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Mineral/rock

Derived from or for 

Actinolite Greek actino = ray and lithos = stone in reference to its occurrence in bundles of radiating needles
Agalmatolite Greek algalma = image and lithos = stone as it was carved by the Chinese
Agate locality at the River Achates, now Drillo in Sicily, where it was originally found
Aggregate Latin aggregatus = to lead to a flock, add to
Akageneite locality at Akagame mine, Iwate Prefecture, Japan
Alabandite locality at Alabanda in Caria, Asia Minor
Alabaster ancient ointment jars called alabastra and perhaps Alabastron in Egypt; alternatively from Egyptian a-la-baste = ship of the Goddess Ebaste = Bubaste
Albite Latin albus = white, for its color
Alexandrite Czar Alexander II (1818-1881) of Russia
Allanite Thomas Allan (1777-1833), Scottish mineralogist and first observer
Almandine (garnet) Alabanda, Asia Minor, where garnets were cut and polished
Aluminum Latin alumen = alum, original name for natural aluminum sulfate
Alunite Latin alumen = alum (see above) and French alun = alum
Amazonite locality at Amazon River, South America
Amber French ambre from Arabic anbar = ambergris (now obsolete)
Amblygonite Greek amblys = dull, obtuse and gonia = angle, in reference to cleavage angle
Amethyst Latin amethystus and Greek amethystos = not drunken as the stone and plant was thought to orevent intoxication
Amosite acronym of Asbestos Mines of South Africa
Analcime Greek analkis = without strength due to its weak electrical properties when heated or rubbed
Anatase Greek anatasis = extension because of the greater length of the common pyramid as compared with other tetragonal minerals
Andradite (garnet) J.B.d'Andrada e Silva (1763-1838), Brazilian mineralogist and first observer
Anhydrite Greek anhydros = dry or without water
Anorthite Greek for not straight, because of its triclinic symmetry
Antimony  Latin from Greek anti = against plus monos = a metal seldom found alone
Andalusite locality at Andalusia, Spain
Anthophyllite neo-Latin anthophyllum = clove for its brown color, Greek lithos = stone
Apatite Greek apate = deceit since it was often mistaken for other minerals
Aphthitalite Greek aphthitos = unchangeable or indestructible, alis = salt, and lithos = stone since it is very stable in air
Aquamarine Latin aqua marina = seawater alluding to its pale bluish-green color
Aragonite locality at Aragon, Spain, where it was first identified
Arcanite Medieval Latin alchemical name, Arcanum duplicatum = double secret
Asbestos Latin and Greek asbestos = inextinguishable alluding to its early uses as a wick
Ascherite a.k.a Szaibelyle 
Atacamite locality at Atacama Desert, Chile
Attapulgite locality at Attapulgus, Georgia, USA
Axinite Greek axine = ax in reference to its wedge-shaped crystals
Azoproit Russian title for the International Association for the Study of Deep Zones of the Earth's Crust (AZOPRO) since it was found during the preparation of a guidebook for the Association's meeting in Baikal in 1969
Baddeleyite Joseph Baddeley who brought the original specimens from Sri Lanka
Ball clay from the tradition of rolling the clay to the cart and thus forming a "ball" weighing 13-22 kg (30-50 lb) with a diameter of about 25 cm (10 inches)
Barite Greek barys = heavy or dense
Barylite Greek barys = heavy or dense, lithos = stone
Bassanite  locality at Basset group of mines, Redruth, Cornwall, England
Bastnaesite locality at Bastnäs, Vastmanland, Sweden
Bauxite locality at Les Baux, near Arles, France where it was discovered by P. Berthierin 
Beidellite  locality at Beidell, Colorado
Bementite Clarence Sweet Bement (1843-1923), American machine tool manufacturer from Philadelphia; collector of coins, books, and minerals
Benstonite  for O.J. Benston (1901- ), American ore dressing metallurgist, National Lead Company, Malvern, AR, who provided specimens for initial study
Bentonite for the Benton Shale named for Fort Benton, Montana, United States (originally named Taylorite for Taylor Ranch, the site of the first mine near Rock River, Wyoming, which opened in 1888)
Bertrandite Marcel Alexandre Bertrand (1847-1907), French mineralogist
Beryl Greek beryllos of uncertain etymology applied to beryl and green gems
Beryllium beryl (see above), the mineral from which it was isolated
Bikitaite locality at Bikita, Zimbabwe
Biotite Jean Baptiste Biot (1774-1862), French physicist who studied its optical aspects 
Birnessite locality at Birness, Scotland
Bischofite Gustav Bischof (1792-1870), German chemist and geologist
Bixbyite Maynard Bixby of Salt Lake City, UT, who compiled a catalog of Utah minerals
Blanc fixe French blanc = white and fixe = settled referring to the barium sulfate precipitate 
Bloedite Carl August Bloede (1773-1820), German chemist
Boehmite Johannes Böhm (1857-1938), German geologist and first observer
Boracite derived from borax (see below). A.k.a. 
Borax Persian burah and Arabic buraq, both old names for the mineral. A.k.a. tincal.
Bradleyite Wilmot Hyde Bradley (b. 1899), American geologist, USGS
Brannerite John Casper Branner (1850-1922), American geologist
Braunite Kammerath Braun, of Gotha, Germany
Brazilianite Brazil, where the mineral was first found
Bromine Greek bromos = stench in reference to its characteristic odor
Bromargyrite Greek bromos = stench and argyros = silver alluding to to composition
Brookite Henry James Brooke (1771-1857), English mineralogist
Brucite Archibald Bruce (1777-1818), American mineralogist and first observer
Brüggenite Juan Brüggen (1887-1953), Chilean geologist
Burkeite William Edmund Burke (1980-), American chemical engineer
Cahnite Lazard Cahn (1865-1940), American mineral collector who first recognized the mineral in Franklin, New Jersey.
Cairngorm locality at Cairngorm, southwest of Banff, Scotland
Calcite Latin calx, calcis = lime; this is the same origin for chalk and limestone
Carnallite Rudolph von Carnall (1804-1874), Prussian mining engineer, Greek lithos = stone
Celestite Latin caelestis = heavenly for its faint blue color
Cement Old French ciment from Latin caementum = chip of stone used to fill up in building a wall
Cerite/Cerium after Ceris, an asteroid discovered in 1803
Chabazite (zeolite) Greek chabazios or chalazios, an ancient name of a stone celebrated in a poem ascribed to Orpheus
Chalcedony from Chalcedon or Calchedon, an ancient maritime city of Bithynia on the Sea of Marmara in modern Turkey
Chalcophanite Greek chalcos = copper and to appear refering to the change of color on ignition
Chalcopyrite Greek chalcos = copper and its similarity with pyrite.
Chaistolite 
(variety of andalusite)
Greek chiastos = marked with a chi (x) and lithos = stone alluding to the cross exhibited in transverse sections
China clay commercial term for kaolin which was named for Kau-ling in China
Chiolite Greek = snow alluding to its appearance and similarity to cryolite (ice)
Chlorite Greek chloros = light green in reference to its color
Chromite Greek chroma = a color for the brilliant hues of its compounds
Chrysoberyl Greek chrysos = golden or yellow plus beryllos = beryl 
Chrysolite Greek chrysos = golden or yellow plus lithos = stone
Chrysoprase Greek chrysos = golden or yellow plus prason = leek alluding to green color
Chrysotile Greek chrysotos = guilded in reference to its color and nature
Citrine Latin citrus or French citron = lemon in reference to its yellow color
Clinoenstatite Greek klinein = to bend or slope (monoclinic diomorph) of enstates = an adversary because of its refractory nature 
Clinoptilolite Greek klinein = to bend or slope, monoclinic Greek for wing or down alluding to its light nature, and lithos = stone 
Colemanite William Tell Coleman (1824-1893), a borate developer in California 
Cordierite Pierre Louis A. Cordier (1777-1861), French mining engineer & geologist
Coronadite for Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (ca. 1500-1554), Spanish explorer of SW America
Corundum Hindi kurund, or the Tamil kurundam, describing a native stone of India
Crandallite Milan L. Crandell Jr., American engineer, Knight Syndicate, Provo, Utah and Greek lithos = stone
Cristobalite Cerro San Cristóbal near Pachuca, Mexico and Greek lithos = stone
Crocidolite Greek krokis or krokidos = the nap on cloth and lithos = stone 
Cryolite Greek kryos = cold, frost and lithos = stone for its icy appearance
Cryptomelane Greek kryptos = hidden, secret and melas = black in reference to the difficulty of identifying it as a species and its color
Danburite locality at Danbury, Connecticut
D' Ansite Jean D' Ans (1881- ), German chemist, professor, Berlin
Darapskite for Ludwig Darapsky (1857-?), mineralogist and chemist from Santiago, Chile
Datolite Greek = to divide due to granular character of some varieties
Dawsonite John William Dawson (1820-1899), Canadian geologist, principal of McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Diamond Latin adamas = unconquerable or invincible; first used in Manilius (AD 16)
Diaspore Greek dia = through and speirein = to scatter in reference to its characteristic decrepitation on heating
Dickite Allan Brugh Dick (1833-1926), Scottish metallurgical chemist
Diatomite Latin from Greek dia = through and tome = cutting in reference to the two generally symmetrical valves of the single-cell diatom
Dietzeite August Dietze (?-1893?), who first described the mineral
Diopside Greek diopsis = to view through since it is usually transparent
Dolomite Deodat Guy Silvain Tancrède Gratet de Dolomieu, French geologist 
Dumortierite Eugène Dumortier (1802-1873), French paleontologist
Dunite named for its type locality at Dun Mountain, Nelson, New Zealand
Dysprosium Greek dysprositos = hard to get at in reference to the difficulty of separation
Embolite Greek embole = insert and lithos = stone since it contains both the chloride and bromide of silver
Emerald Latin smaragdus and Greek smaragdos = emerald, probably of Semitic origin; ancient name applied to a variety of green minerals
Emery French emeri, Italian smeriglio, and Greek smiris or smeris; akin to the Greek myron = urgent
Epsomite locality at Epsom, a town near London, England
Erionite (zeolite) Greek erion = wool alluding to its white wool-like appearance
Euclase Greek eu = good, well and klasis = a breaking due to its easy cleavage
Eucryplite Greek eu = good, and concealed due to its mode of occurrence embedded in albite
Eudialyte  Greek eu = good, well and dialytos = capable of dissolution
Eudidymite Greek eu = good, well and twin, due to the twinned crystal
Eugsterite  
(Fritzshe's salt)
N.A. 
Europium Continent of Europe named for Europa, daughter of a king of Phoenicia
Euxenite Greek for friendly to strangers or hospitable referring to the rare-earth elements it contains
Faujasite (zeolite) Barthélemy Faujas de Saint Fond (1741-1819), French geologist
Fayalite locality at Fayal Island in the Azores and Greek lithos = stone
Feitknechtite for Walter Feitknecht (1899- ), University of Bern, who first synthesized the compound
Feldspar Swedish feldt or fält = field and spat = spar, for the spar in the tilled fields overlying granite
Fergusonite Robert Ferguson (1799-1865), Scottish physician
Ferrierite (zeolite) Walter Frederick Ferrier (1865-1950), Canadian geologist and moning engineer
Ferronatrite Latin ferrum = iron and natrium = soda describing its composition
Flint Greek plinthos = a brick
Florencite Willian Florence (1964-1942), Brazilian mineralogist who studied minerals in Minas Gerais
Fluoborite from composition, a fluoborate of magnesium
Fluocerite containing fluorine and cerium named for Ceris, an asteroid
Fluorapatite containing fluorine and apatite
Fluorite Latin fluere = flow, then German flüssen = fuse (German flussspat)
Forsterite Adolarius Jacob Forster (1739-1806), English mineral collector
Francolite Wheal (= mine) Franco, Tavistock in Devon, England, Greek lithos = stone
Fuller's earth clay used by the fuller to degrease cloth in a process known as fulling
Furgusonite  
Gadolinite Johan Gadolin (1760-1852), Finnish chemist and discoverer of yttrium
Galena Latin galena = lead ore or dross remaining after melting lead
Garnet Latin granatum = a pomegranate since it RESEMBLes their red seeds; alternatively Latin granatus = like a grain since it RESEMBLes seeds or grains embeded in the matrix
Gaylussite Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850), French chemist, Greek lithos = stone
Gibbsite George Gibbs (1776-1833), owner of the mineral collection acquired by Yale early in the 19th century
Glaserite ???
Glauberite Johann Wilhelm Glauber (1603-1668), German chemist
Glauconite Greek glaucos = originally gleaming, later bluish green, silvery, or gray
Goethite Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet/philosopher
Graphite Greek for graphein = to write due to its use in making pencils
Grossularite (garnet) Latin grossularium = gooseberry for its pale green color
Groutite Frank Fitch Grout (1880-1958), American petrologist, U of Minnesota
Guano Indian huanu = dung
Gypsum from the Greek gypsos = plaster, an ancient name
Hafnium Latin Hafnia = ancient name for Copenhagen
Halite Greek hals = the sea (see salt)
Halloysite Baron Omalius d'Halloy (1707-1789), Belgian geologist and first observer
Hanksite Henry Garber Hanks (1826-1907), State Mineralogist of California
Hausmannite Johann Friedrich Ludwig Hausmann (1782-1859), German mineralogist
Hectorite locality at Hector, California, USA
Heliodor Greek helios = sun -- "gift of the sun". 
Helvite Greek helvus = light yellow alluding to the mineral's color
Hematite Greek haimatites = bloodlike alluding to its red color
Hessonite Greek ésson = inferior in reference to its inferior hardness and color
Heulandite John Henry Heuland (1778-1856), English mineral collector
Hiddenite A.E. Hidden, mine owner and first observer
Hollandite Thomas Henry Holland (1868-1947), British geologist, Director of Geol. Survey of India
Holmium Latin Holmia = ancient name for Stockholm
Howlite Henry How (1828-1879), Canadian chemist and first observer
Huntite Walter Frederick Hunt (1882-1975), American mineralogist, U of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Hydroboracite Greek hydor = water plus boracite
Illite locality in the state of Illinois, USA
Ilmenite locality at the Ilmen Mountains, former USSR, where it was first located
Inderborite Inder Lake, western Kazakhstan and composition of borate.
Inderite Inder Lake, western Kazakhstan
Inyoite Inyo County, California
Iodine Greek iodes = violet alluding to its color
Jacobsite locality at Jacobsberg, Wermland, Sweden
Jade/jadeite Spanish term piedra de yjada = stone of the side since the stone was supposed to cure side pains
Jarosite Jaroso Ravine in the Sierra Almagrera, Spain
Jasper Latin iaspis, which is of oriental origin, equivalent to the Persian iashm and jashp and the Assyrian ashpu
Kainite Greek kainos = new, recent alluding to its recent (secondary) formation
Kaliborite composition, kalium = potassium, and boron = borate
Kandite comprising the minerals kaolinite, nacrite, and dickite
Kaolin Chinese Kau-ling = high ridge, a village in northwest Jiangxi Province, China, where deposits of white kaolin have long been exploited to make fine white porcelain known as china (see china clay)
Kermesite  from kermes, a name given in old chemistryto red amorphous antiminy trisulfide often mixed with antimony trioxide
Kernite locality at Kern County, California
Kieselguhr German kiesel = flint and guhr = earthy sediment deposited in water
Kieserite Dietrich Georg Kieser (1779-1862), President of Jena Acadamy, Germany
Kornerupine Andreas Nikolaus Kornerup (1857-1881), Danish geologist
Kotoite Bundjirom Koto (1856-1935), Japanese geologist and petrographer, U of Tokyo
Kramerite locality at Kramer boron deposit, California. A.k.a. probertite.
Kurnakovite Nikolai Semenovich Kurnakov (1860-1941), Russian mineralogist
Kunzite G.F. Kunz, American mineralogist
Kyanite Greek kyanos = dark blue reflecting its color
Labradorite the mineral was first brought from the Isle of Paul, Labrador, about 1770
Langbeinite A. Langbein, German chemist of Leopoldshall
Lanthanum Greek lanthanein = to be unseen, unnoticed, or concealed 
Lapis lazuli Latin lapis = a stone and Persian lazhward = blue color
Laumontite (zeolite) François Pierre Nicolas Giller de Laumont (1747-1834), French discoverer 
Lautarite locality at Oficina Lautaro, Antofagasta Province, Chile
Lecontite John Lawrence LeConte (1825-1883), American entomologist of Philadelphia who discovered the mineral
Leonite Leo Strippelmann, director of the salt work at Westerregeln, Germany
Lepidocrocite Greek lepis = scale in reference to the scaly or feathery habit, and (Latin) crocinus = saffron, golden, yellow for its color
Lepidolite Greek lepis = scale and lithos = stone because of its micaceous structure
Leucite Greek leukos = white reflecting its whire or gray color
Leucoxene Greek leukos = white and xenos = stranger alluding to its color and secondary nature
Lime Old English; related to Dutch iljm & Latin limus = mud, linere = to smear
Limonite Greek leimon = meadow since it often occurs in bogs and swamps
Lithiophilite Greek lithos = stone and philos = loving alluding to its composition
Lithiophorite Greek lithos = stone and to bear in reference to its lithium content 
Lithium Greek lithos = stone
Loeweite Alexander Loewe (1808-1846), German chemist
Loparite Russian name for the Lapp inhabitants of the Kola Peninsula
Ludwigite Ernst Ludwig (1842-1915), Austrian chemist, U of Vienna
Lutetium Lutetia, the ancient name for Paris
Maghemite from the fisrt syllables of magmetite and hematite referring to the magnetism and and composition
Magnesite see magnesium; applied to a series of magnesium salts by J.C. Delanethrie in 1795; D.L.G. Karsten first restricted it to the natural carbonate in 1808
Magnesium/ magnesia Possibly Latin magnesia, a mineral said to be brought from the province of Magnesia in Thessaly, Greece > magnesia alba > "magnesia" and "magnesium" (magnesia negra > "manganese"); See manganese.
Magnetite Middle Latin magnes = magnet in reference to its magnetic properties; or from Magnes, a shepherd who first discovered the mineral on Mount Ida when the rock was attracted to the nails in his shoes
Manganese Possibly Latin magnesia, a mineral said to be brought from the province of Magnesia in Thessaly, Greece > magnesia negra and corrupted to "manganese" (in common with magnesia alba > "magnesia" and "magnesium"; alternatively Greek mangania = magic. See magnesium/magnesia.
Manganite manganese content (see above)
Marble Greek marmairein = to shine, marmaros = white glistening stone
Marcasite probably Arabic or Moorish for pyrite and similar substances
Mayenite locality near Mayen, Eifel district Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Meerschaum Greek meer = sea and schaum = froth for its light weight and color
Mendozite Mendoza, Argentina
Meyerhofferite Wilhelm Meyerhoffer (1864-1906), German chemist
Mica Latin micare = to shine or to glitter or the Latin mica = a crumb or grain
Microcline Greek mikro = little and klinein = to incline in reference to its characteristic variation of cleavage angle from 90o
Millisite F.T. Mills, of Lehi, Utah, the first observer
Mirabilite Latin sal mirabilis = wonderful salt, Greek lithos = stone
Mohavite Mohave desert, California. A.k.a. tincalconite.
Monazite Greek monazein = to be alone alluding to its rarity 
Montebrasite locality at Mintebras, Creuse, France
Montmorillonite locality at Montmorillon, Vienne, France
Mordenite (zeolite) Morden, King's County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Morganite John Pierpont Morgan, American banker and gem enthusiast
Mullite locality at the island of Mull, Scotland, Greek lithos = stone
Muscovite Muscovy glass, when first described from Muscovy Province, Russia
Nahcolite acronym of Na, H, C, O plus Greek lithos = stone
Natrolite (zeolite) Latin natrium or Greek natron = native soda plus lithos = stone
Natron Latin natrium or Greek nitron = native soda
Neodymium Greek neos = new and didymos = twin
Nepheline  Greek nephele = cloud alluding to the cloudy appearance developed on immersing nepheline in strong acid
Nephrite Latin lapis nephriticus = kidney stone since it was often worn to remedy diseases of the kidnies
Nesquehonite Nesquehoning near Lansford, Carbon County, Pennsylvania
Niter/Nitrates ancient origin: Latin nitrum, the Greek for nitron, the Hebrew nether; perhaps originally from Nitria, a city in Upper Egypt
Nontronite  locality at Arrondissement of Nontron, near the village of Saint Pardoux, France
Northupite Charles H. Northup (b. 1861), American grocer and first observer
Novaculite Latin novacula = razor hone alluding to its use as a sharpening stone
Nsutite locality at the Nsuta Mine, Ghana
Ochre Latin and Greek ochra = pale or pale yellow alluding to its color
Offertite (zeolite) Albert Jules Joseph Offret (1857-?), professor, Lyons, France
Olivine Latin oliva = olive alluding to its olive green color
Onyx Greek onyx = claw, fingernail, hoof in reference to the color
Opal from Sanskrit upala = stone or precious stone
Orthoclase Greek for straight and klasis = fracture in reference to its cleavage angle of 90°
Palygorskite locality at "in der Paligorischen Distanz" of the second mine on the Popovka River, Urals, former USSR, where it was observed
Pandermite locality at Panderma, the old name for Bandirma, a port in Turkey
Parisite J.J. Paris, proprietor of the mine at Muzo, north of Bogata, Colombia, where the mineral was discovered
Peat Anglo-Latin peta = piece of turf 
Pentlandite Joseph Barclay Pentland (1797-1873), Irish natural scientist and traveler
Periclase Greek peri = around and klasis = fracture due to its perfect cubic cleavage
Peridot French péridot of unknown origin
Perlite French perle = pearl due to its pearly luster and form when hammered
Perovskite  
Petalite Greek petalon = leaf and lithos = stone alluding to its leaflike cleavage
Phenak(c)ite Greek phenax = to cheat since it was often mistaken for quartz
Phengite Greek and Latin phengites = shine in reference to its luster
Phillipsite (zeolite) William Phillips (1775-1829), British mineralogist, founder of the Geological Society of London
Phlogopite Greek phlogistos = to burn or inflame alluding to its reddish tinge
Phonolite Greek phone = sound and lithos = stone in reference to its ring when struck with a hammer
Phosphate Greek for phos = light and phoros = bearer due to its spontaneous combustion; frpm the Latin meaning morning star
Pinnoite Mt. Pinno, Chief Councellor of Mines, of Halle, Germany
Pirssonite Louis Valentine Pirsson (1860-1919), American mineralogist at Yale 
Plagioclase Greek plagios = oblique and klasis = fracture in reference to the oblique angles between its best cleavages
Plumbago Latin plumbum = lead since graphite was misidentified as galena
Pinite   
Polianite N.A.
Pollucite Pollux, the twin brother of Castor in Classical mythology, in reference to its association with the mineral castor (old name for petalite)
Polyhalite Greek polys = much or many and hals = salt due to the component salts
Portland cement resembles a building stone on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England 
Portlandite from Portland cement, locality at the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England, with which the synthetic compound was known to be associated
Potash from pot and ash, originally prepared by evaporating the lixivium of wood ashes in iron pots (see soda ash)
Pozzalana locality at Pozzuoli near Mount Vesuvius where a tuff was extracted by the Romans
Praeseodymium Greek prasios = green and didymos = twin
Priceite Thomas Price (b. 1837?), Welsh-American mineralogist. A.k.a Pandemite.
Probertite Frank Holman Probert (1876-1940), Dean of the Mining College, U of Cal. A.k.a. kramerite.
Promethium Prometheus, a Titan in Greek mythology, who made a man of clay from fire stolen from heaven
Psilomene Greek psilos = naked, bare and melas = black alluding to its appearance
Pumice Latin pumex = pumice or porous stone from spuma = foam
Pyrrhotite Greek for redness aluding to the liveliness of its color
Pyrite Greek pyrites = flint or millstone from pyros = a fire since it gives off sparks when struck
Pyrochlore Greek pyros = a fire and chloros = green since it turns green on ignition
Pyrolusite Greek pyros = a fire and lusite = to wash due to its use to decolorize glass
Pyrope (garnet) Greek pyr = fire and ops = eye alluding to its fire-red color
Pyrophyllite Greek for pyro = a fire, phyllo = a leaf, and lithos = stone referring to the effect of heat separating the laminae in foliated varieties
Quartz Saxon word querkluftertz = cross-vein ore; first condensed to querertz; or West Slavic word kwardy
Ramsdellite Lewis Stephen Ramsdell (1895-1975), American mineralogist, U of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Rare earths named by Johann Gadolin as a literal description of a group of elements
Rhodochrosite Greek rhodochros = rose colored alluding to its color
Rhodonite Greek rhodon = a rose alluding to its color
Roseki Japanese for waxy stone referring to its wax-like appearance. 
Roscoelite Henry Enfield Roscoe (1833-1915), a chemist from Manchester, England, who first to prepared pure vanadium
Ruby Latin rubeus = red alluding to its color
Rutile French shining from Latin rutilus = red alluding to its color
Sanbornite for Frank Sanborn, American mineralogist. Div. Mines, Dept. Natural Resources, CA
Sanidine Greek sanis (-idos) = a board, a table in reference to the mineral's tabular habit
Salt Latin sal which originated from the Greek for hals = the sea (see halite)
Samarskite Vasilii Erafovich Samarski-Bykhovets (1803-1870), of the Russian Corps of Mining Engineers
Saponite Latin sapo (-idos) = soap for its soaplike appearance
Sapphire ancient name of uncertain origin; possibly Hebraic sappir and Sanskrit sanipruja; applied by the ancients to lazurite
Sassolite Sasso, Tuscany, Italy where first observed, Greek lithos = stone
Searlesite John W. Searles, Californian pioneer; Searles Lake, CA, named for him
Selenite Greek selenites (lithos) = moon (stone) since it was supposed to wax and wane with the moon and/or it has moon-like white reflections
Sellaite Quntino Sella (1827-1884), Italian mining engineer and mineralogist
Senarmonite  Henri Hureau de Sénarmont (1808-1862), French physicist and mineralogist, School of Mines, Paris, who first described the species
Sepiolite Greek sepion = the bone of the cuttle-fish and lithos = stone since the bone of the cuttle-fish is light and porous like the mineral
Sericite Greek for silky alluding to its silky luster
Serpentine Latin serpens = snake because of the similar surface patterns
Shortite Maxwell Naylor Short (1889-1952), American mineralogist, U of Arizona, and Greek lithos = stone
Siderite Greek sideros = iron in reference to its composition
Sienna locality at the town of Sienna in Tuscany, northern Italy
Silica Latin silex = flint
Sillimanite Professor Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864), American mineralogist, Yale
Slate  
Smectite Greek smektis = fuller's earth from smechein = to wipe off, to cleanse because of its property of extracting grease from cloth (see Fuller's Earth)
Soda possibly from the name of a mineral that occurs near Djebel es Soda, Libya. Alternatively, the Spanish soda (from the Arabian suvvad = a plant from the ash of which soda was obtained in Sicily and Spain), or from the medieval Latin sodanum = a remedy for headaches (from the Arabic suda = headache).
Soda ash from soda and ash, originally prepared by evaporating the lixivium of wood ashes in iron pots (see potash) 
Sodalite from composition, Latin solidus = solid since it was a solid used in glassmaking (see soda ash)
Sodium sulfate chemical name
Spessartine (garnet) locality at Spessart in northwestern Bavaria, Germany
Sphalerite Greek for trecherous or slippery since it was often mistaken for galena but yielded no lead
Sphene Greek for wedge due to characteristic habit of the crystals 
Spinel Latin spinella = little thorn referring to its spine-shaped octahedral crystals
Spodumene Greek spodoun = to reduce to ashes refers either to its ash-gray color or the ash-colored mass formed when heated before the blowpipe
Stassfurtite locality at Stassfurt, Germany, where it is associated with potash. A.k.a. boracite
Staurolite Greek stauros = a cross and lithos = stone because of its common cruciform twins
Steatite Greek steatos = suet
Stibiconite  Greek stimmi and Latin stibium = antimony and Greek for powder or dust, because it often occurs as a powder
Stibnite Greek stimmi and Latin stibium = old names for antimony
Strontianite locality at Strontian, a small town in Argyllshire, Scotland
Suanite locality at Suan County, Korea
Sulfur Latin sulfur, an old name; akin to Sanskrit sulvere
Sulphohalite from composition, a sulfate with the halogen elements Cl and F
Suzorite locality at Suzor Township near Boucherville, Quebec, Canada (phlogopite mica)
Sylvite old chemical name Sal digestivus Sylvii or digestive salt of Francois Sylvius de la Boë (1614-1672), Dutch chemist and physician of Leyden
Syngenite Greek syn = with, together with, or related to in reference to its similarity to polyhalite
Szaibelyite Stephan Szaibely (1777-1855), Hungarian mine surveyor of Rézbánya. A.k.a. ascherite
Talc Arabic talq
Tamarugite locality at Tamarugal, Pampa, Chile
Tanzanite locality at Tanzania, Africa
Tephroiite Greek for ash-colored due to its color
Teruggite Mario E. Teruggi, geologist, Universitatd Nacional La Plata, Argentina
Thenardite Louis Jacques Thénard (1777-1857), French chemist, U of Paris
Thermonatrite Greek therme = heat and natron = soda since it forms from drying soda
Thorium Thor, Scandinavian god of thunder and lightening in reference to its use in energy
Thulite Thule, the ancient name of Scandinavia
Tincal Sanskrit tincal or Malay tingkal = borax. A.k.a. borax.
Tincalconite Sanskrit tincal = borax and Greek konis = dust or powder; the fact it can form from the dehydration of borax A.k.a. mohavite.
Titanium/ 
titanium dioxide
Latin Titani and Greek Titanes = a Titan, in Greek mythology any one of twelve children of Uranus ( Heaven) and Gaea (Earth); denotes strength
Todorokite locality at the Todoroki mine, Hokkaido, Japan
Topaz from the Greek Topazion, an island in the Red Sea, meaning to seek since the island was often covered in mist
Toseki Japanese meaning "stones used for pocelain raw material (pottery stone)
Tourmaline Singhalese turamali = originally applied to zircon and other gems by jewelers in Sri Lanka
Tremolite locality at Tremola Valley, near St. Gotthard, Switzerland, and Greek lithos = stone
Tridymite Greek tridymos = threefold since the crystals are often trillings
Tripoli locality at Tripoli, Libya, in North Africa
Trona Arabic name of the native salt
Tsavolite locality at Tsavo National Park, Kenya , first discovered, and Greek lithos = stone
Tunellite George Tunell (1900- ), American geochemist, U of California, Los Angeles
Turquoise Old French turqueise = Turkish as stones came to Europe from Persia via Turkey
Tychite in Greek mythology Tyche = the Goddess of Chance alluding to the fact that two tychite crystals in a stock of 5,000 northupite crystals were the first and the last to be found
Tysonite S.T. Tyson who collected and supplied the specimens in the original study
Ulexite George Ludwig Ulex (1811-1883), German chemist and first observer
Umber locality at the Umbria idistrict of Italy or possibly Latin umbra = a shade or shadow
Uralborite locality at Ural Mountains in the former USSR and its borate content
Uvarovite (garnet) Count Sergei Semeonovich Uvarov (1786-1855), Russian nobleman, Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg
Valentinite Basilius Valentinus (pseudonym for Johannes Thölde), German alchemist working on the properties of antimony in the late 17th and early 18th century.
Vanthoffite Jacobus Hendricus van 'tHoff (1852-1911), Dutch physical chemist
Veatchite Dr. John A. Veatch who first discovered boracic acid in northern Californian springs
Vermiculite Latin vermiculare = to breed worms alluding to its appearance after exfoliation and Greek lithos = stone
Vernadite  Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadskii (1863-1945), Russian naturalist and geochemist
Vesuvianite locality at Mt. Vesuvius, Italy, where it was found in ejected blocks
Villiaumite French explorer Villiaume who brought the specimen from Guinea
Vonsenite  Magnus Vonsen (1879-1954), American mineral collector of Petaluma, CA, who was interested in borate minerals. A.k.a. paigeite. 
Wad provincial English word for black, soft powders of unknown origin
Wairakite locality at Wairakei in the central part of the North Island, New Zealand
Wardite Henry Augustus Ward (1834-1906), American naturalist, Rochester, NY
Wavellite William Wavell (d.1829), English physician, Horwood Parish, Devon, UK, and Greek lithos = stone
Wegscheiderite Rudolph Wegscheider, chemist who formed the compound synthetically
Witherite William Withering (1741-1799), English physician, botanist & mineralogist
Wollastonite William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828), English chemist and mineralogist
Xenotime Greek xenos = foreign, a stranger and time = to honor alluding to the fact that crystals are small and rare, and were long unnoticed; originally mispelled kenotime, Greek for vain and to honor
Ytterbium/yttrium locality at Ytterby, Sweden
Zeolites Greek zein = to boil and lithos = stone (i.e. boiling stones)
Zinnwaldite locality at Zinnwald, Bohemia, itself named for the local tin (German Zinn) veins
Zircon from Arabic zarqun, derived from the Persian zar = gold and gun = color
Zoisite Siegmund Zois, Baron von Edelstein (1747-1819), Austrian scholar
Sources: Fleischer, M, 1975, Glossary of Mineral Species; Lyman, K., ed., 1984, Simon & Schuster's Guide to Gems and Precious Stones; Mitchell, R.S., 1979, Mineral Names What Do They Mean?; Spencer, L.J., M.H. Hay, et al, various dates, "Annual lists of new mineral names", Mineralogical Magazine; Chambers Etymological English Dictionary; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary (unabridged). 

 

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