Minerals Topics


Mineral Identification (Part 2)


The term luster refers to the appearance of a fresh surface of a mineral in reflected light.  The two basic types of luster are metallic and non-metallic.

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Minerals with metallic luster look shiny like metals.  Gold, silver, and copper have metallic luster.  Other minerals have a metallic luster as well.

Metallic Luster Gold (top left), galena (top right), and copper (bottom) exhibit metallic luster.  (Photographs by Parvinder Sethi)

Minerals with non-metallic luster can be divided into groups of minerals with earthy, waxy, vitreous (glassy), adamantine (diamond-like), resinous (like resin), pearly, silky, or dull luster.

Nonmetallic Luster

These pictures show examples of different types of non-metallic luster.  Limonite (upper left) has an earthy luster.  Amber (upper right), which is not a mineral because it is organic, has a resinous luster. Quartz (lower left) has a vitreous luster. Diamond (lower right) has adamantine luster.  (Photographs by Parvinder Sethi)