Middle Ages


Avicenne (or Ibn Sina) 980 - 1037 , Iranian scientist who revisited Aristote's work. In his book " principles of medicine ", he divided minerals into four classes: stones and gems, ores, fuels and salts. This classification will persist until the 19th century.


Leonardi of Pisa, also named Fibonacci or Camillo Leonardi, after having travelled in Arabic Barbary during the 12th century, brought back the Arabic knowledge around stones. One owes him also a book entitled " Lapidum Speculum " (1502) "cui accessit septem metallorum ac septem selectorum lapidum ad planetas" (Paris 1610, in-8. National library.) inside which are exposed the doctrines which at that time were emphazsized concerning the generation of stones.


Albert the Great or "Albertus MAGNUS" (1193 - 1280) teaches alchemistry in the whole Europe.


Ulrich von Claw, known under the name of Calb or Calbus Fribergius published in 1505 the " Bergbüchlein ", a small book "well ordered and useful: how to seek and find mines of various minerals, with their figures, according to the situation of the mountains" . Nicely written, with a great amount of mining related definitions that book was of a great help for miners of ancient times.


Theophraste Paracelse (1493 - 1541)


Biringuccio described circa 1540, the perfect shapes of the pyrite cubes.


Georg Agricola (1494 - 1555) known also as the " Saxon's Plinus ", published two major works " De Natura Fossilium " (1546), and " De Re Metallica " (1550) which are the bases of the science of the mines and of the metallurgy technologies. From the publishing of those books, mineralogy will quit the alchemical context.


Towards 1580, Bernard Palissy gave some interest to the description of the external shape of crystals.