How My Collection Is Catalogued

My collection is organized into what I call “Elemental Suites” based on the Periodic Table.  There are 92 naturally occurring elements from Hydrogen to Uranium, in ascending atomic number.  Of these I have found 57 elements which are suitable as Suites, meaning they are represented by at least one species that meets my criteria for collecting.  The 57 Element Suites are:  Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen (as Ammonium), Sodium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Silicon, Sulphur, Potassium, Calcium, Scandium, Titanium, Vanadium, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Zinc, Germanium, Arsenic, Selenium, Strontium, Yttrium, Zirconium, Molybdenum, Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, Silver, Cadmium, Indium, Tin, Antimony, Tellurium, Barium, Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Ytterbium, Hafnium, Tantalum, Tungsten, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, Mercury, Thallium, Lead, Bismuth, Thorium, and Uranium.

The 35 remaining elements:  Hydrogen, Helium, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon, Phosphorus, Chlorine, Argon, Gallium, Bromine, Krypton, Rubidium, Niobium, Technetium, Iodine, Xenon, Caesium, Praseodymium, Promethium, Samarium, Europium, Gadolinium, Terbium, Dysprosium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium, Lutetium, Polonium, Astatine, Radon, Francium, Radium, Actinium, and Protactinium are not represented by Element Suites because they tend to occur only as compound constituents (Oxygen as oxides, Phosphorus as phosphates, etc.), or they are incapable of forming compounds/minerals due to lack of reactivity (noble gases) or radioactive instability, or the minerals in which they occur do not meet my collecting criteria (as is the case with most of the Lanthanides.)

From the 57 Element Suites I have listed the following numbers of species:

Li
4
Be
2
B
3
C
19
N
5
Na
17
Mg
11
Al
8
Si
12
S
2
K
9
Ca
40
Sc
1
Ti
7
V
6
Cr
7
Mn
18
Fe
38
Co
9
Ni
25
Cu
53
Zn
8
Ge
1
As
15
Se
2
Sr
4
Y
9
Zr
3
Mo
5
Ru
2
Rh
4
Pd
18
Ag
17
Cd
6
In
1
Sn
6
Sb
13
Te
3
Ba
8
La
2
Ce
4
Nd
2
Yb
1
Hf
1
Ta
3
W
3
Re
1
Os
2
Ir
3
Pt
11
Au
9
Hg
34
Tl
3
Pb
45
Bi
30
Th
3
U
4

TOTAL: 582

Currently the total number of species is 582, subject to change as new applicable species are discovered or approved by IMA, or previously accepted species become discredited/reclassified, or because the chemical formula is revised to the extent that it no longer meets my criteria for collecting.

My system of numerically cataloguing these species is based on chemical composition.  Every specimen catalogue number begins with the atomic symbol that corresponds to the Element Suite to which it belongs; therefore all species within the Calcium Suite begin with “Ca,” those within Gold are “Au,” and so on.

The Mineral Family to which the species belongs is designated as follows, as derived from the Nickel-Strunz classification system:

  1. Sulphides
  2. Halides
  3. Oxides
  4. Carbonates
  5. Borates
  6. Sulphates
  7. Phosphates
  8. Silicates
  9. Organics

The (Native) Elements Family would be designated with the number “1” but this is assumed and unwritten as the atomic symbol by itself denotes the pure form of the element.

Sub groupings within the Mineral Families are designated as follows:

The (Native) Elements Family

  • (Pure/Native Element:  “1A” is unwritten as it is assumed)
  • Alloys/non-metal compounds:  B
  • Carbides/Nitrides/Silicides:  C

The Sulphides

  • Sulphides:  2 (writing “2A” unnecessary as the “A” is assumed)
  • Arsenides:  2B
  • Selenides:  2C
  • Antimonides:  2D
  • Tellurides:  2E
  • Bismuthides:  2F

The Halides

  • Fluorides:  3A
  • Chlorides:  3B
  • Bromides:  3C
  • Iodides:  3D
  • Mixed halogen types can also be indicated; a fluoride chloride would be 3AB, or a chloride bromide iodide would be 3BCD, and so on.  The letter indicating the halogen(s) is always written and never assumed.

The Sulphates

  • Sulphates:  7 (writing “7A” unnecessary as the “A” is assumed)
  • Chromates:  7B
  • Molybdates:  7C
  • Tungstates:  7D
  • Niobates:  7E
  • Tantalates:  7F

The Phosphates

  • Phosphates:  8 (writing “8A” unnecessary as the “A” is assumed)
  • Vanadates:  8B
  • Arsenates:  8C

Therefore a catalogue number for a specimen of Fluorite (calcium fluoride) would begin with a Mineral Family designation of Ca3A, Vanadinite (a lead vanadate) would begin with Pb8B, Auricupride (a natural copper-gold alloy) would be CuB, and so on.

There are no sub groupings for the Oxides, the Carbonates, the Borates and the Organics.  There are comparatively too few Nitrates to warrant a sub grouping within the Carbonate family.

Immediately following the Mineral Family designation is the portion of the catalogue number that denotes how many applicable species there are within that category.  This is done with “n/x” where “n” is my own numerical designation for that species, “/” is to mean “of” and “x” represents the total applicable species under the category.  For instance, there are two Cadmium sulphides Greenockite and Hawleyite (both CdS) which are catalogued as Cd2.  Greenockite would be Cd2.1/2, where the “1/2” means that it is 1 of 2 total applicable sulphide species for this Element Suite; likewise Cd.2/2 would be Hawleyite.  The “.” or decimal point/period is merely used as a separator to distinguish the Mineral Family from the number of applicable species.  The decimal point/period is omitted when the Mineral Family designation ends with a letter as the juxtaposition of letters and numbers makes for a distinction between the Mineral Family and number of total species for instance Edoylerite (Hg2+3S2CrO4) is Hg7B2/3.  When there are several applicable species within a given Mineral Family/Subfamily the numerical designation for the “n” is appointed to each species in order of chemical complexity first, alphabetical order of species name second.  For example, the suitable Lead oxides are listed thusly:

  • Litharge                              Pb4.1/10  (PbO)
  • Massicot                             Pb4.2/10  (PbO)
  • Plattnerite                         Pb4.3/10  (PbO2)
  • Scrutinyite                        Pb4.4/10  (PbO2)
  • Minium                               Pb4.5/10  (Pb3O4)
  • Scotlandite                        Pb4.6/10  (PbSO3)
  • Molybdomenite               Pb4.7/10  (PbSeO3)
  • Plumboselite                     Pb4.8/10  (Pb3O2SeO3)
  • Seeligerite                          Pb4.9/10  (PbIO4Cl3)
  • Schwartzembergite        Pb4.10/10  (Pb52+I3+O6H2Cl3)

Here the species of Litharge and Massicot are numbered in preference to alphabetical order as their respective chemical formulae are identical.  The formulae for Scotlandite and Molybdomenite are almost identical, with the inclusion of S or Se being the only difference; however, Molybdomenite is listed after Scotlandite as Se comes after S in the periodic table.

The Catalogue Numbering Prefixes are:

  • Native Form:   _n/x
  • Alloys/Nonmetal Compounds:   _Bn/x
  • Carbides, Silicides, Nitrides:   _Cn/x
  • Sulphides:   _2.n/x
  • Arsenides:   _2Bn/x
  • Selenides:   _2Cn/x
  • Antimonides:   _2Dn/x
  • Tellurides:   _2En/x
  • Bismuthides:   _2Fn/x
  • Fluorides:   _3An/x
  • Chlorides:   _3Bn/x
  • Iodides:   _3Cn/x
  • Bromides:   _3Dn/x
  • Oxides:   _4.n/x
  • Carbonates:   _5.n/x
  • Borates:   _6.n/x
  • Sulphates:   _7.n/x
  • Chromates:   _7Bn/x
  • Molybdates:   _7Cn/x
  • Tungstates: _7Dn/x
  • Phosphates:   _8.n/x
  • Vanadates:   _8Bn/x
  • Arsenates:   _8Cn/x
  • Silicates:   _9.n/x
  • Organics:   _10.n/x

(Where “_” would be the elemental symbol or Elemental Suite, “n” is the numerical designation, “/” is “of” or “out of”, and “x” the total number of applicable species within this category.)

The last portion of the catalogue number is the specimen number, again separated by a decimal point/period.  Therefore my first Pyrite specimen would then be Fe2.3/5.01 while Fe2.3/5.06 would be the catalogue number for my sixth Pyrite specimen.

There are a few specimens (under “Miscellaneous”) in my collection which are of species that do not meet my criteria for collecting as they had been acquired before I had established such parameters.  These specimens are catalogued much more simply with a Roman numeral designating the Mineral Family, as per Nickel-Strunz, followed by the specimen number.  So in the case of the Sulphates, of which I have 2 Gypsum, 1 Krohnkite, and 1 Chalcanthite, they are catalogued as VII-01, VII-02, VII-03, and VII-04 respectively.

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