
made, and a review of how artificial rocks are 

DuROCHER did work on the production of 
metallic sulphides by the action of sulphuretted 
hydrogen on a chloride. 

Around the same time, in the center 
19. Century, began of Paris into a set 
of experimental work, which had, without 
proceeding from geological considerations, 
substantially the purpose to represent the 
connections on chemical way, occurring in 
nature and thus for the mineral customer and 
for the chemical Krystallographie it became 
extraordinarily important particularly that 
they did not permit to examine itself the 
substances finding in nature in pure and/or 
their different polymorphe modifications exact 
reference of their characteristics. This 

areas affected in particular innovative: J.J. 

[767] j^ Boue., "Bibliographie der kiinstlichen Miner- 
alienerzeugung," Sitzungsberichte der K. Akademie der Wiss- 
ensdiaften, Wien, 51 (1865), Abtheil I, p. 7-73. [Cf. Marg- 
erie, 1896, no. 389.] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

Ebelmen (1814-1852), who the mechanisms 
the porcelain factory in Sevres for its work use 

1851: H.H. De Senarmont [1808- 
1862] In "Experiences sur la production arti- 
ficielle de polychromisme dans les substances 
cristallisees" (1851), Senarmont was the first to 
describe the production of artificial pleochroism 
in strontium nitrate pentahydrate, which had 
been prepared by saturating the substance with 
ammoniacal logwood extract and other organic 
dyestuffs. He also reported on less success- 
ful experiments involving rock candy (sugar), 
Rochelle salt, potassium nitrate, and sodium 
nitrate. The syntheses that Senarmont car- 
ried out in the years 1849-1851 are recounted in 
" Experiences sur la formation des mineraux par 
la voie humide dans les gites metalliferes con- 
cretionnees" (1851) and are an essential con- 
tribution to the understanding of mineral for- 
mation. Since C02, H2S, alkali salts, sul- 
fides, and carbonates predominate in thermal 
springs, he assumed that the formation of ore 
veins from these components would necessar- 
ily occur at elevated temperatures and pres- 
sures. Thus he placed those components that 
he wished to have interact in sealed glass tubes, 
which were inserted into a sealed pipe filled 
with water. The apparatus was then embed- 
ded in coal dust and heated in the gas ovens 
of the steel mills at Ivry-sur-Seine. Through ei- 
ther double decomposition of a soluble salt with 
Na2C03 or CaC03, or precipitation of a solu- 
ble salt using alkali carbonate in a supersatu- 
rated C02 solution, Senarmont produced mag- 
nesite, siderite, rhodochrosite, cobalt carbon- 
ate, nickel carbonate, smithsonite, and mala- 
chite, as well as barite, fluorite, and quartz in 
crystalline form. 

Senarmont also synthesized pure silver, 
copper, arsenic, and hematite. From 

metallic salts and alkali sulfides he obtained 
mostly amorphous sulfides-including marcasite, 
pyrite, manganese sul-fide, hauerite, NiS, 
C03S4, sphalerite, galena, and chalcopyrite; 
and he obtained realgar, orpiment, stibnite, 
bismuthinite, arsenopyrite, proustite, and 
pyrargyrite in crystalline form. He was 
similarly successful in crystallizing PbS and 
ZnS in a supersaturated H2S solution and in 

obtaining pyrite and chalcopyrite in the form 
of a granulated powder with metallic luster. 
If he wished to avoid an immediate reaction, 
he inserted into the glass tube a thin ampul 
containing a salt and a gas bubble. When 
heat was applied the gas bubble burst the 
ampul. Altogether Senarmont succeeded in 
synthesizing twenty-nine vein minerals from the 
alkali sulfides and carbonates commonly found 
in thermal springs with metallic salts. In these 
syntheses the temperature rarely exceeded 
350° C. He gave an exact crystallographic 
description of all the compounds he was able to 
crystallize. In addition, he described the effect 
of the solutions employed on the glass tubes, 
the flaking off of pieces of glass from the tubes, 
and the danger of explosion involved in the use 
of sealed tubes (bombs). 

The famous chemist H.E. Sainte Claire 
Sainte-Claire-Deville (1818-1881) and in 
the section about the krystallographische study 
of the minerals already appreciative. Deville 
was one of the most prolific and versatile 
chemists of the nineteenth century, making 
major contributions in most areas of his science. 
Deville was essentially an experimentalist and 
had little interest in chemical theory. He 
worked out a process for producing pure 
aluminum by reducing its salts with sodium. 
Deville's methods made both metals readily 
available and drastically reduced their cost, but 
he himself did not take much part in their later 
industrial development. He used the sodium 
obtained by his method for the preparation of 
such elements as silicon, boron, and titanium. 
His investigations of the metallurgy of platinum 
led to honors from the Russian government. 
In many of his studies, such as those on 
the artificial production of natural minerals, 
Deville employed very high temperatures and 
became a recognized authority on the use of 
this technique. 

Henri Jules Debray [1827-1888]. He 
undertook his first scientific work in collabo- 
ration with St. Claire Deville, a professor at 
the Ecole Normale. Their first experiments 
were in the use of an oxyhydrogen blowpipe 
to melt platinum. They were commissioned by 
the Russian government to investigate the ap- 
plicability of platinum-indium alloys to coinage 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

and ascertained that these alloys resist corro- 
sion even better than platinum does. At their 
suggestion the standard meter in Paris was 
made, under their supervision, from an alloy 
composed of 90 percent platinum and 10 per- 
cent iridium. In further publications Debray 
reported on investigations of the compounds of 
tungsten, arsenic, and antimony; on the proper- 
ties of rhodium; and on the compounds in the 
platinum metals family and methods of sepa- 
rating them. 

1875: C.W.C. Fuchs, Die Kunstlich 
Dargestellten Mineralien. Haarlem, 1875. I 768 ! 

Paul Gabriel Hautefeuille [1836- 
1902], who into the Sorbonne particularly the 
mineral synthesis dedicated a laboratory fur- 
nished, and a number of younger researchers. 
That of orthoclase, albite, quartz, emerald and 
zircon, by chemical reaction in the presence of 
mineralizers. Influenced in his chemical studies 
by Deville's thermochemical approach, Haute- 
feuille was a member of that group at the Ecole 
Normale Superieure which included Henri De- 
bray, L. J. Troost, Alfred Ditte, and F. Isam- 
bert. Hautefeuille 's best- known studies were 
his reproductions of numerous crystallized min- 
erals by utilizing mineral catalysts and varied 
temperature conditions; he carried on this re- 
search at a time when the generality of poly- 
morphism among crystals was not fully real- 
ized. In his doctoral thesis, for example, he es- 
tablished that three different types of titanium 
dioxide — the rutile, octahedrite, and brookite 
crystals — could each be prepared in the lab- 
oratory from the amorphous dioxide; he also 
demonstrated the temperature dependence of 
two of the crystalline forms of silica — quartz 
and tridymite — and successfully produced a va- 
riety of alkaline feldspars and beryls, including 
the emerald. In his experiments Haute-feuille 
employed catalysts readily available under nat- 
ural conditions, and his work confirmed the 
views of the French school of lithology dating 
from Flie de Beaumont. 

1882: Fouque and Michel-Levy's elegant 
experiments on the artificial production of 
igneous rocks (1878-1881) helped to solve a 

number of outstanding problems. In particular, 
they helped to prove the impossibility of 
synthesizing granitic rocks by igneous fusion 
alone. In addition here those geologists, 
who were occupied with it, belong the 
minerals arising in the Eruptivgesteinen and 
to their mixtures, thus those rocks to explain 
under possible approximation to conditions of 
their education in nature and with similar 
petrographic characteristics; there is this above 
all F. Fouque (1828-1904) and its pupils lind 
coworker A. Michel-Levy (1844 to 1911), 
who its work inVdem mineralogical laboratory 
of the Fcole standard. sup. implemented. 
There is also an extensive collection of 
preparations of the French Mineralsynthetiker, 
while the most complete is set up in the 
mineralogical collection of the Fcole of the 
mines. The first systematically arranged 
discussion of the all artificial representations 
of minerals, implemented up to then, contains 
the work ven of F. Fouque and Michel Michel- 
Levy, Synthese Mineraux et la Roches (Paris 
1882). Pes] 

Fouque in collaboration with Michel-Levy, 
he successfully synthesized a large number 
of igneous rocks in an attempt to determine 
the conditions necessary for the production 
of their mineralogical constituents. From 
1878 to 1882, Fouque and Michel-Levy worked 
continuously on the artificial synthesis of 
igneous rocks, primarily to determine the 
conditions surrounding their origins. They 
were successful in producing the majority of 
volcanic rocks with the identical mineralogical 
composition and structural peculiarities found 
in nature. Their work verified the importance 
of the rate of cooling on the extent of 
crystallization and the sizes of grain, and 
demonstrated that rocks of distinctly different 
mineralogical composition would be formed 
from the same magma, depending on the 
conditions of crystallization. 

From 1878 to 1882 Michel-Levy and 
Fouque worked to synthesize igneous rocks 
artificially, believing that if they could 
determine the peculiar conditions surrounding 

[768] c.w.c. Fuchs., 
Haarlem, 1875. 

Die Kunstlich Dargestellten Mineralien. 

[769J FA. Fouque and M. Levy., Synthese des Mineraux et 
des Roches. Pariy. Masyon. 1882. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

the rocks' genesis, they might arrive at 
important geological conclusions. Despite the 
meager equipment of the laboratory at the 
College de France in which they carried out 
their experiments, they produced rocks having 
the mineralogical composition and structure 
identical with most of the volcanic rocks found 
in nature. They published jointly twenty-two 
articles and a book, Synthese des mineraux 
et des roches (1882), which incorporated the 
results of their work. Their most important 
conclusions were that the degree of crystallinity 
depended largely upon the rate of cooling and 
that rocks of distinctly different mineralogical 
compositions would be formed from the same 
magma, depending upon the conditions of 
crystallization. Their failure to reproduce the 
trachytes and rhyolites demonstrated that in 
order to obtain the characteristic elements of 
these rocks, the presence of mineralizers was 
necessary to lessen the viscosity of the magma 
and to allow crystallization. 

1884: Soon thereafter (1884) the careful 
composition of L.Z. Bourgeois followed this 
in that in an Appendix to the second volume 
of the Encyclopedie Chimique published 
by Fremy. Apparently, it was reissued 

separately. I 770 ! 

1884: The extensive work of the Norwe- 
gian J. H. L. Vogt, which supplied "Studien 
liber Schlacken" (Stockholm 1884) connections 
krystallisierter in the paper under use of the 
analyses Akermans the proof of the occurrence 
of a row in metallurgical products and which 
knowledge of the emergence of minerals in dry 
Schmelzfliissen in the following years impor- 
tantly extended. 

1890: Charles Friedel The role of 
water as a mineralizer, in the supercritical 
state and in the presence of alkali salts, 
which was first demonstrated by Friedel (1890- 
1891). Charles Friedel, succeeded in 
producing percylite, cumengeite, and boleite. 
Famous chemist Charles Friedel (1832-1899), 
who taught mineralogy and organic chemistry 
at the University of Paris and was, at the 
same time, the curator of the mineralogi- 

[770J L_2. Bourgeois., Reproduction Artificielle des Mineraux. 
Paris, Dunod, 1884. 

cal collections of the School of Mines. He 
introduced his son, Georges Friedel [????- 
????], the famous crystallographer to mineral 
synthesis when he was still in his teens. 
Together the Friedels first published accounts 
of a number of syntheses produced in a steel 
tube lined with platinum, at about 500° C. 
and under high pressure. Synthetic minerals 
were prepared by letting group I hydroxides 
and silicates or salt solutions act on mica. 
Among nonminerals he obtained tricalcium 
aluminum hexahydroxytrichloride di-hydrate 
(1897) and a calcium aluminate (1903), 
both known for their twinning, and lithium 
metasilicate (Li2Si03), which syncrystallizes 
with beryllium orthosilicate (Be2Si04). With 
Francois Grandjean, Georges Friedel went on 
to synthesized chlorites by attacking pyroxene 
with alkali solutions (1909). By preparing 
potassium nepheline (1912) he settled the 
question of "excess silica" in the nepheline 

Georges Friedel's work (1896-1899) estab- 
lished the interstitial nature of zeolitic water, 
which can be replaced by many liquids and 
gases in the zeolitic "sponge." He found zeolitic 
water in compounds other than zeolites. 

1890: Cornelius Doelter in 1890 re- 
produced the zeolites (apophyllitc, okenitc, 
chabazite, phacolite, heulandite, stilbite, lau- 
niontite, thomsonite, analcite, natrolite, scole- 
cite, prehnite). Doelter insisted on the confir- 
mation of all suppositions through experiment. 
He first devoted himself to synthesis and pre- 
pared nepheline and pyroxenes (1884), a sulfide 
and a sulfosalt (1886), micas (1888), and a ze- 
olite (1890). In this work he improved Charles 
Frieders pressure vessels and used liquid and 
solid carbon dioxide to obtain higher pressure. 
Experiments on remelting and recrystallization 
carried out after 1883 had shown that minerals 
other than the original ones could be separated 
out from the fused mass. For example, Doel- 
ter obtained an augite andesite from a fused 
mass of eclogite. He likewise investigated the 
remelting of rocks and the influence of miner- 
alizers on the occurrence of rock-forming min- 
erals. His Allgemeine chemische Mineralogie 
(Leipzig, 1890) presented the knowledge he had 
gained of these matters. 


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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

In 1890 Doelter studied the absorption of 
water by dehydrated zeolites and the solubility 
of silicates in water. At the same time he 
demonstrated that in electrolysis, fused basalt 
concentrates iron at the cathode and that, 
therefore, fused silicates behave like electrolytes 
and not like alloys. Since the application of the 
physical-chemical laws developed for aqueous 
solutions to silicate fusions was hampered by 
the lack of reliable constants, Doelter began 
in 1899 to determine the melting points of 
important minerals and, in 1901, those of 
mixtures. In 1901 he ascertained the volume 
increase of liquid and solidified rock fusions 
relative to the solid parent rock and found that 
minerals which are difficult to fuse are also 
difficult to dissolve and very hard (1902). In 
1902 Doelter presented a viscosity series from 
liquid basalt to viscous granite, recognizing the 
influence of mineralizers on viscosity and on the 
lowering of the melting point, as well as their 
catalytic and chemical activity — e.g., in the 
formation of mica and of tourmaline. Moreover, 
he found that magmatic differentiation "is 
nothing else than the final result of mineral 
segregation." For melting-point determinations 
he constructed the crystallization microscope 
built by C. Reichert with the heating oven of 
W. C. Heraeus (described in 1904; improved 
in 1909). In 1904 he was able to confirm 
the suspected influence of the inoculation of 
solution-melts with seed crystals. 

With his Physikalisch-chemische Miner- 
alogie (Leipzig, 1905), Doelter showed himself 
to be, along with J. H. L. Vogt, the most im- 
portant cofounder of this new discipline, even 
though he held that the direct transfer of the re- 
sults of physical chemistry was not always pos- 
sible, because in silicate fusions a restoration 
of equilibrium is impeded by the subcooling 
and by reduced diffusion resulting from viscos- 
ity. The chief advantage that he saw in physical 
chemistry was that it had set the direction that 
experimental work should follow. 

1891: Etienne Stanislaus Meunier 
Les Methodes de Synthase en Mineralogie 
(1891) is a comprehensive textbook describing 
all aspects of synthesizing mineral compounds 
in the laboratory. Meunier describes the 
accidental creation of minerals as well as giving 

the scientific rational behind mineral creation. 
He then provides detailed instructions for 
creating a large number of mineral species in 
the laboratory including recipes, apparatus, 
coloring agents, etc. The entire text is fully 
referenced to original citations and includes at 
the conclusion indexes to the names of the 
various authors and a comprehensive subject 

1891: Johan Hermann Lie Vogt 
[1858-1932] studied the formations of minerals 
in slags and lavas in 1891. Structural 
formulae-in analogy with those evolved in 
organic chemical research-were evolved. R. 
Schauzer contributed hypothetical graphic 
formuke for the organization of Orthoclase, 
Kaolin, Hydrargillite, Pyrophyllite, Talc, 
Serpentine, Brucite, Enstatite, and Clarke 
attacked the problem of the zeolites. Vogt 
in 1894 went on with his interesting inquiries 
into the genesis of minerals, reproducing- 
or trying to do so-the formation of ore 
deposits by differentiation processes in basic 
magmas. These studies were later published 
in Vogt's Die Silikatschmelzlosungen mit 
besonderer Riicksicht auf die Mineralbildung 
(1903-1904). I 771 ! 

Vogt was a pioneer in ore geology and in 
the physical chemistry of silicates as a basis 
for igneous rock petrology. His work in the 
latter field began with studies of slag miner- 
als. In a series of papers, the first of which 
appeared in 1883, he provided the first de- 
scriptions of a number of slag minerals: en- 
statite, wollastonite (pseudo-wollastonite), fay 
alite, monticellite varieties, akermannite, old- 
hamite, manganblende (alaban-dite), troilite, 
and sphalerite. Vogt soon began using the 
crystallization of slags as a model for silicate 
crystallization in igneous rocks, as shown by 
the title of his papers of 1888-1890: "Beitrage 
zur Kenntnis der Gesetze der Mineralbildung 
in Schmelzmassen und in den neovulkanischen 
Ergussgesteinen." Inspired by his mineralogi- 
cal studies of slags, he generalized his studies 
of ores and silicate rocks in "Die Silikatschmel- 
zlosungen" (2 pts., 1902), a pioneer paper in 

1 1 J.H.L. Vogt., Die Silikatschmelzlosungen mit besonderer 
Riicksicht auf die Mineralbildung. 1903-04. 


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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

which the crystallization relations of the dif- 
ferent minerals and their dependence upon eu- 
tectic relations are considered. The lowering 
of melting points in melts with several com- 
ponents and the importance of eutectic com- 
positions in binary series are discussed. The 
general relationships are applied to natural sil- 
icate melts and specifically to the eutectic re- 
lation between quartz and feldspars in igneous 
rocks. Bearing still more directly on natural re- 
lationships is " Physikalisch-chemische Gesetze 
der Kristallizationsfolge in Eruptiv-Ge-steinen" 
(1905), in which the crystallization within the 
ternary feldspar system orthoclase-albite-anor- 
thite and the granite system quartz-orthoclase- 
al-bite is discussed. Not all of Vogt's main con- 
clusions have proved correct, but he applied the 
principles of physical chemistry to natural sili- 
cate systems more intensely than anyone else of 
his generation and therefore is often called the 
father of modern physicochemical petrology. 

The progress made in the subject of 
mineral synthesis has been remarkably rapid 
in the last two decades, and the success of 
the French chemists in this line has been 
particularly marked. The excellent books of 
Fouque and Levy (1882) and of Bourgeois 
(1884), which gave a full summary of what 
had been accomplished in the way of forming 
artificial minerals, are now followed by a 
volume by another active worker in the same 
field, Etienne Stanislaus Meunier [1843- 
1925] . In 1891 he published his Les Methodes 
de Synthese en Mineralogie^ 72 ^ that occupies 
a place of its own, for it is devoted particularly 
to an explanation of the methods used and 
general principles involved. The first part 
discusses the contemporaneous formation of 
minerals in nature; and a second part is given 
to the cases of accidental synthesis, furnace 
products, etc. The third and most important 
division describes the method of synthesis 
proper; first by the dry way involving simple 
crystallization by molecular change, by igneous 
fusion and by the intervention of a mineralizer; 
then simple decomposition; chemical union; 
precipitation and finally, double decomposition. 

[772] Etienne Stanislaus Meunier., Les Methodes de Synthese 
en Mineralogie. Paris, 1891. 359 p. 

The methods of synthesis in the wet way 
are also described with similar system and 
thoroughness as also those where the method 
is mixed. This summary will give an idea of 
the wide range of topics here presented, but 
the volume calls for the close study that it fully 

1894: Bruno Doss in 1894 artificially 
prepared Anatase and Rutile, by saturation of 
a bead of microcosmic salt with titanium oxide. 

1896: About this time (1896) L. Michel 
made artificial Powellite. 

1896: One to close to conclusions 19 
Century continued representation of this area 
gave Chemische Mineralogie (Leipzig 1896) of 
Reinhard Brauns. 

1898: Other experimental studies have 
yielded important clues to the origin of certain 
microstructures observed in metallic ores. In 
the same direction J. Morocewicz (1898), 
and A. LAGOIRO were active in Warsaw. 

In 1899 G. BODLANDER treated the 
now important question of "solid solutions," 
which Van't Hoff first promulgated. This 
is a profound study having to do with 
the intermixtures-solution so-called-of solids in 
each other. 

Mineral Synthesis had been greatly ad- 
vanced, Daubree, Doelter, Levy, Fouque and 
others contributed to this subject and elaborate 
speculations upon the constitution of minerals 
filled the journals. 

Muthmann and Kuntze, R. Brauns, Ben 
Saude, contributed observations upon the 
optical anomalies of metric crystals, in which 
emerged the idea that in the process of 
crystallization, for an instant, upon hardening 
not only a contraction of the mass, as 
in colloidal bodies, occurs, but the form 
of the crystal has an influence upon this 
contraction which gives rise to various and 
contrasted effects, according to the nature of 
the surrounding mass, according to pressure, 
to temperature, and the concentration of the 
solution and always similar effects under similar 

1910: C. Doelter are in detail treated 
with the individual minerals the syntheses 
the same drew up extensive hand beech of 
mineral chemistry. The synthetic studies of 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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7.2 Artificial Minerals 

Doelter were always a subject of perennial 
interest to that industrious investigator, and 
they were continued with interesting results. 
He found upon melting potashmica, that 
recrystallization yielded leucite and nephelite, 
lithia-mica also produced leucite and nephelite 
; zinnwaldite, leucite ; magnesia, mica, augite, 
spinel, chrvsolite, meionite, orthoclase(?) ; 
clinochlore, spinel, olivine, augite ; tourmaline, 
olivine, spinel ; axinite, augite datolite, 
olivine, anorthite, pyroxene( ?) ; epidote, 
augite and anorthite, and, with mixtures of 
fluoride of sodium and calcium, anorthite and 
meionite. Zoisite and manganese chloride 
yielded manganese garnet ; garnet itself with 
a fluoride, biotite, or with less fluoride, 
anorthite, meionite, augite. Doelter further 
experimented upon the syntheses of horn- 
blende, wernerite, acmite, and came to the 
conclusion that through the influence of 
fluorides, chlorides, and through the influence 
of varying temperatures a fixed mixture gave 
most diverse results. 

1913: Norman Levi Bowen [1887-1956] 
have done decisive work on the reproduction 
of magmatic minerals by the 'dry path'. In 
preparing his doctoral dissertation on a phase- 
equilibrium study of the nepheline-carnegieite- 
anorthite system, Bowen followed the work of 
the Norwegian J. H. L. Vogt, who had made 
petrological analyses using physical chemistry. 
He worked under the direction of A. L. Day 
of the Geophysical Laboratory and was also 
influenced by early association with R. A. Daly. 

Bowen published critical phase diagrams 
for the study of the major igneous rocks: 
the plagioclase system in 1913, the MgO- 
Si02 system and the ternary system diopside- 
forsterite-silica in 1914, and, with colleagues, 
another twenty-one phase diagrams; the last 
appeared almost coincidentally with his death. 
From the beginning, his principal concern was 
the differentiation of igneous rocks. In 1927 
he wrote: ". . . rock series can not be 
partitioned off into such divisions as gabbro, 
diorite, etc., each having a eutectic of its own. 
All of these belong to a single crystallization 
series, to a single polycomponent system, which 
is dominated by reaction series." 

Silicate phase-equilibria studies, in partic- 

ular his own plagioclase diagram, formed the 
bases on which Bowen published his carefully 
reasoned theory of the . . . 

A practical textbook describing the vari- 
ous methods and techniques to create artifical 
minerals was published by E. DlTTLER in 1915 
as the Mineralsynthetisches Praktikum.P 73 ^ 

1920: In a prize winning essay published 
(Presschrift) in Leipzig W. ElTEL appeared 
a critical and treatment of the syntheses 
of the feldspar representatives particularly 
supplemented by own attempts important for 
the petrographic research communicated, to a 
group of silicates, which sets particularly large 
difficulties to the reproduction against. 

Precious Stones 

A subset of the manufacturing of artificial min- 
erals that had besides interesting theoretical 
concerns but also important financial associa- 
tions, was the creation of gem crystals. Because 
of their importance and value as ornamental 
stones, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, 
and others have been the subject of intensive 

1728: Charles-Francois De Cister- 
NAI Du Fay wrote on the the coloring of ar- 
tificial gems ( 1728)-(DSB).[ 774 1 

By investigating the reaction at high 
temperatures of volatile fluorides on oxygen 
compounds, H. Saint Claire Deville [1818- 
1881] and his assistant obtained in 1858 crystals 
up to two centimeter of white and green 
corundum, ruby, sapphire, zircon, chrysoberyl, 
and spinel. To obtain the red corundum or 
ruby, they added trace amounts of fluoride 
of chromium to the mixture. They observed 
that if too much chromium was added, the 
corundum developed a fine green color. They 
also produced the aluminum silicate mineral 
staurolite by either decomposing fluoride of 
aluminum by silica or fluoride of silica by 

KUNZ ..J 775 ! 

I 773 ! E. Dittler., Mineralsynthetisches Praktikum. 1915. 
[774] 77777 C.-F. Du Fay., "Observations sur quelques 
experiences de l'aimant," 1728, p. 355-369. 
[775] Q eor g e F. Kunz., "On the new artificial rubies. Il- 
lustrated with specimens and microscopical preparations," 
Transactions of the New York Academy Sciences, 6 (1886), 4- 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

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8.0 Crystallography 

The synthesis of rubies, 1877-1891. E. 
Fremy (1891) published his laborious work 
in the artificial production of the ruby. I 776 ! 
It was in 1877 that he and M. Feil first 
achieved success; at first the ruby made was in 
sheets, lamellar and friable, but of no practical 
use. The color was obtained from bichromate 
of potash. As the alumina should be very 
pure, ammonia alum was calcined to obtain it: 
the alumina was mixed with K2Co3 and this 
mixture again with fluoride of beryllium and 
potassium bichromate. Prolonged calcination 
of the mixture at 1500° C. with circulation of 
moist air followed. The moisture disengages 
hydrofluoric acid, this appears to effect the 
isolation of the alumina which has combined 
with the alkali or the earth, and crystallization 
succeeds. From research on the setting of 
hydraulic cement, Fremy proceeded to the 
synthesis of rubies by heating alumina with 
potassium chromate and barium fluoride. 


Diamonds ...I 777 ! 

WlLBERT GOODCHILD., Precious stones, 
by W. Goodchild ... With a chapter on 
artificial stones, by Robert Dykes. London, 
A. Constable and co. ltd., 1908. x, 309 p. 
illus. I 778 l 

J. BOYER ..J 779 ! 

N. HEATON., "The production and 
identification of artificial precious stones," 
Smithsonian Institution. Annual Report, 1911. 
Washington, 1912, p. 217-34. I 780 ! 

F. KRAUSS., Synthetische Edelsteine. 
Berlin, Georg Stilke, 1929. 134 p., illus. 
[Bibliography, p. 116-128.]! 781 ! 

[776] p I £ my> La Synthese Du Rubis, 1891. 
[777] 3 utan, Diamant. Encyclopedie chimique de Fremy, 
Band II, e. Teil, 1885. 

[778] Goodchild, Wilbert. Precious stones, by W. Goodchild 
With a chapter on artificial stones, by Robert Dykes. 
London, A. Constable and co. ltd., 1908. x, 309 p. illus. 

[779] Boyer, J., La synthese des pierres precieuses. Paris, 
Gauthier-Villars 1909. 30, [2] p. illus., plates. 

German translation, ibid. , Die synthetischen Edelsteine, ihre 
Geschichte, Herstellung und Eigenschaften. Berlin, M. Krayn, 
1910. 57 p. ill., tables, diagrs. [On artificial precious 

[7e0J Heaton, N., "The production and identification of 
artificial precious stones," Smithsonian Institution. Annual 
Report, 1911. Washington, 1912, p. 217-34. 

[781] Krauss, F., Synthetische Edelsteine. Berlin, Georg 

I. Menditti., "La collezione dei cristalli 
artificiali del Real museo mineralogico in 

Napoli."! 782 ] 


1891 Etienne S. Meunier., Les Methodes de Synthese en 

Mineralogie. Paris, 1891. 
1993 Scheel, H.J., "Historical Introduction, Chapter 1" (1, 

pp. 1-48) in: D.T.J. Hurle, ed., Handbook of Crystal 

Growth. Amsterdam. Elsevier. 1993. 

8.0 Crystallography^ 83 ] 

Stilke, 1929. 134 p., illus. [Bibliography, p. 116-128.] 
|782] Menditti, I., "La collezione dei cristalli artificiali del 
Real museo mineralogico in Napoli," Aduseologia scientifica, 
15 (1998), no. 1, 21-31. 

|783] Other historical information may be found in: 
M. Betz., "One century of protein crystallography: the 
phycobiliproteins," Biological chemistry, 378 (1997), no. 
3-4, p. 167-176. • John G. Burke., Origins of the 
science of crystals. Berkeley and Los Angeles, University 
of California Press, 1966. [8], 198 p., illus., index. 
[A detailed history of crystallography.] • H. Deas., 
"Crystallography and crystallographers in early 19 th 
century England," Centaurus, 6 (1959), p. 129-148. • V.V. 
Dolivo-Dobrovolsky., "Evolution de la cristallographie et 
les problemes a resoudre," Zapisky Inst. Mines, Leningrad, 
Annal, 8 (1934), p. 160-169. [History of crystallography, 
from the aspect of industrial applications.] • E. Fabian., 
Die Entdeckung der Kristalle: der historische Weg der 
Kristallforschung zur Wissenschaft. Leipzig, Deutscher 
Verlag f ur Grundstoffindustrie, 1986. 193 p., illus. , 
portraits. [History of crystallography; ISBN: 3342001089] 

• Paul Groth., Entwicklungsgeschichte der miner alogischen 
Wissenschaften. Berlin, Julius Springer, 1926. [4], 262 p., 
index. • J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier , 1990. 156 p., illus. , 
biblio., index. [Contains much valuable historical material 
on crystallography.] • CM. Marx., Geschichte der 
Crystallkunde. Carlsruhe und Baden, D.R. Marx, 1825. 
xiv, [2], 313, [3] p., 10 plates. [Reprinted, Wiesbaden, 
M. Sandig, 1970. An early history of crystallography.] 

• Helene Metzger., La genese de la science des cristaux. 
Paris, 1918. 249 p., index. [Excellent history of 
crystallography, with emphasis on the French contribution.] 

• I.I. Shafranovskii., HcTopiiHa KpHCTajuiorpacftHH b 
Pocchh [Istoriia kristallografii v Rossii]. Leningrad, Izd- 
vo Akademii nauk SSSR [Leningradskoe otd-nie], 1962. 
413 p., illus. [History of crystallography in Russia] • ibid., 
HcTopiraa KpiicTajuiorpai|)HH c ^peBHeHinnx BpeMeH p,o 
Ha^ajia 19. CTOJieTHHa [Istoriia kristallografii s drevnei- 
shikh vremen do nachala 19. stoletiia]. Leningrad, Nauka, 
Leningrrad otd-nie, 1978. 295 p., illus. [General history 
of crystallography in the 19th century.] • ibid., HcTopiiHa 
KpHCTajiJiorpai|)HH IIII4I1I BeK [Istoriia kristallografii XIX 
vek]. Leningrad, "Nauka," Leningradskoe otd-nie, 1980. 
323 p., illus., portraits. [History of crystallography in 
the 19th century. A bibliogaphy of works consulted is 
given on pages 306-316.] • H. Tertsch., Das Geheimnis der 
Kristallwelt. Roman einer Wissenschaft. Mit 12 Tafeln und 
48 Abbildungen. Wien, Gerlach & Wiedling, 1947. 391 p., 
12 plates. [History of mineralogy and crystallography.] 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

i.l Geometrical Crystallography 

The word crystal is derived from the Greek 
word KpvaiaXXoq, meaning clear ice, mirroring 
the long held belief that rock crystal, 
transparent quartz, was permanently frozen 
water. The Latin crystallus is derived from 
this and describes any geometrically shaped 
gemstone. The term crystal was extended in 
the 17 th century to include all regularly shaped 
chemical salts, and subsequently to all natural 
geometrically shaped objects. The study of the 
crystallized forms and properties of substances 
is known as crystallography. It is a science that 
in its earliest period developed directly from 
mineral studies, but which since the discovery 
of X-ray diffraction has grown into a complete 
discipline separate but still interlinked with its 
original partner. Due to their inorganic nature 
most minerals are inherently crystalline in 
nature and objects of study in crystallography. 

8.1 Geometrical Crystallography! 784 ! 

REWORK: During the 16 th century studies 
dealing with crystals were mainly connected 
with books about minerals and mining; how- 
ever, some important contributions appeared 
in which morphological aspects of crystals were 
considered. At the beginning of the century 
books on mining, like the German Bergbuch- 
lein, referred to the shapes of minerals and their 
practical applications. In 1540 the Italian Van- 
noccio Biringuccio [1480-1539] published a 
book, De la Pirotechnia, which is a practical 
description of the techniques of smelting and 
refining ores and metals, and contains several 
references to the perfect shapes of some miner- 
als, in particular pyrite cubes and galena cleav- 

Later, the book by Gerogius Agricola 
[1494-1555], De Natura Fossilium (1546), 
considered the first textbook of mineralogy, 
contains a classification of minerals founded 
on physical properties such as color, weight, 
transparency, lustre, taste, odor, shape, and 
texture. In this book, which attributes 
the so-called powers of minerals to their 
natural properties and not to supernatural 

[784J other historical information may be found in: M. 
Senechal., "Brief history of geometrical crystallography" 
(pp. 43-60), in: J. Lima-de-Faria, ed., Historical atlas of 
crystallography. New York, Elsevier, 1990. 

design, there is also commentary by Agricola 
on the geometrical shape of minerals and 
emphasized its importance as a distinguishing 

In his book De Subtilitate of 1550, the 
Italian polymath Girolamo Cardano [1501- 
1576] tried, without much success, to show 
that the hexagonal form of quartz was created 
by the close packing of spherical particles. 
Cardano wondered about the six-sided forms 
of quartz (crystallus), suggesting that it might 
have formed, as did the hexagonal form of the 
bee's cell, from the surrounding and reciprocal 
pressures of spheres. But he abandoned 
this physical explanation, instead assuming 
some internal force which expressed itself in 
the length, the breadth, and the depth of 
the crystal gave rise to the six sides of 
quartz. This was a view much ridiculed by 
his opponent, Julius Casar Scaliger [1484- 
1558]. I 785 ! Cardano also wrote on the 

nature and forms of primarily gem minerals. 
Although he was primarily concerned with their 
color, he clearly is aware of their crystalline 
individuality. I 786 ! 

Christoph Entzelt (Latin, Encelius) 
[1517-1586] in his De Re Metallica (1551) 
published his observations upon the minerals 
of the earth, which he had seen. I 787 ! He 

notes the regularity and persistency of crystals, 
and expresses his admiration for nature in the 
depths of the earth that have such power of 
geometry to create these crystallized masses, 
where he too says, he as seen figures of little 
fishes, and the outline of lions and wolfs. 

There appeared in 1556 Agricola's most 
renowned and influential work, De Re Metal- 
lica, which is mainly concerned with mining 
techniques.! 788 ] About minerals, he brought 
into notice, their relation, color, taste, odor, 
luster, hardness, transparency, density, and 

[785J j q Scaliger., Exotericarum Exercitationum. Lutetiae, 
1557. [4], 476, [31]f., illus. 

[786] q Cardano., Somniorum Synesiorum ... De Gemmis et 
Coloribvs Liber. Basil, 1562. 2 parts. [42], [2] blank, 278 p.: 
[36], 413, [1] p. 

I 787 l C. Entzelt., De Re Metallica, Francofurti, 1551. [16], 
271, [1] p., 5 woodcuts. 

[788] G Agricola., De Re Metallica, Basilae, 1556. [12], 538 
(i.e., 502), [74] p., numerous woodcut illus. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

8.1 Geometrical Crystallography 

form. Agricola observed the variety of crys- 
talline forms of minerals, how many possessed 
angles, some had triangular faces, others were 
cubic like pyrite, while the modifying secondary 
faces around the terminal pyramids of quartz 
excited his wonder. He theorized that miner- 
als, especially crystals, had been formed from 
a pure liquid solution. 

Crystallographical studies received an im- 
portant advance when the German goldsmith 
and jeweller, Wentzel Jamitzer [1508-1586] 
prepared 140 models of geometrical forms, in 
which the original simple forms were abun- 
dantly modified and then grouped in compos- 
ite multiples, so that the resultant polyhedrons 
suggest twinning and trilling of the forms. He 
published the results of his study in the Per- 
spective! Corporum Regularium (1568) .I 789 ' 

The book of Conrad Gesner [1516- 
1565], De Rerum Fossilium, Lapidum et 
Gemmarum, published in 1565, used a 
classification of 'fossils' based on two main 
characteristics, their shapes and names. I 790 ! 
His first class for example, Geometrical Forms, 
whose forms are based upon, or have some 
relation to, the geometrical conception of 
points, lines or angles, includes all transparent 
or translucent minerals, spherical concretions, 
and forms that display distinct angles, such as 
pyrite and quartz. Gesner also pointed out 
irregularities in the angles and faces of quartz. 

At the end of the century BERNARD 
PALISSY [c1510-1590] wrote an important book, 
Discours Admirables (1580), in which he 
attaches importance to the geometrical forms 
of crystals, observing that all are triangular, 
quadrangular or pentagonal.! 791 ] He also 

considered the process of crystallization from 

Superstitions and mystical properties were 
reflected in the various writings of JoHANN 
Baptista van Helmont [1577-1644], which 
involved fabulous and metaphysical explana- 

[7S9J ^y Jamitzer., Perspectiva Corporum Regularium. 

Niimburg, 1568. [8] p., [49] leaves of plates. 
[79UJ (j Gesner., De Rerum Fossilium, Lapidum et 
Gemmarum. Tiguri, 1565. Aa-Cc 8 Dd-Yy 8 (M8 and i8 
blank) . 

[791] g Palissy., Discours Admirables. Paris, 1580. [16], 
361, [23] p. 

tions, the crude substitute for more radical 
knowledge, which was then unattainable. Even 
so, he was the first to speculated correctly 
on the composition of complex chemical com- 
pounds, by reducing them to simple bodies. 
He utilized quantitative procedures in his stud- 
ies, developing techniques to study gas forma- 
tion from fermentation, the evaporation of wa- 
ter, and introduced for the first time the term 
"gas," and defined its role in different chemi- 
cal processes. He rejected the old notion that 
said crystal was water that had undergone ex- 
tremely cold freezing, saying it was opposed to 
the essence of life that one thing should pass 
into another by an exterior influence, viz., snow 
by cold. 

Theophrastus Paracelsus [1493-1541] 
connected the metals and minerals with the 
influences of the seven planets and neighboring 
stars. These metals and minerals had been 
ejected from these distant bodies and fallen on 
the earth, but the quartzes, beryls and citrine 
had been "coagulated" from water contained in 
the "snow stars," and come to earth with the 
snow and frost. I 792 ! 

The De Metallicis Libri authored by An- 
dreas Caesalpinus [1519-1603] and pub- 
lished in 1596, contains information that at- 
tempts to reveal the secret of crystalliza- 
tion.! 793 ] He discussed the first artificially 
prepared alum, saltpeter and sugar crystals, 
and said of quartz, which because of its uni- 
versality and perfect crystallization challenged 
the senses. It has been formed from the purest 
substance, and so in its six-sided prism very 
nearly approachs the shape of the circle, which 
might be regarded as the perfection of form. 
He imagined the terminal pyramid of quartz 
was created by deficiency of material for the 
continuation of the prismatic faces, and that 
it was more clear and less contaminated than 
the rest of the crystal, in which, as it were, the 
dregs of the solution settled. 

8.1.1 Seventeenth Century 

[792] r-^ p araC elsus., Ettliche Tractat Philippi Theophrasti 
Paracelsi ... von naturlichen Dingen. Strassburg, 1570. [16], 
532 p. 

[793J j^ Caesalpinus., De Metallicis Libri. Romae, 1596. 
[16], 222, [2] p. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

i.l Geometrical Crystallography 

REWORK: In the 17th century began to 
appear the first careful study of crystals. The 
distinguished Anselmus Boetius de Boodt 
[cl550-1632] wrote in 1609 in his Gemmarum 
et Lapidum Historia (History of Gems and 
Stones) that the most influential principle in 
minerals was a lapidifying power, or a force to 
form stone. Material separated from solution 
through withdrawal of heat was drawn into 
angular shapes, and stones which increase 
through growth, as crystals, possess a force 
not dissimilar to that of plants, whereby they 
are formed. Boodt believed the six sided 
form of quartz unexplainable, but formed by 
such causes similar to those that give peculiar 
shaped leaves and flowers to plants. 

Typical of the mediaeval views of the 
conception of natural world were expressed by 
Petrus Arlensis (or Peter von Arles) 
[1580-1637?] when he designed a connection 
between the seven metals, the seven precious 
stones, and the seven planets. I 794 ! On 

the form of quartz he speculats: "When the 
earthy and supernatural matter separated itself 
from water, it (the matter) struggles in every 
part to consolidate itself, and lines (radii), as 
if drawn from some central point, appear to 
shoot outward toward the circumference. But, 
as they (the lines) meet opposing lines, they 
cannot complete a circle, but only (through 
peripheral impact) form a six-sided figure." He 
further asserts that the moon symbolized both 
silver and quartz. 

Johannes Kepler [1571-1630] wrote his 
Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula in 1611, as a 
New Year's gift to a friend. I 795 ! In it he 

tries to discover a reason that the shape of 
snow flakes is always six sided. He speculates 
that the crystals have an internal structure 
of minute spherical particles that are densely 
packed in a symmetrical way. Kepler also 
contributed to the philosophical discussion of 
crystallography when he took five geometrical 
solids and evolved from them a series of forms, 

[7 J P. Arlensis., Sympathia Septem Metallorum ac Septem 
Selectorum Lapidum Ad Planetas. It is appended at the end 
of: Camillo Leonardi., Speculum Lapidum. Paris, 1610. [44], 

244, [4], 245-499, [36] p., illus., 2 ports. 

[795] j Kepler., Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula, Francofurti 

ad Monvem, 1611. 24 p., 3 woodcut illus. 

related and interdependent, of which many are 
exactly reproduced in nature.! 796 ] 

An important observation to the future of 
crystallography was when WlLLEBRORD Snel 
(Latinized, Snellius) [1580-1626] discovered, 
but did not publish, about 1621 the law of 
refraction of light when it transversed a liquid; 
his discovery has only come down to us through 
its mention in a later book by Vossius, De Lucis 
Natura et Proprietate (1662). DESCARTES 
rediscoved this same law, which he presents 
in his work Les Meteores (1637) that was 
published with the Discours de la Methode. 

In 1658 Pierre Gassendi [1592-1655] 
published a book De Rebus Terrenis Inanimis 
that contains a chapter 'De lapidibus ac 
Metallis', in which he speculates that crystals 
are built of discrete particles arranged in a 
regular way, their polyhedral form, therefore, 
being a direct result of this process. 

The German Jesuit polymath ATHANA- 
SIUS KlRCHER [1601-1680] connected the geo- 
metric shapes of the precious stones to the ac- 
tion of the special emitting forces.! 797 ] Like 
so many of his prdecessors, he attacked anew 
the persistant problem of crystalline form, and 
fixed his gaze on the enigmatic six-sided, pyra- 
mid terminated quartz. He declares that its 
particular form is derived from peculiar endow- 
ments of the salt composing it, and that in all 
salts a force caused their particles to build out- 
ward from a center along four, five or six lines, 
and so polyhedral shapes of four, five or six 
sides were created. The spaces between the 
lines were filled up by inrushing particles com- 
pelled there by a certain magnetic impulse. 

In 1665 the the famous Micrographia of 
Robert Hooke [1635-1703] was published. It 
contains descriptions and observations made by 
the author through the microscope of many 
materials, mainly biological, but also of some 
crystals. Hooke shows the regularity of angle 
between corresponding faces to be independent 
of the infinite variety in the sizes of crystal 
faces, which he explains by the corpuscular 
hypothesis. He also attempts an explanation 
of the flat shape of crystal faces by the closest 

[796] j K e p] er ^ Mysterium Cosmographicum. 1595. 
I 797 l A. Kircher., . 1665. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

8.1 Geometrical Crystallography 

packing of spherical particles. He still uses the 
term 'crystal' for quartz and the the description 
'angular bodies' for the other forms of crystals. 

In Holland Antonio van Leeuwenhoek 
[1632-1723] published several memoirs on 
microscopic observations and in particular on 
crystal growth (1685); however, his main book, 
Arcana Natura Detecta, which collects together 
most of his papers, was not published until 
1695. He made many valuable obseravations on 
gypsum including angular measurements of it 
rhomboic plate. Using a microscope of his own 
design, Leeuwenhoek saw the increase in size 
of the needle-shaped small crystals as a drop 
of solution that contained dissolved gypsum 
evaporated. He also reports that the angles 
of the small crystals remain constant as they 

One of the first important experimental 
discoveries in crystallography was made in 
1669 when the double refraction of light by 
crystals of Iceland spar (calcite) was reported 
by Erasmus Bartholin [1625-1698]. i 798 i A 
distinguished mathematician, he made a series 
of experiments with calcite, measuring the 
angles of the mineral's cleavages, which he 
found them to be constant, even in the smallest 
fragments, dissolved specimens in various acids, 
examined its colors, and with astonishment 
recorded calcite's power of producing duplicate 
images (double refraction). 

Also in 1669 Nicolaus Steno [1638- 
1686] reported his discovery the constancy 
of interfacial angles in quartz crystals in his 
De Solido Intra Soldum Naturaliter Contento 
Dissertationis Prodromus.P"] This is 

the founding principle in crystallography that 
laid the basis of the science upon a fixed 
law and brought into scientific unity a series 
of apparently disparent information about 
minerals. The general form of the law, that all 
mineral crystals have constant interfacial angles 
would not be stated for more than a century. 

Steno also expressed the idea that crystals 
were created by the accumulation of very small 

l 79 °J E. Bartholin., Experimenta Crystalli Islandici Disdia- 
clastici. Hafniae, 1669. [4], 60 p., diagrams. 

[799] n. Steno., De Solido Intra Soldum Naturaliter Contento 
Dissertationis Prodromus. Florentiae, 1669. [2], 78, [2] p., 
one folding plate. 

particles. He insisted upon the formation of 
crystals from the outside by the addition of 
material derived from a fluid in which they 
might be immersed, not from some vegetative 
process that grew them from the inside. He 
noticed the unequal enlargement of crystals, 
their obliquity, and in the case of quartz 
explained the striated prismatic faces were due 
to the oscillation of the terminal (pyramidal) 
faces with the side (prismatic) faces. 

Double refraction was theoretically exam- 
ined by Christiaan Huygens [1629-1695], 
who observed the phenomena in calcite, and 
wrote an exhaustive treatment of the subject 
that left little of subsequent speculation. I 800 ! 
He also is credited with detecting double re- 
fraction in quartz, only the second mineral dis- 
covered to exhibit the property. He anticipated 
some modern molecular theories, in his sugges- 
tion that calcite was made up of minute ellip- 
soids, arranged in such a way as to form rhom- 
bohedral pyramids, and that the points of their 
consecutive contact along certain planes, paral- 
lel to the rhombohedral faces, formed surfaces 
of easy cleavage. 

Isaac Newton [1642-1727] was also 
intrigued by the double refraction exhibited by 
calcite. Indeed, it was from his experiments 
with how light interacted with the mineral that 
led him to advance his theory of the four- 
sided nature of light and to oppose the theory 
of wave-motion. Newton also calculated the 
thickness of the thinnest plates of mica and 

The English chemist Robert Boyle 
[1627-1691] about mid-century, in his book 
The Sceptical Chymist (1661) used the word 
crystal in a general sense, not restricting its 
meaning to rock crystal (quartz). In 1672 he 
published the book, An Essay about the Origin 
and Virtues of Gems, where he takes notice 
of the constant shape of each mineral species, 
but not to the constancy of their interfacial 
angles.! 801 ! Like Steno, he also believed 

that crystals grew from fluid solution by the 

[800J (j Huygens., TraitS de la Lumiere. Lugduni 

Batavorum, 1690. [8], 124, [2], 125-128, [2], 129-180 p. 
[801] j^ Boyle., An Essay about the Origine and Virtues of 
Gems. London, 1672. [16], 185 p. (i.e., 184, page 181 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

i.l Geometrical Crystallography 

successive superposition of layers of particles. 
He observed the geometric outlines of minerals, 
and made some observations about the cavities 
in stones, lined with minute crystals, remarking 
that they formed from a lapidifying juice 
(succus lapidesceus) of great purity. He also 
noticed the lamellar texture of many minerals 
and made a long, patient series of notes and 
descriptions about crystalline forms. 

In 1688 Dominico Guglielmini [1655- 
1710] extended Steno's law to other manufac- 
tured crystals, such as nitre (potassium ni- 
trate), common salt (sodium chloride), alum 
(hydrated aluminium potassium sulfate) and 
blue vitriol (copper sulfate) . I 802 ! He ob- 

served that the crystals he created from solu- 
tion all had fixed angles to their interfactial an- 
gles, which was a unique form restricted to each 
species. From his experiments he stated that 
no matter how large, crystals were formed from 
innumerable similar smaller crystals, and that 
these, fitting together, leave openings that give 
porosity to the crystal or contain water which 
may be expelled by heat. Guglielmini contin- 
ued his studies on crystals and in 1705 proposed 
four basic forms for the particles of salts: the 
cube, the hexagonal prism, the rhombohedron 
and the octahedron, which combined to form 
the various different salts. Guglielmini's obser- 
vations helped pave a clear path for the science 
of crystals to expand from a collection of spec- 
ulative facts to the outlines of a great science. 
The next stage of growth was now about to 
usher in the profound and varied facts which 
built up crystallography, and laid in chemical 
composition the foundation of a rational sys- 

8.1.2 Eighteenth Century 

REWORK: The 18 th century was dominated by 
the development in the fields of mathematics, 
physics, chemistry and biology. Progress was 
also made in crystallogrpahy; however, only 
a few scientists studied aspects of crystals. 
In 1723 Moritz Anton Cappeller [1685- 
1769] proposed a morphological classification 
of minerals and rocks, and was one of the 
first to use the word 'crystallography' in 

[802] pj Guglielmini., RiBessioni Filosofiche Dedotte dalle 
Figure de' Sali. Pisa, 1688. [4], 39, [1] p., one plate. 

his treatise, Prodromus Crystallographiae de 
Cristallis Improprie sic dictis Commentarium 
(1723). I 803 ! He enumerated the structural 

types of mineral occurrences as spherical, 
conical, wedgeshaped, fibrous, micaceous, and 

A writer who held many mystic beliefs, 
Emmanuel Swedenborg [1688-1772] com- 
posed works on natural philosophy in which 
he developed extremely complex and confused 
views of the structure of matter.! 804 ] For ex- 
ample, he believed common salt to consist of 
the water balls strongly connected with chains 
of solid salt molecules, which occupy space be- 
tween the balls. 

In his chemical reseach HERMANN Boer- 
HAAVE [1688-1738] noted the external forms 
of natural and artificial crystals, and rejected 
the common opinion that they are consolidated 
from extremely dense water, although he does 
not say how they are formed.! 805 ] 

Quartz crystals are described by JoHANN 
Jacob Scheuchzer [1672-1733] in his account 
of an excursion through Switzerland. He 
considered crystallography an interesting but 
difficult subject, that he had pursued for 
sometime, and had not discovered a path 
through its labyrinth. He gives a summary of 
all observations back until Pliny, and describes 
the different colored varieties including brown, 
black, yellow (citrine), purple (amethyst), red, 
and green. He notes that the group of 
precious stones composed of rock crystal and 
its varieties, do not have many differences 
between the varieties, other than variations 
in hardness and luster. When Scheuchzer 
made the connection that amethyst was related 
to rock crystal, it would seem only natural 
that he would come to the fundamental 
question, are they both of the exactly same 
composition?, but he never asks this question. 
He also described numerous crystals with 
inclusions of other crystalline substances, 
impressions, channels, water drops, etc. and 

[803] ma Cappeller., Prodromus Crystallographiae de 
Cristallis Improprie sic dictis Commentarium. Lucern, 1723. 
43 p., 3 engraved plates. 

[804] g Swedenborg., Principia Rerum Naturalium. Leipzig, 

1734. 3 vols. 

[805] H Boerhaave., Elementa Chemiae. London, 1702. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

8.1 Geometrical Crystallography 

calls Switzerland the true fatherland of rock 
crystal. As to the origin of rock crystal 
Scheuchzer supports the ancient belief that an 
icy environment such as that found in the Swiss 
Alps made the dense crystallization of water 
easy, relative to elsewhere. He also criticizes 
Steno's view that quartz develops from the 
crystallization out of a fluid. 

Louis Bourguet [1678-1742] cast aside 
the ancient, childish notions that minerals 
originated from seeds and germs, in his 
Lettres Philosophiques sur la Formation des 
sels et des C'rystauxA 806 ^ He does not 

regard stalactites as subterranean vegetable 
growths and he incorporates the efflorescences 
of various salts with minerals, whereas others 
had separated them. He properly separated 
fossils from minerals, recognizing that these 
so called petrifications were derived from 
once living organisms, and therefore not 
actually a mineralogical substance. Such 
distinctions were of great significance to the 
whole methodology of mineral studies. About 
the form of cystals, he believed they were 
composed of tiny triangularly shaped molecules 
that built up triangular tetrahedrons, three- 
sided prisms or similar plates that accumulated 
together to build the crystal. It was sufficient 
Bourguet contented to observe triangles on the 
pyramidal faces of Quartz as well as alum to 
see the proof of his theory. 

In a description of a cave system, which 
discussed how the various rock formations were 
created, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort 
[1656-1708] believed that stalagmites were akin 
to petrified trees. Because they displayed 
such curious and suggestive forms, he held the 
view they were not deposited by water at all 
but grew from some hidden seed contained in 
the host rock like a plant, and furthermore 
the stalagmitic formation drew its nourishment 
from the same host rock. I 807 ! In a similar 

view, he thought aggregates of crystals were 

[8Ub] j^ Bourguet., Lettres Philosophiques sur la Formation 
des sels et des Crystaux. Amsterdam, 1729. xliv, 220, [12] p., 
one plate. 

[807] jp ^ e Tournefort., "Description du Labyrinthe de 
Candie avec quelques observations sur l'accroissement et 
sur la Generation des Pierres," Memoire de l'Academie 
Royale des Sciences, 1702. 

like the flowers of the various salts, and were 
not recognized for their true nature because the 
particles forming them were too small. 

The crystal structure of calcite and 
gypsum were studied by the mathematician 
and physicist Gabriel Philippe de la Hire 
[1677-1719]. In a treatise from 1710 he 
described very exactly the form of calcite called 
Iceland spar, determining the vertical angle 
formed by two planes of the rhombohedron at 
105° and also examining double refraction.! 808 ] 
He next turned his attention to talc, as he called 
it; the same material which was used in the 
manufacture of plaster of Paris. That it was a 
mixture of natural gypsum was at the time still 
not known. La Hire described the arrow-shaped 
hemitropes, determined the cleavage direction 
of gypsum, like Bourguet, thought that the 
crystals were composed from triangular flakes, 
and measured its angles at 50°, 60° and 70°. 
He also investigated the refraction of gypsum 
and found it to be doubled, but much weaker 
than Iceland spar. 

Dortous de Mairan [1678-1771] in his 
Dissertation sur la Glace (1716) speculated 
that salt, pyrites, and snow were formed from 
needleshaped molecules.! 809 ] 

John Hill [1707-1775] maintained that 
the double refraction is specific only to 
transparent bodies, which are composed from 
rhombohedral parts. He then gives a list of 
bodies he has examined that show the property: 

(1) Talc, which in thick masses elevates the line, 

(2) Selenite, (3) Rock crystal (quartz), and (4) 
Calc spar (calcite). He gives careful attention 
to the crystal forms he observes in limy spars, 
discussing their formation. He believed that 
Linneaus' hypothesis that a salt determines 
the ultimate form of a crystal was erroneous 
thinking that if one were to go so far as to 
assume that a containiment, even with it is 
undetectable, would form the crystal, then one 

[808] q p de i a Hire., "Observations sur une espece de talc 
qu'on trouve communement proche de Paris au-dessus des 
bancs de pierre de platre," Memoires de l'Academie Royale 
des Sciences, 1710, p. 341-352. 

[809] Dortous de Mairan., Dissertation sur la Glace ou 
Explication Physique de la Formation de la Glace et de 
ses divers Phenomenes. Paris, 1716. • R. Hooykaas., 
"Kristalstreping en kristalstructuur," Chemisch Weekblad, 
47 (1951), p. 1-7. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

i.l Geometrical Crystallography 

must consider the appearance of crystallization 
as proof that it contained the hidden salt. 


1785] in Mineralogia, eller Mineralriket 
(1747) distinguished between the causes of 
crystallization and the causes of the forms of 
crystals, stating that form was related to the 
kind of metal contained and not to the salt as 
Linneaus surmised. 

The Russian genius Mikhail Vasilievich 
Lomonosov [1711-1765] in his work On the 
Genesis and Nature of Saltpeter (1749) called 
attention to the constancy of the interfacial 
angles in nitre crystals, and explained their 
form by the densest packing of spherical 
particles. However, his work had no 

practical influence on the development of 
crystallography, because it was written in 
Russian, and was only recognized at the 
beginning of the 20 th century as an important 
crystallographic work. Rudjer G. Boskovic 
(Boscovich) [1711-1787] (1755) supported the 
idea that crystals were formed by molecules 
connected by attractive and repulsive forces, 
which was for the time, a very advanced idea. 

The German mining professional JOHANN 
Friedrich Henckel [1678-1744] wrote about 
the metals as if they possessed animate 
affections, and assigned to them a certain moral 
order, making these particular affinities and 
unions something akin to love and friendship. 
He considered the crystal shape of some 
minerals such as pyrite to be useful in 
distinguishing its species. He also recognized 
that the cubic form of pyrite remained constant 
in terms of its angular arrangement. 

Franz Ulrich Theodosius Aepinus 
[1724-1802] studied the pyroelectric effect 
in tourmaline and attempted to relate the 
property to the axes of the crystal (1756) (see 

§ ) 

The Swiss mathematician LEONHARD 
Euler [1707-1783] published celebrated works 
of mathematical theorems on polyhedra and 
on transformations that more than a century 
later became the basis for fundamental research 
in geometrical crystallography. The earliest of 
these, published in 1752, was his discovery that 
for any 3-dimensional polyhedron the number 
of faces (F), edges (E) and vertices (V) are 

related by the formula: F — E + V = 2. 
He proved in 1765 that a product of two 
rotations about intersecting axes is itself a 
rotation, and that every proper motion is a 
product of a rotation and a translation. The 
significance of geometric transformation was 
not yet established in crystal science and the 
value of Euler's studies was not fully realized 
until the more general study of configurations 
used in crystal structure analysis that lay far in 
the future. 

In 1767 Christian F. Westfeld [1746- 
1823] expressed the opinion after experiment- 
ing with cleavages of calcite that the min- 
eral was composed of minute rhombohedra 
molecules. I 810 ! Nearly simultaneously, Jo- 

hann G. Gahn [1745-1818], a student of Tor- 
bern Bergman [1735-1784], made an iden- 
tical observation. Showing how a scalenohe- 
dron crystal of calcite based upon a rhombo- 
hedron cleavage could be formed, was, how- 
ever, first published by Bergman himself in 
1773. I 811 ! This was an important practical 

and theoretical step in crystallography, which 
conclusively showed that the formation of at 
least one mineral could be attributed to be the 
result of the superposition of layers of minute 
parallelepipedic shaped particles on an original 
parallelepipedic nucleus. 

Carl Linne (Latinized, Linneaus) [1707- 
1778], incorporated minerals in his general clas- 
sification of nature from the first appearance of 
his famous Systema Naturae published in 1735. 
Throughout his life, he continued to study min- 
erals intensely, trying to use their external char- 
acteristics to place them with in a system of 
classification like he had so successfully system- 
atized plants and animals. For his morpholog- 
ical approach that argued strongly for classi- 
fying crystals according to their shapes, Linne 
was called the founder of the science of crystal- 
lography by both Rome de l'lsle and Haiiy, al- 
though he held a strong belief in the idea that 
minerals procreate and grow like vegetatbles. 

[810] C.F. Westfeld., Mineralogische Abhandlungeii. Gottin- 

gen, 1767. 

[ 1J T.O. Bergman., "Variae Crystallorum Formae a 
Spatho Orthae," ?????????????, 11 (1773), p. ??-??. ■ ibid., 
Physical and Chemical Essays. Translated from Latin by 
Edmund Cullen. London, 1784. 3 vols. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

8.1 Geometrical Crystallography 

In 1768, in the third volume of his Systema 
Naturae, which was the last full statement he 
gave on the subject, Linne applies his moropho- 
logical approach favoring it over other physical 
or chemcical examinations when he classifies 
crystals into classes, rders, genera and species. 
Relying on the external form of the crystals he 
groups together those that are cubic, hexag- 
onal, octahedral, and rhombic dodecahedral. 
Linne approach to sorting crystals by external 
form had tremendous impact on future crystal- 

The German mineralogist JoHANN KARL 
Gehler [1732-1796] emphasized the impor- 
tance of the external and physical properties 
of crystals to distinguish individual mineral 
species (1757).[ 812 1 This work would in 

1774 influence the German mineralogist ABRA- 
HAM Gottlob Werner [1750-1817], who was 
greatly impressed by Gehler's book, to write 
his own treatise on determinative mineral- 
ogy, which appeared in 1774 under the title 
Von den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der Fos- 
si/ien.I 813 ] Expressing his own conception 

of crystals, Werner states that their morphol- 
ogy was based on six, instead of four, primary 
forms: icosahedron, hexahedron, prism, pyra- 
mid, plate and lens. Otherwise, he appar- 
ently was not very much interested in crystal- 
lography, writing very little on the subject. 

In 1772 Jean Baptiste Louis Rome 
DE L'lSLE [1736-1790] published the first 
edition of his widely acclaimed treatise on 
crystallography which was a 'state of the art' 
account of minerals and crystals.! 814 ! He 

acknowledges in his preface that to a large 
extent he is following in the footsteps of 
Linnaeus. Recognizing that the forms of 
even very diverse crystalline substances could 
be very nearly the same, he considered that 
there was some hidden affinity in the material 
that linked them together. He believed in 
a molecular theory of crystallization, that 
crystals were built from the juxtaposition of 

^ 1 J.K. Gehler., De Characteribus Fossilium Externis. 

Lipsiae, 1757. 

[S13J a.G. Werner., Von den ausserlichen Kennzeichen der 

Fossilien. Leipzig, 1774. 

[814] J b_l_ Rome de l'Isle., Essai de CristaUographie. Paris, 

identical molecules that arranged themselves 
in a distinct pattern, and that the quality of 
perfection in the crystal ultimately depended 
on the purity of the solution from which it 
formed. He accepted the idea that the figure 
of a mineral crystal was due to a specific salt 
that was present, but did not wholeheartedly 
accept the theory. Pure metals he noted 
formed crystals, but no chemical technique had 
yet rested a salt from them, suggesting that 
the saline principle was erroneous, but failure 
to locate the salt did not mean the theory 
was wrong. Finally he remarks that it is a 
controversay he does not want to enter. After 
giving a full treatment of crystal analysis for 
the known minerals, in an appendix he lists 
110 crsytal forms that have been observed. 
Quite rightly Rome's book is said to have given 
the first definition of crystallography as a new 

After the good reception Rome's book 
received, preparations for a new much 
expanded edition were undertaken. Arnould 
Carangeot [1742-1806], a student and 
assistant to Rome de l'Isle helped in preparing 
the polyhedral terra cotta clay models of the 
crystal forms that would be illustrated on the 
plates. Frustrated at not being able to exactly 
render a complex crystal of quartz, Carangeot 
cut from cardboard a template that represented 
the interfacial angle two faces formed with one 
another. Much to his suprise, he found that all 
of the faces of the prism had exactly the same 
angle, eventhough the quartz crystal looked 
bizzare. Applying his template to all the other 
quartz crystals on hand he recognized with 
satisfaction that the angle remained constant. 
Further templates and experimentation led him 
to conclude that for all crystals, each pair 
of adjoining crystal faces had a specific value 
to their angle, regardless of how distorted 
the crystal might appear. I 815 ! After 

being shown how the templates accurately 
determined a crystallographic angle, Rome de 
l'Isle realized immediately the importance of 

[815J j^ Carangeot., "Goniometre, ou mesure-angle," 
Journal de Physique, 22 (1783), p. 193-???. « ibid., "Lettre a 
M. de Lametherie sur le goniometre," Journal de Physique, 
29 (1786), p. 226-???. • ibid., "Lettre de M. Carangeot a 
M. Kaestner," Journal de Physique, 31 (1787), p. 204-???. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

i.l Geometrical Crystallography 

the achievement and, with the help of his 
pupils, created a general form of the device 
that could measure any angle, applying the 
new tool to all the crystals available in his 
laboratory. This confirmed the generality of 
the Law of Constancy of Interfacial Angles and 
in 1783 when the second edition of Rome's 
Cristallographie was published it used the 
new law and new contact goniometer as its 
foundation stone. I 816 ! 

The application of goniometry is the prin- 
cipal difference immediately apparent in the 
second edition of Rome's Cristallographie com- 
pared with his earlier work. By the time of 
its publication, Rome had made crucial ad- 
vances towards a quantitative crystallography. 
He was, for example, now abot to list over 450 
possible crystal forms, and provide for each 
accurate angle measurements between differ- 
ent crystal surfaces made with the contact go- 
niometer. Armed with his law, he was able 
to somewhat elaborate on his definition of the 
primitive form and how it related to the exter- 
nal crystal, but Rome never made the theoret- 
ical leap to create an elegant theory from the 
information. Nevertheless, Rome captured in- 
formation from his crystallographical laws and 
together with his broadened concept of the re- 
lationship between crystal form and chemical 
composition, he made the Cristallographie into 
the finest mineralogical treatise written to its 

hi this same period and only a year 
after the second edition of Rome's appeared 
Rene Just Hauy [1743-1826] published his 
first book on crystallography, Essai d'une 
Theorie sur la Structure des Crystaux (1784), 
which were certainly very heavily influenced 
by the works of Bergman and Rome de 
l'lsle. I 817 ! He is considered the founder of 

modern crystallography because of his rigid 
mathematical approach to crystallographic 
problems that led him to announce the law of 
simple rational intercepts. It was, however, 
in the geometrical part of his Traite de 
Mineralogie (1801) that he presented his ideas 

I 816 ! J.B.L. Rome de l'lsle., Cristallographie. Paris, 1783. 
4 vols. 

[817] yi .J. Hauy., Essai d'une Theorie sur la Structure des 
Crystaux. Paris, 1784. [8], 236 p., 8 folding plates. 

in a more clear and complete form, adding a 
large number of crystal drawings to illustrate 
his theories. In it, Hauy brought together 
the advances in crystallography into a coherent 
structural theory, based on the structural unit, 
the "molecule constituante" (later renamed by 
him to "molecule integrante") . Haiiy's model 
depicted crystals as built up out of these 
molecular units which were polyhedral in form. 
Hauy also theorized a common "nucleus" or 
"primitive form" for all crystals of the same 
"species." This primative form was often 
revealed by cleavage of a crystal symmetrically 
along its angles and edges. Highly influential 
in the development of crystallography, Haiiy's 
researches and theories superseded all previous 
attempts, and these were presented in the 
author's own literary fluency. His work was 
recognized as the most important offered by 
France to the science of crystallography and 
mineralogy that placed the country at the 
forefront of the European nations in this 

Pierre Clement Grignon [1723-1784] 
thought fire caused the fusion of metals, and 
slow cooling from the molten condition resulted 
in the production of crystals. I 818 ! His 

view was that each body in the universe had 
a characteristic figure which, together with 
the chemical composition of the substance, 
made it a distinct individual. According 
to Grignon, material matter could not exist 
without form because both came into existence 
similtaneously, and endowed the material with 
its individual essence. 

A French chemist Nicolaus Le Blanc 
[1742-1806] believed that careful chemical 
experimentation ought to shed some light on 
the mechanism of the process of crystallization, 
which was a new approach to the problem. He 
expressed the view that the true essence of 
crystallography should encompass the study of 
the conditions that give rise to crystal growth 
so that the form of a particular crystal might 
not only be explained but predicted. I 819 ! 

[818] pc. Grignon., Memoires de Physique: sur leFer. Paris, 
1775, p. 476-481. 

[819] n L e Blanc, "Essai sur quelques phenomenes relatifs 
a la cristallisation des sels neutres," Journal de Physique, 
28 (1786), p. 341-345. * ibid., "De la Cristallotechnie ou 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

8.1 Geometrical Crystallography 

8.1.3 Nineteenth Century 

REWORK: In the 19 th century there was 
an explosion of crystallographic works dealing 
with both practical and theoretical aspects 
of the science. New instruments allowed the 
crystallographers of the era to gather accurate 
numerical data from natural specimens and 
develop a classification of crystal forms and 
from there a theory of crystal structure. 
Important advances were made in physical 
crystallography after the discovery in 1808 
by Etienne Louis Malus [1775-1812] of 
polarized light by reflection. This discovery 
provided the basis for many theories and 
experiments that would build the foundations 
of optical mineralogy (see § ). 

Nicolaus Leblanc who had proposed 
theories on crystal formation at the end of 
the 18 th century further extended his theory, 
publishing the summation of his views in 
the De la Crystallotechnie ou Essai sur 
les Phenomenes de la Cristallisation that 
appeared in 1802. I 820 ! In particular, he 

showed that when another chemical compound 
was mixed into a different pure compound, the 
form of the crystal of the combination could 
be considerablly different than either of the 
components individually. 

By the early years of the 19 th century, 
advances in chemistry were having an adverse 
effect on Hauy's insistance that each mineral 
species had a distinct molecule integrant and 
a unique chemistry. This could not explain 
anomalies such as the species calcite and 
aragonite. Both minerals have chemical 

compostion of calcium carbonate (CaC0 3 ), but 
each crystallizes in a different crystal system, 
and hence by Hauy's definition a different 
form of the primary particle. Tremendous 
efforts were made by Hauy's supporters to 
reconcile these facts and save his theory, 
but to little avail. The French Count 
Jacques-Louis Bournon [1751-1825], who 
had fled France to avoid being guillotined, 
relocated to London. There he wrote and 

Essai sur les phenomenes de la cristallisation," Journal de 
Physique, 55 (1802), p. 296-313. 

[820J n Leblanc, De la Crystallotechnie ou Essai sur les 
Phenomenes de la Cristallisation. Paris, 1802. 

had published a 3 volume treatise concerning 
the properties and relationship between calcite 
and its structural isomorph, aragonite. I 821 l 
Although quanatative analysis proved them 
to be chemically identical, examination of 
their physical properties showed aragonite to 
be harder, heavier and to possess a different 
crystal form, on which basis aragonite had 
been called a separate species by mineralogists 
who did not support Hauyian theories. 
Bournon wrote his work, his most important 
mineralogical contribution, to support the 
position that calcite and aragonite were 
separate mineral species, and that the final 
determination of whether a mineral is a distinct 
species relies on physical characteristics, not 
chemical properties. 

The studies of Francois Sulpice Beu- 
DANT [1787-1850] continued the crystallochem- 
cial approach proposed by Le Blanc. He studied 
the dependence of exterior form on the condi- 
tions that existed during crystallization. In- 
vestigating the action of atmospheric pressure, 
the humidity of air, heat, concentration, vol- 
ume of solution and electric current to the iden- 
tical crystallizing solutions, he arrived at the 
conclusion that a change in the initial condi- 
tions rapidly affects the speed of crystalliza- 
tion and the ultimate crystal size, but it such 
changes are not reflected in their morpholog- 
ical form.! 822 ! He did record that if other 
substances are introduced into the crystallizing 
fluid, changes would occur. For example, the 
aluminum alum, which crystallizes from a ho- 
mogenous aqueous solution in the form of octa- 
hedrons, will crystallize from a nitric acid solu- 
tion as cuboctahedrons. Beudant made similar 
studies with a wide range of materials, provid- 
ing evidence of the existence of what are now 
termed solid solutions within in minerals. His 
research also played a positive role in the dis- 
covery of isomorphism. 

In 1817 Johann Nepomuk von Fuchs 
[1774-1856] studied the morphological kinship 

I 821 ! J.-L. Bournon., Traite de Mineraiog-ie. London, 1808. 
Also released in the same year under the title, Traite complet 
de la Chaux Carbonatee et de l'Arragonite. 
[o22\ p_g_ Beudant., "Recherches sur les causes qui peuvent 
faire varier les formes cristallines d'une meme substance 
minerale," ADC, 8 (1818), p. 5-50. 


On the History of Mineralogy & Crystallography from Beginnings through 1919 

by Curtis P. Schuh, Tucson, AZ — Edit Draft. [1200dpi] 
NOT FOR PUBLICATION Printed: September 18, 2007 

i.l Geometrical Crystallography 

between two chemically similar minerals, 
aragonite (calcium carbonate; CaC0 3 ) and 
strontianite (strontium carbonate; SrC0 3 ) 
which showed a path to isomorphism.! 823 ] 

At the Berlin Academy in December 
1819 Eilhard Mitscherlich [1794-1863] pre- 
sented his important paper on isomorphism, 
which was immediately translated into French 
where it was published in 1820J 824 ! Modern 
chemical crystallography is considered to have 
originated with this work and on its extension 
to polymorphism in 1822. At that time the dis- 
covery of isomorphism and polymorphism ran 
against Hauy's hypothesis that crystallography 
was the dominate feature of mineral species, 
with chemistry playing a subservient role. An 
interesting correspondence between Haiiy and 
Berzelius shows Hauy's strong opposition to the 
work of Mitscherlich. 

Despite its advantages, Hauy's theory was 
not universally accepted by crystallographers 
outside France. The established German min- 
eralogist Dietrich Ludwig G. Karsten 
[1768-1810] asked a young mineralogist, CHRIS- 
TIAN Samuel Weiss [1780-1856] to help in the 
preparation of a German tranlation of Hauy's 
four volume Traite de Mineralogie (1801). It 
was a long process, extending from 1804 to 1810 
before it was complete. Weiss did not how- 
ever confine himself to a simple transfer of the 
original text. He includes his own views on 
the theory and appends an important article 
"Dynamische Ansicht der Krystallisation" (dy- 
namic view for the crystallization) in which he 
introduced the important concept of anisotropy 
and stated the zone law which is the equiva- 
lent of Hauy's law of simple rational intercepts. 
The supporters of this study denied existence 
of atoms and asserted that material was formed 
by the opposite forces of attraction and repul- 
sion (a view Weiss apparently maintained his 
entire life). This was a direct challanged to 
Hauy's theory. 

Johann Jakob Bernhardi [1770-1850] 
conceived the idea of considering, instead of 

[82a\ j n von Fuchs., "Ueber den Arragonit tmd 
Strontianit," J. Chem. Phys. JSC Schweigger, 19 (1817), 
p. 113-137. 

I 824 ] E. Mitscherlich., "???????," ??????, ?? (1819), p. ??- 
??. • ibid., "???????," ??????, It (1820), p. ??-??. 

Weiss's faces or zones, the perpendiculars to 
the faces drawn from the centre of the system. 
He then poses the question of what is the 
smallest number of simple forms to derive all 
crystallization according to the simplest laws. 
This idea led to him first advancing the idea of 
crystal systems in 1808J 825 ! 

Weiss defended a dissertation in 1809 De 
Indagando Formarum Cristallinarum Char- 
acters Geometrico Principali (About The 
Method Of Determining The Basic Geometric 
Nature Of Crystalline Forms) that first distin- 
guished between seven systems of crystals dif- 
fering in the number and nature of their axes 
of symmetry. In Weiss's scheme, any face could 
be defined by the ratio of the intercepts cut 
off by it on the axes of symmetry. He pro- 
posed the description of the faces of crystals 
in relation to three main axes that he called 
a, b and c, whose designation and orientation 
are still adopted today. Two other important 
works of Weiss were De Charactere Geometrico 
Principali Formarum Crystallinarum Octae- 
dricarum (1809) and 'Uebersichtliche Darstel- 
lung der verschiedenen natiirlichen Abteilungen 
der Kristallisations-Systeme' (1815). In these 
works he proposed the classification of crystals 
in four main systems, with subdivisions, but he 
only considered crystallographic axes mutually 

At the time tremendous attention was 
given to the description of crystal morpholog