Gold is the most precious
and valuable of all native elements.
It is a very stable element, and unlike silver, copper and others
doesn't tarnish or react with other elements. It is sometimes found in
cubic crystals, but most often as nuggets in massive habit. It often
forms in hydrothermal veins and is thus associated with quartz
Silver is the second most
valuable native element. It is soft, and can
form cubic crystals but is most often found in massive or wire habit.
Like gold, it often forms in hydrothermal veins and it can be
associated with gold or even form in alloy with gold. Both silver and
gold are mostly used in jewelry (and historically, money).
element by Paul via Flickr.com
also a very
sought-after native element, being a very useful
in many industries.
It is easy to identify just by its
copper-red or pink colour when fresh, but tarnishes
to brown when exposed to the atmosphere.
It can form cubic crystals but
is most often massive or dendritic.
mineral by Richard Droker via Flickr.com
Iron is most
often found in
alloy with nickel, and even then it is a rare element to find on the
Earth's surface. There seems to be much more of it in the space because
meteorites often contain iron and nickel. It is also believed that it
is much more common in the earth's core. It is metallic and opaque,
black or grey in colour and very magnetic. It is often granular or
massive, although cubic crystals do exist.
Nickel element by
Jeff-o-matic via Flickr.com
is another element that
is rarely found on its own on the
Earth's surface. More often it can be found in alloys with iron. Like
iron, it is found in the Earth's core and in meteorites. It can
occasionally form in mafic and ultramafic rocks such as basalts.
iron and nickel-iron are strongly magnetic.
Platinum by U.S.
Geological Survey via Flickr.com
element, which is most often found in grains
or flakes, and more seldom in cubic crystals or nuggets. It does not
tarnish when in contact with the air, and it is known for its high
specific gravity. It often contains iron and other metals, and can be
associated with the iron oxide hematite. It is mainly found in mafic
and ultramafic igenous
Nijenhuis via Flickr.com
While all the above elements are metallic, sulphur, graphite and
diamond are not. Sulphur
bright yellow or yellowish brown element
that forms in hot springs and volcanic craters and can occur in many
different habits from crystals to massive, reniform and stalactitic. It
is a very abundant element not only on the Earth but in the whole
a very soft mineral
that consists entirely of the
element carbon. It is often found in greasy-feeling metamorphic rocks
such as schists
It leaves a black mark (streak) -
reason why it is used as pencil "lead". It can be found in crystals, or
massive, compact, granular or earthy habits.
by Paul Hocksenar via Flickr.com
While graphite is very soft, diamond
is a very hard mineral with exactly the same chemical composition. It
is the hardest mineral
on the Earth - the reason why its popular use is in diamond
and other jewelry, but also in drill rigs and heavy machinery. It can
be colourless or of almost any colour. It is found in one kind of
ultramafic rocks - kimberlites.