Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/identify rock


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I live in mojave desert and recently I found this in my back yard..It looked like someone painted it turquoise..I have collected rocks since I was little..I broke a piece off and tumbled looks exactly like have an amber luster to's beautiful.can u tell me what it is by the pic.the pic didn't do it justice.Thank u

It is always tricky to identify minerals from pictures positively without some physical tests. Let me give it a try. Turquoise is a copper aluminum phosphate CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)84H2O. It is fairly hard and should scratch glass. Take a piece and try to scratch some glass with it. You may have to push hard but a scratch should nevertheless be visible on the glass. Make sure you are testing truly the pure blue material and not some of the impurities in it or the host rock material. There are some turquoise specimens, however, that will NOT scratch glass. So this test is not necessarily all conclusive.
Your sample may also be the mineral azurite, a copper carbonate Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2. It will definitely NOT scratch glass, too soft. Azurite would react with acid, though. Place a drop of muratic (hydrochloric) acid on your blue sample. It should fizz if it is azurite. If muratic acid is NOT available, strong vinegar might also work, but not as well.
Hope this points you at least in the right direction.  

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Uwe Richard Kackstaetter, Ph.D. (Dr.K)


I can answer questions concerning minerals, mineralogy, gems, metals, and anything that has to do with geology. However, I am NOT a jeweler. Questions about values, settings, gem stone cuts and appraisals are best directed to other experts on this site. I can however aide in the identification of unknown mineral materials. As a public service and part as training for new geoscientists, our university department provides FREE mineral identification for individuals. Please contact me for details or go to for details..


I am a professor of applied geology and mineralogy with many hours of field experience. Furthermore, I enjoy recreational gold prospecting and mineral collecting. As a professor I am engaged in research concerning minerals and their occurrence.

Member of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America) as well as the Association of Environmental Geochemists. Member of the GSA (Geologic Society of America) Member of the AIPG (American Institute of Professional Geologists)

Here is a small sampling: Mineral-rock handbook: Rapid-easy mineral-rock determination : written for anyone interested in minerals and rocks - Proctor, Peterson, and Kackstaetter;Macmillan Pub. Co. (New York and Toronto and New York) Physical Geology Laboratory e-Manual [CD-ROM], Kackstaetter, Earth Science Education LLC Colorado Front Range Self-guided Geology Field Trips, Kackstaetter,

Ph.D. in Applied Geology and Mineralogy. I am actively teaching courses in mineralogy and a variety of field courses with mineral collecting opportunities. Background in precious metal exploration.

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