The Most Difficult Mineral to Find: Uncovering the Ultimate Mining Challenge

Choose the mineral you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 12, 2024 06:39
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion truly matters! Today, we invite you to join thousands of fellow mineral enthusiasts in the great debate: "What is the most difficult mineral to find?" Our extensive ranking features the rarest and most elusive minerals unearthed from the depths of our planet, and we're eager to know which one you think tops the list. Will it be Painite? Or perhaps the enigmatic Red Beryl? Dive into the fascinating world of mineral exploration with us and cast your vote for the most challenging gem to locate. If you think we missed a hidden gem, don't hesitate to suggest a new contender for the title. Unearth your knowledge and join the thrilling quest to discover the ultimate mineral rarity – right here on StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Difficult Mineral to Find?

  1. 1
    68
    votes
    Painite is one of the rarest minerals on Earth, with only a few hundred known specimens. It was first discovered in Myanmar in the 1950s and is sought after by collectors due to its unique orange-red color.
    Painite is a borate mineral that was first discovered in Myanmar in the 1950s. It is considered one of the rarest gem minerals in the world and is highly sought after by collectors. Painite's remarkable scarcity and unique color make it a prized find for mineral enthusiasts and gemstone connoisseurs.
    • Chemical Formula: CaZrAl9(BO3)O15(OH)
    • Color: Brown to reddish-brown, sometimes dark brown or black
    • Crystal System: Hexagonal
    • Hardness: 8 on the Mohs scale
    • Density: 4.01 - 4.23 g/cm3
  2. 2
    39
    votes
    Taaffeite is a rare mineral that was first discovered in Sri Lanka in 1945. It is known for its purple or blue-green color and is extremely rare, with only a few hundred known specimens.
    Taaffeite is a rare and highly sought-after gemstone known for its mesmerizing colors and exceptional hardness. It was discovered by gemologist Richard Taaffe in 1945. Taaffeite is prized for its rarity and is found in only a few locations around the world. Its scarcity and unique qualities make it one of the most difficult minerals to find.
    • Chemical Composition: BeAl3(Al, Cr, Fe, Mn, Li)6O18
    • Color: Ranges from colorless to pink, lavender, mauve, violet, and occasionally intense red and blue
    • Hardness: 8 on the Mohs scale
    • Crystal System: Hexagonal
    • Transparency: Transparent to translucent
  3. 3
    15
    votes
    Grandidierite is an extremely rare mineral that was first discovered in Madagascar in 1902. It is prized by collectors for its beautiful blue-green color, but it is very difficult to find due to its rarity.
    Grandidierite is a rare blue-green mineral that was first discovered in Madagascar in 1902. It is known for its vibrant color and high transparency, making it an attractive gemstone. The mineral was named after French explorer Alfred Grandidier, who extensively studied and documented Madagascar's natural history.
    • Chemical Formula: (Mg, Fe2+)Al3(BO3)(SiO4)O2
    • Hardness: 7.5 - 8 (Mohs scale)
    • Crystal System: Orthorhombic
    • Luster: Vitreous
    • Specific Gravity: 2.85 - 2.88
  4. 4
    21
    votes
    Jeremejevite is a rare mineral that was first discovered in Siberia in 1883. It is known for its beautiful blue color and is extremely rare, with only a few hundred known specimens.
    Jeremejevite is a rare and highly sought-after gemstone known for its exquisite blue color and exceptional clarity. It is a mineral belonging to the borate group and is typically found in granitic pegmatites. The crystal structure of Jeremejevite consists of double chains of borate tetrahedra linked by aluminum octahedra, creating a unique and beautiful arrangement. The gemstone is named after the Russian mineralogist Pavel Vladimirovich Jeremejev, who first discovered it in 1883 in the Adun-Chilon Mountains of Siberia.
    • Chemical Formula: Al6(BO3)5(F,OH)3
    • Crystal System: Hexagonal
    • Hardness: 6.5 - 7.5 on the Mohs scale
    • Density: 3.3 - 3.6 g/cm³
    • Refractive Index: 1.63 - 1.65
  5. 5
    10
    votes

    Red Beryl

    Maynard Bixby
    Red beryl, also known as bixbite, is a rare mineral that is found in only a few locations in the world. It is known for its intense red color, and specimens can be very valuable.
    Red Beryl, also known as bixbite or red emerald, is an exceptionally rare gemstone and one of the most difficult minerals to find. It belongs to the beryl mineral family and is renowned for its vivid red color, ranging from a raspberry red to a vibrant scarlet shade. The gemstone was first discovered in 1904 by Maynard Bixby in the Thomas Range of Utah, United States.
    • Chemical Formula: Be3Al2Si6O18
    • Hardness: 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs scale
    • Specific Gravity: 2.66 - 2.70
    • Crystal System: Hexagonal
    • Transparency: Transparent to translucent
  6. 6
    14
    votes
    Benitoite is a rare mineral that was first discovered in California in 1907. It is known for its beautiful blue color and is extremely rare, with only a few hundred known specimens.
    Benitoite is a rare barium titanium cyclosilicate mineral that is known for its vibrant blue color and exceptional clarity. It was first discovered in 1907 in California, USA, specifically in San Benito County, which accounts for its name. Benitoite is considered one of the most difficult minerals to find due to its scarcity and limited geographic distribution.
    • Chemical Formula: BaTi(Si3O9)
    • Crystal System: Hexagonal
    • Hardness: 6 - 6.5 on Mohs scale
    • Specific Gravity: 3.6 - 3.7
    • Luster: Vitreous to pearly
  7. 7
    2
    votes
    Alexandrite is a rare variety of chrysoberyl that is known for its color-changing properties. It is extremely rare, with only a few known deposits in the world.
  8. 8
    12
    votes
    Black Opal
    Ra'ike (see also: de:Benutzer:Ra'ike) · CC BY 3.0
    Black opal is a rare variety of opal that is known for its dark body color and bright flashes of color. It is found in only a few locations in the world, including Australia and Brazil.
    The Black Opal is a rare and highly sought-after gemstone known for its captivating play of colors. It belongs to the opal family and is characterized by a dark body tone, which enhances the brilliance and vibrancy of its spectral hues. The play of colors displayed by the Black Opal can range from dazzling flashes of red, orange, yellow, blue, and green to subtle undertones of purple and pink. Its mesmerizing color patterns and exceptional beauty make it one of the most prized gemstones in the world of minerals.
    • Color: Multicolored play of colors with a dark body tone
    • Chemical Composition: Silicon dioxide with water content
    • Crystalline System: Amorphous
    • Hardness: 5.5 - 6.5 on Mohs scale
    • Specific Gravity: 1.98 - 2.20
  9. 9
    11
    votes
    Tanzanite is a rare gemstone that was first discovered in Tanzania in 1967. It is known for its beautiful blue-purple color and is found in only one location in the world.
    Tanzanite is a captivating blue gemstone renowned for its mesmerizing color and unique characteristics. It was first discovered in 1967 in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania and quickly gained popularity among gemstone enthusiasts worldwide. Tanzanite gets its stunning blue hue from the presence of vanadium and is commonly heat-treated to enhance its color and clarity. This gemstone is highly cherished for its rarity, as it is found exclusively in Tanzania and is considered one of the birthstones for December. Tanzanite is admired for its vibrant blue shades that range from intense ultramarine to light violet-blue, often exhibiting a captivating trichroism. Its remarkable clarity and high refractive index contribute to its exceptional brilliance and luster. Tanzanite is also characterized by its pleochroism, which means it can display different colors when viewed from different angles. This gemstone is relatively softer compared to others, with a hardness of around 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Tanzanite is often found in faceted cuts, which allow its enchanting color to be fully showcased. Despite its relative infancy in the gemstone world, Tanzanite has gained significant fame and is treasured as one of nature's true gems.
    • Chemical Composition: Ca2Al3(SiO4)3(OH)
    • Color: Blue, Varying shades of ultramarine to violet-blue
    • Mohs Hardness: 6.5 to 7
    • Refractive Index: 1.691 to 1.700
    • Specific Gravity: 3.35
  10. 10
    0
    votes
    Platinum is a rare and valuable metal that is used in a variety of industrial and jewelry applications. It is found in only a few locations in the world, including South Africa and Russia.
    Platinum is a stunning hair color that embodies a sleek and icy white shade, resembling the shine of platinum metal. It is highly desired for its unique and eye-catching appearance.
    • Hair Color Category: Light Blonde
    • Undertones: Cool and silver-toned
    • Level: 10 (lightest blonde)
    • Intensity: Highly vibrant and reflective
    • Maintenance: Requires regular touch-ups to maintain root regrowth

Missing your favorite mineral?

Graphs
Discussion

Ranking factors for difficult mineral

  1. Rarity
    The primary factor to consider is the rarity of the mineral. Minerals which have been found in only a few locations or in very limited quantities are considered more difficult to find.
  2. Geographic distribution
    The geographical distribution of the mineral should be taken into account. Minerals that are found in remote, inaccessible areas, or that require extensive exploration, will be more difficult to locate.
  3. Formation conditions
    Some minerals form only under very specific conditions, such as high pressure, temperature, or within specific types of geological environments. These factors can make certain minerals more difficult to find.
  4. Economic value
    Minerals that are highly-valued and commercially-important have a higher chance of being discovered due to the incentive for mining companies to invest in exploration. Less valuable minerals may be overlooked and hence more difficult to find.
  5. Crystal habit and appearance
    Minerals that have distinctive crystal habits and physical properties may be easier to identify and find, while those with similar appearances to more common minerals may be more difficult to pinpoint.
  6. Extraction challenges
    Some minerals may be difficult to extract from their host rocks, requiring specialized mining techniques or advanced technology. This can increase the difficulty in finding and collecting a particular mineral.
  7. Legal and environmental constraints
    Some mineral deposits may be protected by law or located in areas with strict environmental regulations, making it more challenging to access and collect them.
  8. Cultural and political factors
    Difficulty in finding certain minerals can also be influenced by cultural attitudes, local beliefs, or political situations, which may restrict or limit access to particular regions or mineral deposits.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult mineral to find. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or mineral is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 2206 views
  • 191 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each mineral once every 24 hours. The rank of each mineral is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Categories

More information on most difficult mineral to find

Mining and mineral exploration have been around for centuries, and it continues to be one of the most vital components of modern industry. However, not all minerals are created equal, and some are much harder to find than others. There are several factors that make a mineral difficult to locate, including its rarity, the depth at which it is found, and the complexity of the geological formations in which it is located. The search for these minerals often involves extensive research, advanced technology, and a great deal of patience. In this article, we will explore some of the most challenging minerals to find and the reasons why they are so elusive.

Share this article