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Mineral colour

The colour wheel Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple Red, blue, green, pink, purple, orange ...

Minerals can be very colourful! Sometimes we can use colour to identify a mineral.

Click on each colour in the colour wheel to see a lot of different coloured minerals .

Some minerals are always the same colour. Malachite and azurite are both copper minerals. Malachite is always green and azurite is always blue - in fact, the word 'azurite' comes from an old Persian word 'lazhward', meaning blue.

Malachite is green Malachite and lazurite Lazurite is blue
Malachite and azurite can be found together, but malachite is always green, azurite blue.

But many minerals are not always the same colour. Fluorite for instance can be lots of different colours. The different colours are caused by the slight imperfections or impurities a mineral may contain. To identify many minerals you must look at more than just their colour. In the pictures below you can see that fluorite can come in many different colours.

Malachite is green Malachite and lazurite Lazurite is blue

So remember, while colour is an important property of a mineral, it can be misleading - never rely on colour to identify your mineral!

Ernest the mineral detective To find out about minerals you should Take a closer look, and then find out about some of their properties...

Colour Light
Lustre Streak
Crystal shape Hardness
Cleavage and fracture Heaviness
Other tests What we have learnt

Return to the Detectives homepage, or finish by playing Mineral mastermind!