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How to Identify Minerals: 10 Steps to Mineral Identification

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Step 2: Luster
Look closely

Many minerals have distinctive lusters—get to know them.

Photo (c) 2011 Andrew Alden, licensed to About.com (fair use policy)
Luster is the way a mineral reflects light and the first key step in mineral identification. Look for luster on a fresh surface. The three major types of luster are metallic, glassy (vitreous) and dull. A luster between metallic and glassy is called adamantine, and a luster between glassy and dull is called resinous or waxy. See the gallery of mineral lusters for some examples and further explanation.

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