Luster

What is Luster?
Luster refers to how light is reflected from the surface of a mineral. The two main types of luster are metallic and nonmetallic.

What is Metallic Luster?
Minerals exhibiting metallic luster look like metal, such as a silvery appearance or that of a flat piece of steel.

How many types of nonmetallic luster are there?

  • Vitreous: The luster of glass
  • Resinous: The luster of resin.
  • Pearly: The luster of pearls.
  • Greasy: Looks like it is covered in a thin layer of oil.
  • Silky: The luster of silk.
  • Adamantine: A hard, brilliant luster.

Another common nonmetallic luster is called translucent luster, where you can see into the mineral, but not completely through it. A mineral that displays a transparent luster transmits light completely through it, resembling glass.

Image copyrighted - from the "Photographic Guide to Mineral Species CD" - used with permission.