Lustre (mineralogy)

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Lustre (or luster) is a description of the way light interacts with the surface of a crystal, rock, or mineral. For example, a diamond is said to have an adamantine lustre and pyrite is said to have a metallic lustre. The term is also used to describe other items with a particular sheen (for example, fabric, especially silk and satin, or metals).

The word lustre traces its origins back to the Latin word lux, meaning "light", and generally implies radiance, gloss, or brilliance.

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Terminology

A broad range of terms are used to describe the lustre of minerals. Lustre varies over a wide continuum, and so there are no rigid boundaries between the different terms. (For this reason, different sources can often describe the same mineral differently. This ambiguity is further complicated by the fact that lustre can vary widely within a particular mineral species.) The terms are frequently combined to describe intermediate types of lustre (for example, a "vitreous greasy" lustre).

Adamantine lustre

Adamantine minerals possess a superlative lustre, which is most notably seen in diamond.[1] Such minerals are transparent or translucent, and have a high refractive index (of 1.9 or more).[2] Minerals with a true adamantine lustre are uncommon, with examples being cerussite and zircon.[2]

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