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Updated: Jun 11

At, we have two categories that can be a bit confusing—Specimens and Rough Rock. Both categories are closely related, and although we may put an item in both categories now and then, they are not the same thing. In this blog, we'll do our best to explain the differences between the two and answer the questions:

Q. Why are Specimens and Rough Rock in different categories? Aren't they both kind of rough?

A. While they are both unpolished minerals, there are definite differences. The terms "specimens" and "rough rock" refer to different forms and qualities of mineral and rock materials, often used by collectors, geologists, and hobbyists. Here's a detailed comparison:


Definition: Specimens are individual mineral crystals or clusters of crystals that have formed naturally with distinct and recognizable shapes and structures.


  • Formation: Crystals have a structured atomic arrangement, resulting in symmetrical shapes and flat faces.

  • Appearance: Often have well-defined edges and faces. They can be transparent, translucent, or opaque and may have vibrant colors or a glassy luster.

  • Value: Typically more valuable due to their beauty, rarity, and the quality of crystal formation. Collectors often seek them for their aesthetic and scientific properties.

  • Use: Used in jewelry, collections, and decorative pieces. Sometimes used in scientific studies to understand mineral properties.

  • Examples: Quartz crystals, Amethyst clusters, Calcite crystals, and Pyrite cubes.


Definition: Rough rock refers to unprocessed pieces of rock that contain one or more minerals. These pieces have not been shaped or polished.


  • Formation: Can consist of multiple minerals and does not have the organized internal structure of a single crystal.

  • Appearance: Typically lack the defined shape and smooth faces of crystals. They often appear as irregular chunks or fragments. The surface is usually rough and may contain embedded crystals or veins of different minerals.

  • Value: Generally less valuable compared to crystal specimens, but certain types of rough rock can be prized if they contain high-quality mineral deposits or are rare.

  • Use: Often used for cutting and polishing into gemstones, for educational purposes in geology, and in landscaping or construction. They can also be collected for their raw beauty and mineral content.

  • Examples: A chunk of granite, a piece of rough opal, unprocessed gold ore, and unpolished agate.




Rough Rock


Well-defined, symmetrical crystals

Irregular, can contain multiple minerals


Clear shapes, often with smooth faces

Rough, jagged, unprocessed


Often higher, especially if rare or large

Variable, often lower


Collections, jewelry, scientific study

Gem cutting, educational, landscaping


Understanding the differences between specimens and rough rock helps in appreciating their unique qualities and appropriate uses in various fields.


Q. Can Specimens be made up of more than one type of mineral?

A. Yes, specimens can be composed of more than one type. These are often referred to as "mineral associations" or "composite specimens." In such specimens, different minerals can crystallize together, often creating visually striking and scientifically interesting formations.

Examples of Multi-Mineral Specimens

  • Amethyst and Calcite: Amethyst (a purple variety of Quartz) can often be found with Calcite crystals growing on it.

Amethyst and Calcite

  • Barite and Skutterudite: Barite, a mineral composed of barium sulfate, occasionally forms alongside Skutterudite, a cobalt arsenide mineral.

Barite and Skutterudite

  • Pink Tourmaline and White Quartz: Pink Tourmaline and White Quartz exemplifies a stunning multi-mineral combination.

Pink Tourmaline and White Quartz

Formation Conditions

For different minerals to crystallize together (whether specimens or rough rock), specific conditions must be met:

  • Compatible Chemistry: The minerals must form from similar or compatible chemical environments.

  • Simultaneous or Sequential Crystallization: Minerals can crystallize simultaneously from the same solution, or one mineral can crystallize first, providing a substrate for the second mineral.

  • Geological Setting: The geological environment, such as hydrothermal veins, pegmatites, or sedimentary layers, plays a crucial role in determining which minerals can coexist.

Overall, multi-mineral crystal specimens showcase the complexity and diversity of mineral formation processes and are highly valued in both scientific and collector communities.


See the differences for yourself on our website: Specimens | jujujems and Rough Rock | jujujems!




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