Video:What Are Mineral Lusters?with John Swanson
Mineral lusters describe how minerals reflect light. Some minerals are dull, whereas others are much more brilliant. Learn about the eight terms that describe mineral lusters in this educational geology video.See Transcript
Transcript:What Are Mineral Lusters?
Hi I’m Geologist John Swanson for About.com and today I am going to talk about mineral luster. Luster describes how a mineral appears to reflect light, and how brilliant or dull the mineral is.
Eight Descriptions of Mineral Lusters
•Metallic (also known as splendent) Example: Gold
•Submetallic. Example: Hermatite
•Vitreous (also known as glassy) Example: Quartz
•Adamantine (also known as brilliant or diamondlike) Example: Diamonds
•Resinous (also known as resinlike) Example: Amber
•Pearly (also known as mother-of-pearl) Example: Talc
•Waxy (also known as waxlike) Example: Veriscite
•Dull (also known as earthy) Exmple: Chrysocolla
Descriptions for Mineral Lusters Can Vary
Though broken down into clear sections, not all types of mineral luster are equally well defined. Some definitions are more malleable and up to interpretation than others. It is important to mention luster should not be confused with color. Just because a mineral might, let’s say, have a brilliant yellow color, does not make it metallic, like gold. One geologist might identify, based upon the specimen they’re studying and the environment they’re in, one mineral luster differently than someone else looking at a different specimen in another environment. But generally, most minerals have agreed upon luster definitions.
But correctly identifying a mineral’s luster is the first critical step in keying out a mineral. Make sure to carefully identify the luster of the mineral you’re studying before moving onto other classifications.
Hopefully now you better understand the luster and reflective properties of minerals. Thanks for watching. If you’d like to learn more, please find us on the web at About.com.