For my birthday I got an awesome mineral specimen case, as pictured below. What piqued my interest was the notations in the lid where the minerals are described with 5 specifications: C (obviously for Colour) then S, H/SG (I'm guessing specific gravity), L and CL.

Can anyone shed any light on what these abbreviations mean? Additionally, do the coloured squares mean anything or are they just for identification (they match colours painted on some of the samples).

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    $\begingroup$ You will probably get a much better answer over on Earth Science Stack Exchange. That is a sweet present. Makes me want to get one. $\endgroup$ – Curt F. Aug 13 '15 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ My guesses are S for "sheen," H for "hardness," L for "luster," and CL for "cleavage," but I think @CurtF. is right in that this should be on Earth Science. $\endgroup$ – chipbuster Aug 13 '15 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ Definitely a question for Earth Science SE. $\endgroup$ – Gimelist Aug 13 '15 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't realise there was an Earth Sciences Stack Exchange, I guess there's an S.E. for pretty much everything now. And yes. Best. Birthday. Ever. $\endgroup$ – stib Aug 14 '15 at 5:31

In addition to being a non-practicing chemist, I'm also a non-practicing geologist, so look no further for an answer you can trust.

Your minerals are classified as follows: C is for color (sample, gross), S is for streak (color of powdered mineral, essentially, on an unfinished streak plate), H is hardness on the Mohs scale, SG is specific gravity, L is luster, and CL is cleavage (how the sample breaks along planes dictated by the crystal habit of the mineral). See this reference for a printable chart.

The color-coding is certainly used to mark the samples in case they get jostled or mixed up and need to be matched to their appropriate slots: those codes are not related to the mineral classification.


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