Other Names in our DatabaseMindat.org contains a large database of alternative names that aren't official MA-approved mineral species. The most important categories are listed below:
Rock NamesA rock is a naturally-occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals, mineraloids or, in some cases, organic material. Sediments are the unconsolidated equivalent of these.
Granite, basalt and limestone are simple examples of rock names, but the full list can be found here.
VarietiesSome names have been given informally to a specific form or color of a mineral. Many of these names pre-date the introduction of rigorous scientific naming for minerals,
some are trade-names and some are names that were given to a specific form of a mineral from a particular area. Other names are important in petrology for specifying a particular chemical signature for the mineral.
None of these names have any true mineralogical validity but many remain in regular use.
Amethyst - a purple variety of quartz
Emerald - a green variety of beryl
Agate - a banded variety of chalcedony, which itself is a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz sometimes containing moganite.
MixturesSometimes something was given a name in the past in the belief that it was a genuine mineral species but has subsequently been proven to be a mixture of two or more minerals.
A good example is andrewsite, which was thought for a long time to be a valid mineral but was proven to be a mixture of various iron and copper minerals.
SynonymsThe largest category of other names are the synonyms - names that mean the same as another mineral, rock or variety, etc within our database.
Some of these are spelling variants, such as barite for baryte, sulfur for sulphur.
Some are historical names that have in general become obsolete, such as fluorspar for fluorite, chalybite for siderite.
Some are foreign language versions, such as pirita, rikkikiisu, פיריט and Пирит which are the Spanish, Finnish, Hebrew and Russian names for pyrite respectively.
Other NamesSome names don't fit into any of these categories. There are names for minerals that have not yet been formally approved, there are names for synthetic materials that are either marketed alongside natural minerals (for example, Silicon Carbide (artificial)) or may be found in natural deposits, and
even for minerals that we know exist on other planets but haven't yet been approved as mineral species on Earth (for example, nitrogen ice).