Is a rock mineral

The difference between minerals and rocks

Minerals and rocks - two terms that are often used interchangeably, but are fundamentally different.


Minerals (minerals more common in a scientific context) are defined as solids with a materially uniform composition. The reason why the more than 5,300 known minerals in the world can be chemically clearly distinguished from others. Likewise, every mineral has certain properties that are also helpful and used in the determination and identification of minerals.


Gemstones are also counted among the minerals. The difference to "common" minerals are the following properties:

The most important criterion for gemstones is the hardness, so-called gemstone hardness, which, for example, have diamonds, sapphire, ruby, zircon, blue topaz, topaz, aquamarine and emerald.


rocks however, are defined as aggregates consisting of several minerals, i.e. a rock consists of many individual mineralsthat are connected to one another in different ways. The composition can therefore fluctuate slightly, which is why when describing the minerals from which a rock is composed, the range is sometimes included from ... to … indicates how high the proportion of certain minerals in the rock has to be in order for it to be considered Rock xyz applies. In geology, in this context, main mixtures, secondary mixtures and accessories are mentioned.

  • Main issues: dominant minerals in the rock
  • Side effects: Contributes up to 5% to the composition of the rock
  • Accessories: less than 1% represented in the structure of the rock

Furthermore, a distinction is made between monomineral and polymineral rocks according to the type of mineral. Rocks that are composed of one type of mineral (= monomineral - e.g. marble, rock salt, dolomite) or of several different minerals (= polymineral - e.g. lapis lazuli, granite, larvikite, gneiss).
However, with monomineral rocks it can happen that other minerals are still involved in the composition, the so-called secondary mixes and accessories. The fact is that the main mixture, i.e. the majority or the predominant minerals, of the rock is only characterized by one mineral, such as calcite, dolomite or aragonite in marble. In comparison, the main components of polymineral rocks are described by a large number of different minerals, such as granite, the main minerals of which are feldspar, quartz and mica.

See also:
⇒ The oldest rock in the world
⇒ The most expensive minerals in the world
⇒ Edible stones

Last updated: April 4th

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