The Vault

Gorgeous Plates from an Early-20th-Century German Encyclopedia of Minerals 

The illustrations below come from German scientist Reinhard Brauns’$2 1903 book, Das Mineralreich (The Mineral Kingdom). Google Books offers the English translation of this two-volume work, which has 73 colored plates in total.

A reviewer for the British publication Geological Magazine, reviewing the newly-available translation of the book in 1913, thought that Brauns’ tome, while pleasing to the eye, would also prove to be a good reference tool. “The plates will be of great practical value,” the anonymous editor wrote, “particularly to those workers whose opportunities do not allow them to consult actual specimens in public collections.” 

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The reviewer observed that Brauns’ method of classification was “somewhat unusual.” He divides minerals into four groups: metallic ores “and their associates,” including substances most of interest to miners (the plates below come from this class); precious stones and “all the minerals with which the jeweler is concerned”; “rock-forming silicates and related minerals”; and “mineral salts,” including fluorspars, or fluorites, which were particularly prized by early-20th-century collectors for their bright colors.  

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The plates here are from a PDF of Brauns’ book, uploaded to the blog Mineralium. I first saw the Brauns plates on the Tumblr Design Is Fine

Plate 13: Copper Ores III. (Key to names of individual minerals available via Google Books.) 

Mineralium 

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Plate 14: Copper Ores IV. (Key to names of individual minerals available via Google Books.) 

Mineralium

Plate 15: Mercury Ores. (Names of individual minerals available via Google Books.) 

Mineralium 

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Plate 16: Lead Ores I. (Key to names of individual minerals available via Google Books.) 

Mineralium. 

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Plate 17: Lead Ores II. (Key to names of individual minerals available via Google Books.) 

Mineralium 

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Plate 18: Lead Ores III. (Key to names of individual minerals available via Google Books.) 

Mineralium 

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