Skip to content

Thumbnail specimen

A thumbnail specimen is a small mineral or rock sample that is typically about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in size. These specimens are often chosen for their miniature scale and are commonly collected and displayed by mineral enthusiasts and collectors. Despite their small size, thumbnail specimens can still showcase the aesthetic beauty, crystal structure, and characteristics of different minerals.

Heulandite and Stilbite thumbnail specimen
Heulandite and Stilbite thumbnail specimen

Thumbnail specimens are often mounted on display cards or in small clear plastic boxes called “perky boxes.” These containers allow collectors to handle and view the specimen while protecting it from damage and dust. Due to their compact size, thumbnail specimens are easy to store, transport, and trade among collectors.

Collectors appreciate thumbnail specimens for their affordability, diversity, and the opportunity they provide to assemble a comprehensive collection that represents a wide range of mineral types. While not as large as cabinet specimens, thumbnail specimens capture the essence of a mineral’s unique features in a compact form. For museums, educational institutions, and hobbyist clubs, thumbnail specimens can also serve as valuable teaching tools, enabling individuals to study and appreciate the characteristics of minerals without requiring a large amount of space.