It just occurred to me...I have been blogging about mineralogy, and studying it while I ago, and I didn't have a workable cohesive definition of mineralogy in my head, beyond the obviouis which is the study of minerals. SO I decided to Google it, and to access the wikipedia.
To make a long story short, mineralogy has been a field of study since the time of the ancient Greeks, Aristotle on through Pliny the Elder, and at the same time, in another part of the world, the Chinese from the time of the Han dynasty and before that, were studying minerals and coming to the same conclusions as the philosophers of the ancient Babylonian and Greco-Roman civilizations, albeit with a Taoist view.
Early considerations of mineralogy included speculations on their metaphysical properties (sound familiar?). The father of modern mineralogy was the German Agricola The invention of the microscope pushed the science forward a great deal.
In modern times there are several branches of mineralogy: physical, chemical, optical, crystal structure, bio, formation habit, use of minerals, and descriptive, the category into which I feel the book I am reading falls.