The first thing to have when identifying minerals is a good field guide. With your field guide in hand, you will be able to compare the physical properties of a mineral to descriptions and pictures in your guide.
Most common minerals can be identified by inspecting or testing their physical properties. These properties are color, streak, transparency, luster, hardness, cleavage, fracture, specific gravity, and crystal form.
CAUTION! Do not test good mineral samples or anything of value such as jewelry. The damage may be permanent.