For all my interest in crystals and minerals, I have never found a book yet that I have patience when using. It seems like their pictures are not the same as my specimens or they don't have one at all. It makes me feel that I should have one of those little eye things to identify the inner structure of the specimen.
For instance .. how do you know it is what the seller says it is ? I do research on the internet which is the best source for sooner or later you find similar specimens. The books are not comprehensive at all unless I still have not acquired a good one.
Also the heating of crystals to change their color and call them something else is fraud really when there are the real thing to be had. ie clear diamonds when heated become "canary" yellow diamonds... but ... the real thing is found in nature as well.
The growth of rubies that are so perfect they put a laser insignia inside them to stop dealers selling them as earth found rubies. They are genuine rubies because of the perfect structure but they are man made.
The more I read the more confused I am becoming.
I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND!
I went about writing my OWN book to address ALL OF these issues -and guess what - there is a big force called the PUBLISHING COMPANY that really affects the way a book is presented - I worked with my publishing company - as published authors must.. to get the most out into the wide world - but had to sacrifice technicalities - crystal strucutre, variations, geological terms were reduced to a minimum even how much space I had to write about each crystal was kept to a minimum. It costs a fortune for a publisher to print colour books - and so many people (market research - which means who will buy the book) want glossy pretty pics, I put in small - 99% accurate pictures in my book (some are hard to quantify as they in nature have MANY appearances)
I have a masters degree in geology - and thats how I normally know which rock is which crystal but even for me there are difficulties and uncertainties.
the best source is the internet - there are of course geological reference books but they do not cover 'popular' names for stones nor man-made stones/crystals.
Rutley's Elements of Mineralogy by Frank Rutley is my preferred source - no pictures.
IMHO like any other field of study there is never ONE definitive book a range of information needs to be read to learn.
I can say I tried with publishing my book and IF I get a second chance I will make it more technical, but need people of like mind to let publishers know there is a need for it.