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Article: Lustre (mineralogy)

Lustre (mineralogy)

Types of Lustre

  • Lustre refers to radiance, gloss, or brilliance in minerals.
  • Terms used to describe lustre include earthy, metallic, greasy, silky, and vitreous.
  • Lustre varies on a continuum and can be combined to describe intermediate types.
  • Some minerals exhibit unusual optical phenomena such as asterism and chatoyancy.
  • Lustre can vary within a particular mineral species.

Adamantine Lustre

  • Adamantine minerals have a superlative lustre, most notably seen in diamond.
  • These minerals are transparent or translucent and have a high refractive index.
  • Examples of minerals with adamantine lustre include cerussite, zircon, and cubic zirconia.
  • Minerals with a lesser degree of lustre are referred to as subadamantine.
  • Garnet and corundum are examples of subadamantine minerals.

Dull Lustre

  • Dull or earthy minerals exhibit little to no lustre due to coarse granulations.
  • These minerals scatter light in all directions, resembling a Lambertian reflector.
  • Kaolinite is an example of a dull mineral.
  • A distinction is sometimes made between dull and earthy minerals.
  • Earthy minerals are coarser and have even less lustre.

Greasy Lustre

  • Greasy minerals resemble fat or grease and often contain microscopic inclusions.
  • Opal, cordierite, and jadeite are examples of minerals with a greasy lustre.
  • Many greasy minerals also feel greasy to the touch.
  • Greasy lustre is caused by the abundance of inclusions in the minerals.
  • The lustre of greasy minerals is similar to the texture of grease.

Metallic Lustre

  • Metallic minerals have the lustre of polished metal.
  • These minerals work as reflective surfaces and include galena, pyrite, and magnetite.
  • Metallic lustre is characterized by a high reflectivity and shine.
  • Ideal surfaces of metallic minerals exhibit a mirror-like lustre.
  • Metallic lustre is duller and less reflective than a true metal.

Lustre (mineralogy) Data Sources

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