Different Properties of Minerals


The luster of a mineral is basically the way a mineral reflects light. During a lab, this can be identified just by shining a light on the mineral. There are many different kinds of luster such as Metallic, waxy, silky, greasy, vitreous (glassy), pearly, and dull. (example pictures are metallic, waxy, silky, and greasy)

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Another property is hardness. This property is observed by how easily a mineral is scratched by another mineral. Also, the Mohs scale of mineral hardness can help you when identifying the hardness of a mineral. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a scale that is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly. The hardness value is written down as numbers. (Chart below)


The streak of a mineral is the color of the powder left when you scrape a mineral across a porcelain tile. This property is not always testable for all minerals because some minerals are too hard and will not leave a trail. The streak colors can vary depending on the type of mineral.


The density is the heaviness of a mineral relative to its size. This basically means that the mineral can be extremely heavy even if it was extremely small in size. Density is important because it is a property that can help you identify a substance. Also, the density of a pure substance stays the same regardless of the size of the sample.


The cleavage of a mineral is the pattern some minerals make when it is broken. Some examples of cleavages can be basal cleaveage, cubic cleavage, and rhombic cleavage.

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Fracture is when a rock breaks without a specific pattern. Some examples of fracture is uneven and conchoidal. Conchoidal fracture is when the rock's surface is characterized as smooth and curved.

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How minerals are used