Actually, the answer to that question is “yes and no”. Sometimes the characteristics of a mineral, whether in a pure form or in a multi-mineral rock, can be identified from a photo. Unfortunately though, most minerals share visual qualities with many quite different minerals.
This makes it impossible to give specific identifications. Also, some qualities (like translucence, metallic sheen, hardness, reaction to a magnet, crystal form, and others) will or may not be visible in a photo.

Chemical composition is not visible, even in a hand sample. People with practice can often do photo identifications, but even experts will not be able to do it for any but the most common minerals.

Professional and rock-hound experts often can do it, if they know the origin of the mineral or rock. They know what is likely to be found in specific localities and use experience to eliminate wrong possibilities.

So, if you know the location your specimen came from, ask a professional rock-hound like The Crystal Collector.

You can also check out THIS article on Crystal Identification 😉

Another excellent site is Mindat


If you’ve ever asked yourself “what is a Herkimer Diamond”, you’re about the get the answer you’ve been searching for.

Herkimer Diamonds are beautiful double-terminated quartz crystals found in Herkimer, New York. They are a form of quartz crystals that began forming 500 million years ago in the dolomite outcrops throughout Herkimer County, New York and the Mohawk River Valley.

Are Herkimer Diamonds Valuable?
Herkimer Diamonds are rated at 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale ( a true Diamond scores a 10), so while they don’t command the same prices that diamonds and sapphires do, you can easily see why they are more valued than amethyst. They are naturally faceted, each having eighteen facets and 2 points

Gemstones are more valuable based on how hard they are, rather than how pretty they are.

The Crystal Collector™ dig these highly sought after crystals every year. You can find video’s of him digging them HERE.

Check out his YouTube Channel HERE.

You can sometimes find the Herkimer’s that he digs for sale on his eBay store HERE. You have to be fast though because they sell out quickly 😉



Yooperlite rocks are actually Syenite rocks that are rich in fluorescent Sodalite. These rocks were recently discovered by Erik Rintamaki in 2017.

In 2017, Erik went out on a beach in Lake Superior with a UV light and discovered dozens of these glowing rocks. To the naked eye, they look like ordinary gray rocks, but under the UV light, the mineral composite makes the rocks glow a vibrant orange and yellow!

The glowing from these Yooperlite’s lasts for 12+ hours after 8 minutes of UV (sunlight or UV light) charge. These should never be used in concentrated, water-based applications like aquariums.


One of the very few stones with its unique purple coloration, Amethyst is a variety of Quartz. It contains iron and other trace minerals within its structure.

Amethyst is the world’s most popular purple gem. It is the purple color variety of quartz that has been used in personal adornment for over 2000 years and according to alternative medicine practitioners, it is considered the most powerful and protective stone. It is a semiprecious violet stone that is often used in jewelry and for healing purposes. It has been sought after throughout the ages for its stunning colors and ability to stimulate the mind and emotions.

In today’s world, Amethyst is viewed as a semi-precious crystal but in traditional times, it was a very precious stone. The beauty of Amethyst is evident whether the stone is in its natural state, cut or polished into jewels. It is the birthstone for Pisces and the February birthstone along with being the stone for the 6th anniversary of marriage.

Amethyst was as expensive as ruby and emerald until the 19th Century, when Brazil’s large deposits were discovered. Today, as the most valued quartz variety, amethyst is in demand for designer pieces and mass-market jewelry alike, and its purple to pastel hues retain wide consumer appeal.

The USA has a great diversity of amethyst deposits that can be found in Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Montana and Colorado, Georgia, and Arizona. The color range of American amethyst is generally from medium to high in saturation and may include smoky or translucent crystals.

Most of us are familiar with the amethyst gemstone but where is amethyst found in the world? Amethyst is quite common and is found on all continents, with the larger deposits currently being mined in South America, Africa and North America. The largest global producer is Brazil with an annual production of around two to three thousand tons followed by Zambia producing about a thousand tons per year.


Topaz contains the element fluorine, which only occurs in high concentration in a few geologic environments. Topaz usually forms along fractures and in cavities of igneous rocks like rhyolite, granite or pegmatite. The crystals grow in the late stages of a magma cooling, when there is enough fluorine to enable the formation of topaz. Some topaz crystals grow after hot fluids (hydrothermal solutions), rich in fluorine, flow through cracks in rocks that have already cooled. Topaz can also form in metamorphic zones. Topaz is one of the last minerals to form in an igneous rock as it cools.

The name topaz has been used for any yellowish gemstones for at least two thousand years. Gem traders did not know that these yellowish stones were actually different minerals until about two hundred years ago. Gem traders recognized that quartz, beryl, corundum and olivine all had yellow variants and were not true topaz and that topaz could be other colors not just yellow. In addition, the island Topazios, after which the gemstone has been named, never produced topaz, but was a source of peridot, or olivine often confused as topaz. The island is now called Zabargad Island.

With a hardness of 8 and a variety of colors, topaz is a great choice for jewelry in any style and can even make for a unique center stone in an engagement ring.

Topaz is valued as a gemstone.

The finest British topaz is found in the Cairngorm Mountains in the Central Highlands, especially at Ben a Buird, Scotland. The famous topaz rock of the Schneckenstein, in Germany, yields pale yellow crystals that were formerly cut for jewelry. Fine topaz occurs at several locations in the Urals and in Siberia, Russia, and beautiful crystals come from Takayama and Tanokamiyama in Japan. Brazil is a famous locality, the well known sherry-yellow crystals coming from Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, where they occur in a kaolinitic matrix. In the United States fine topaz has been worked near Pikes Peak, Colorado, and in San Diego county, California. Common topaz occurs in coarse crystals at many locations.