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Mineral names in different languages and their meaning
  
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Tobi




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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2017 02:51    Post subject: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

I often think about mineral names and their meanings. I don't mean the IMA names that often trace back to Latin or ancient Greek words, I rather mean names that miners, scientists or collectors gave minerals in their own languages after they were discovered - and before there was an institution like IMA that standardized them in oder to have a scientific system that is valid all around the world.

My own language has many of such old names. Germany is a country with a long and rich history in mining, mineralogy and mineral collecting, because it is (or rather was) a mineral-rich country where many famous classics come from. Because of these facts, German language has many traditional names for minerals. Of course, as a collector nowadays you mostly use the official IMA names on your labels, but often private collectors (and also some museums!) still use some of the old names, e.g. Bleiglanz instead of Galenit (galena).

I would like to know if there are such old names (that are maybe still used) in other languages. Well, I'm sure there ARE such old names, but I would like to hear some samples and what they mean ;)

Some samples from German language:

Azurite: Kupferlasur (= copper glaze)
Cassiterite: Zinnstein (= tin stone)
Dioptase: Kieselkupfersmaragd (= silicon copper emerald)
Erythrite: Kobaltblüte (= cobalt blossom)
Galena: Bleiglanz (= lead luster)
Hemimorphite: Kieselzinkerz (= silicon zinc ore)
Magnetite: Magneteisenstein (= magnet iron stone)
Pyromorphite: Grünbleierz (= green lead ore)
Rhodochrosite: Himbeerspat (= raspberry spar)

I'm excited to see such samples from other languages ... :-)

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Tobi
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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2017 04:07    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

I must say, the German names are far more descriptive.
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Tobi




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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2017 04:34    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

I accidentally wrote Hemimiorphite instead of Hemimorphite and somehow I can't edit my post, could one of the moderators please correct that?

Thx
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2017 11:46    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Japanese traditional mineral names are often very similar in style to german names, eg: jiryuutekkoh = Magneteisenkies = pyrrhotite.
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Pete Modreski
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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2017 15:45    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Tobi, I am sure you may get many replies to this. There are MANY such names in English--some old, some more recently coined, many originating in the U.K., but some in America too. I know of a few such obsolete, synonymous, or varietal names in Spanish (because I'm less familiar with that language), and I'm sure there must be others in other languages. Several books have been published listing such names; one is
Glossary of Mineral Synonyms, by Jeffrey de Fourestier. Canadian Mineralogist, Special Publication No. 2, Ottawa, Ontario, 1999, 448 p.
A few names that come to mind in English: Calamine, selenite, heavy spar, Herkimer diamonds, ruby jack, balas ruby, ruby silver, mozarkite, isinglass, verdigris, turkey fat ore, worm ore, wood tin... (some such names are simply translations or transliteratures of the German).
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jm




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PostPosted: Nov 20, 2017 07:14    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Hi Tobi
Effectively, there are a lot of popular names for minerals, in Spanish as in many other languages. Surprisingly, some of them arise from German. For example, we call sphalerite as "blenda" or "blenda de cinc", where "blenda" comes in turn from the German word "blinder" (similar in English to "blind"), as this mineral was useless when the miners were trying to obtain silver or lead.
Another example is "almagra", word used for red iron oxide (hematite, goethite...). Its origins is Arabian: "al magarah" (the red earth).
Silver in Spanish is "plata", arising from medieval Latin "plata" (metal sheet), originally "plattus". Gold is "oro", from the Latin "aurum".
I do not know if there is other word in English for hematite. In Spanish we also have "oligisto", from the Greek "oligistos" ("very little"), as this ore gives less iron than others.
Annabergite and erythrite are named "blossoms" (or flowers, I am not sure about the correct translation...): nickel and cobalt "blossoms" (flores de níquel" and "cobalto").
The kalinite is the mineral (or the main mineral) in the "alumbre", from the Latin "alumen". "Piedra imán" (magnetic stone) is the traditional name for magnetite, and "piedra de canela" (cinnamon stone) was used for grossular.
Probably there are more, but I do not remember them now...
Surely someone will provide with other names!
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Nov 20, 2017 08:24    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

jm wrote:
...Silver in Spanish is "plata", arising from medieval Latin "plata" (metal sheet)...

Well said jm!

I was always fascinated by the "corruption" of the words. From the Spanish name "Plata" in Colombia currently they use "lata" to name the Gold sheets...
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Roger Warin




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PostPosted: Nov 20, 2017 09:17    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

And this one from Beudant, F.S. (1832), Trailé élémentaire de Minéralogie.

Mélinose for wulfenite, because mel is "miel" (honey) in French.
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PostPosted: Nov 20, 2017 11:06    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

I have always thought Oligisto (Spanish) is Specularite (English)
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Peter




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PostPosted: Nov 20, 2017 15:27    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

In Swedish a few examples:

Fältspat = Feldspar where spat comes from the readiness to cleave (spalta)
Kalkspat = calcite
Flusspat= Fluorite where flues refers to flowing, fusspot was and is used to make metals "float" (melt at lower temperatures)
Tungspat (Heavy spar) = Baryte

Tungsten (meaning heavy stone) = Scheelite W was discovered in Sweden

Kopparlasur=Azurite: Kupferlasur (= copper glaze)
Tennsten=Cassiterite: Zinnstein (= tin stone)
Koboltblomma=Erythrite: Kobaltblüte (= cobalt blossom) Kobolt was discovered in Sweden

Blyglans=Galena: Bleiglanz (= lead luster)

Zinkblände = sphalerite blände comes from the Swedish verb blända meaning blinding by strong light

Svartmalm (black ore) = Magnetite: Magneteisenstein (= magnet iron stone)


Kvicksilver =Quick silver/fast silver

The gem variety name IndoGolite= Indigo blue tourmaline,
first found in the type locality for Lithium pegmatites and this gem variety of elbaite Utö Pegmatites at Utö iron mines, Utö island, Sweden

Bergkristall= Rock crystal Berg in Swedish meaning mountain as well as rock
bergart = a specific rock type ie granite, basalt etc


As mining geology mineralogy chemistry was very important in both Sweden and Germany during several centuries or the last millennia and languages have many similarities, thus many old words have the same structure with in principle small spelling differences.
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jm




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PostPosted: Nov 21, 2017 02:38    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Hi James
Not so. We also use "specularite" ("especularita" in Spanish) to refer to hematite crystallized in the form of brilliant plates ("mirrored", since"speculum" is the Latin word for mirror).
However, "oligisto" means (or we use in such way) any form of hematite.
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Tobi




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PostPosted: Nov 21, 2017 03:40    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Interesting to see that some descriptive names are the same in different languages, e.g. Kobaltblüte (German), Flor de Cobalto (Spanish), Fleur de Cobalt (French), Koboltblomma (Swedisch) or Cobalt Flower (English) for erythrite.

Some other examples with (imho) beautiful descriptive names from German language that come to my mind:

Cuprite: Rotkupfererz (= red copper ore)
Goethite: Nadeleisenerz (= needle iron ore)
Hematite: Eisenglanz (= iron luster) or Roteisenstein (= red iron stone)
Lepidocrocite: Rubinglimmer (= ruby mica)
Pyrolusite: Weichmanganerz (= soft manganese ore)
Staurolite: Kreuzstein (= cross stone)
Wulfenite: Gelbbleierz (= yellow lead ore) or Molybdängelb (= molybdenum yellow)
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PostPosted: Nov 21, 2017 04:17    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

One of the most amusing descriptions of a mineral I have heard, is the name given by locals from some areas from Namibia and South Africa for Mica. They call it 'aapspieel' which, when translated freely, means 'monkey mirror'.
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Tobi




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PostPosted: Nov 21, 2017 04:25    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Pierre Joubert wrote:
One of the most amusing descriptions of a mineral I have heard, is the name given by locals from some areas from Namibia and South Africa for Mica. They call it 'aapspieel' which, when translated freely, means 'monkey mirror'.
Indeed really amusing ;-) As a German, I can see a resemblance to my own language, where "monkey mirror" would be "Affenspiegel" - though we don't use that term for a mineral ;-)
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PostPosted: Nov 21, 2017 10:11    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Tobi, correct me if I have it wrong, but one of my favorite German terms is the one used to described certain V-shaped twins such as the attached anatase twin. It is a Vogelschnabelzwilling - a bird's beak twin. Or perhaps even a Vogelschnabelanataszwilling!


Ana2.jpg
 Mineral: Anatase (twin on {011} )
 Locality:
Solumsĺsen Quarry, Holmestrand, Vestfold, Norway
 Dimensions: crystal is 0.17 mm wide
 Description:
Imaged at 80x with a Nikon SMZ1500 scope. Stack of 9 images with Helicon Focus.
 Viewed:  578 Time(s)

Ana2.jpg



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Tobi




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PostPosted: Nov 21, 2017 13:35    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Pete Richards wrote:
Tobi, correct me if I have it wrong, but one of my favorite German terms is the one used to described certain V-shaped twins such as the attached anatase twin. It is a Vogelschnabelzwilling - a bird's beak twin. Or perhaps even a Vogelschnabelanataszwilling!
To be honest, I have never heard the term Vogelschnabelzwilling. Even Google doesn't know the word :-(
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Pete Richards
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PostPosted: Nov 21, 2017 15:22    Post subject: Re: Mineral names in different languages and their meaning  

Well, I'm sure I saw it someplace, but I can't document it... And now, of course, it IS on Google, as a result of this exchange!
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