Professor Andrés Manuel del Río (1764–1849) taught mineralogy from 1795 to 1846 in the School of Mines of Mexico City. This institution was the first mining engineering school of the New World and it followed closely the educational model of the Freiberg Mining Academy, established in 1765 in Saxony. The geological sciences, in particular, were taught at the School of Mines using Abraham Gottlob Werner’s (1749–1815) teaching method. This article analyzes the first ten years of Del Río’s work by studying the three branches of mineralogy that he taught: orictognosy, geognosy, and the ‘art of mining’. This analysis is based on the textbooks he wrote as well as other primary historical documents, many associated with students, that record the discoveries made by him from 1795 to 1805. This interval is considered to be the first golden period of his academic career during which he wrote textbooks and discovered vanadium.