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MINERAL MATTERSMINERAL MATTERS
HOW TO IDENTIFY MINERALS

Introduction
Color
Streak
Transparency
Luster
Hardness
Cleavage
Fracture
Specific Gravity
Crystal Form

Mineral Matters
Regional Minerals

Luster

Luster is the way the surface of a mineral reflects light. Luster should be observed on a cut or freshly broken, untarnished surface. There are two general types of luster -- metallic and non-metallic. The terms used to describe luster are:

  • Metallic -- example: gold
  • Vitreous (glassy) -- example: quartz, tourmaline
  • Adamantine (brilliant) -- example: diamond
  • Resinous (like resin or sap from a tree) -- example: sphalerite
  • Greasy or waxy -- example: turquoise
  • Pearly -- example: talc
  • Silky -- example: asbestos
  • Dull or earthy -- example: bauxite

Tourmanline has a vitreous (glassy) luster.


Mineral Matters | Kids' Habitat

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