Skip to main content
CODE 61722
SEMESTER 1° Semester


Mineralogy provides the basic knowledge and methods of study for the determination of the chemical-physical and structural properties of minerals, for their systematic classification and for the understanding of genetic processes. Mineralogy plays an important role in the field of cultural heritage because it provides the skills to understand the mineral constituents of stone materials, pigments and the main materials of anthropic origin used in various historical periods.



The aim of this course is to provide basic knowledge on the morphological, structural, crystal-chemical and crystallophysical aspects of minerals, with particular attention to those that are of greater interest in the field of cultural heritage. The study methods and diagnostic techniques necessary for the characterization and recognition of minerals in manufactured pieces are also treated.


The attendance and participation in the planned training activities (lectures and laboratory activities) will allow the student to acquire the general knowledge of Mineralogy necessary to face studies in the field of conservation and restoration of cultural heritage.

Specifically, the student will be able to:

  • know and describe the main classes of silicate and non-silicate minerals;
  • know the chemical-physical properties of minerals and to know how to connect them to the main macroscopic and microscopic diagnostic investigations;
  • demonstrate how to connect the crystalline systems to the main elements of morphological and structural crystallography;
  • distinguish and identify the mineral constituents of stone materials, artefacts and pigments using the theoretical,  the practical and the methodological skills acquired during laboratory activities;
  • apply the acquired knowledge to specific case studies.


The following basic knowledge of inorganic chemistry is required to effectively address the teaching content: 1) atomic structure, 2) atoms, molecules and ions, 3) periodic table and the systematic arrangement of elements, 4) chemical bonds, 5 ) chemical reactions and 6) stoichiometry.


The teaching consists of ordinary lectures and theoretical-practical laboratory. Attendance at lessons and laboratory exercises is strongly recommended since learning tests, activities for the application of acquired knowledge, practical and methodological activities are planned during the semester.

Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations. At the end of each part of the program there will be tests in the classroom for self-assessment of learning.

For the first semester, the lessons will be possibly held in presence, guaranteeing however the fruition of the lessons even remotely, through video recording, synchronous or asynchronous.

The laboratory exercises are aimed at the practical application of the theoretical knowledge acquired during the lectures. At the end of each part of the exercises, an individual or group report will be compiled in the classroom using specific forms provided by the teacher. In particular:

  • individual exercises to determine the mineral formula from  mineral chemical analysis;
  • group exercises for the macroscopic recognition of minerals using samples from the DISTAV's mineral collection;
  • individual exercises by means of transmitted polarizing light microscopy for the recognition of minerals on the basis of their optical properties using thin sections of the DISTAV's didactic collection;
  • group exercises by means of scanning electron microscope for the determination of the chemical composition of minerals.

The laboratory exercises will take place in classrooms equipped with microscopes and specific lighting and in the DISTAV's electron microscopy laboratory. The laboratory activities will be possibly held in presence, eventually with multiple shifts.

All activities will be carried out in compliance with the capacity limits of the classrooms / laboratories and the social distancing rules provided by current legislation due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic emergency. Please refer to the specific AulaWeb page for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.


The course program includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

  •      Elements of morphological and structural crystallography: overview of translation lattices and crystal elementary cells, laws of crystallography, elements of symmetry, crystalline systems;
  •      Elements of crystal chemistry (chemical bonds in crystalline structures, isomorphism, polymorphism) and systematic classification of silicate and non-silicate minerals with particular attention to the most important in the field of cultural heritage.
  •      Scalar and vector physical properties of crystals, with insights into the optical behavior of minerals in natural and polarized light.
  •      Processes of genesis of minerals and stability fields with particular reference to the interaction with atmospheric agents
  •      Methods of investigation for the recognition and classification of minerals


All slides  and other teaching materials used during lessons will be available on AulaWeb at the end of each cycle of lessons / laboratory exercises.

The book below is suggested as a supporting text, but students can still use other university level texts. The recommended text is available and can be consulted at the M.F.N. School of Science Library.

C. Klein (2004): Mineralogy (First Italian edition conducted on the twenty-second American edition) - Zanichelli Editore (Bologna), ISBN: 9788808076892, 632 pp.


Exam Board



CRISTINA CARBONE (President Substitute)

LAURA GAGGERO (Substitute)



Classes will start from September 28th 2020 and will end by January 22th 2021.

Please, consult detailed timetable at the following link:




The exam consists of a written and an oral part.

The written exam is related to the topics and practical activities carried out during the laboratory exercises and includes open questions, to comment analytical reports, and multiple choice tests. The exam is passed if the student has obtained a grade greater than or equal to 18.

The oral examination consists of the presentation of a topic chosen by the student and the answer to questions asked by the teacher on topics covered during the course.

The final grade is given by the arithmetic mean between the written test and the oral exam. The oral exam can be sustained both in the same appeal as the written test and in subsequent appeals published on the UNIGE website. Three calls will be available in the winter session (January-February) and 3 calls in the summer session (June, July, September).

Please refer to the specific AulaWeb page for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.


Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided during the lessons.

The written exam will verify the effective acquisition of the knowledge of the methods of investigation and application of diagnostic techniques for the study and determination of the mineralogical composition of artifacts. Open questions will allow to evaluate the ability to apply knowledge in practical situations. The student must be able to link and integrate the knowledge learned during the laboratory activities with those provided during the lectures. Multiple choice tests will allow to assess the degree of acquired knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge to specific case studies.

The oral exam will focus mainly on the topics covered during the lectures and will have the purpose to evaluate not only if the student has reached an adequate level of knowledge, but also if he has acquired the ability to recall the theoretical notions by applying them to simple contexts. The ability to expose the arguments clearly and with correct terminology will also be evaluated.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
19/01/2023 09:30 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
19/01/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
02/02/2023 09:30 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
02/02/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
15/02/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
15/02/2023 09:30 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
29/06/2023 09:30 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
29/06/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
13/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
13/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
27/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
27/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale


Constant and regular attendance at lectures and related laboratory exercises is strongly recommended.