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Take a closer look

Stop! Don't go any further! To identify a mineral, you must first look at it carefully! Many of its properties can be discovered just by careful observation.

You can also use a magnifying glass or a hand lens to see more detail in your mineral. You may see some structures that you could miss with the naked eye.

Using a magnifying glass and a hand lens

How to use a hand lens
A hand lens is an essential piece of equipment for all geologists (people who study rocks and minerals). When using a hand lens, hold the lens to your eye and move the specimen into focus. Keep the specimen in a good light.

A hand lens A light bulb

To use a hand lens properly you need to look at your mineral in good light.

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!