Mineralogy Database

Color in Minerals

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Color in Minerals


The recognition of colors in minerals goes back to our pre-historic ancestors who used charcoal and iron oxides to color cave paintings which still retain their original intensity.

Idiochromatic minerals are "self colored" due to their composition. The color is a constant and predictable component of the mineral. Examples are blue Azurite, red Cinnabar, and green Malachite.

Allochromatic minerals are "other colored" due to trace impurities in their composition or defects in their structure. In this case, the color is a variable and unpredictable property of the mineral. Examples are the blue in Amazonite (orthoclase), yellow in Heliodor (spodumene) and the rose in rose quartz.

Pseudochromatic minerals are "false colored" due to tricks in light diffraction. In these cases, color is variable but a unique property of the mineral. Examples are the colors produced by precious opal and the shiller reflections of labradorite.

Table of mineral colors linked to mineral lists.


Mineral Colors in the Mineralogy Database


Black Minerals Sorted By Color


Blue Minerals Sorted By Color


Brown Minerals Sorted By Color


Gray Minerals Sorted By Color


Green Minerals Sorted By Color


Orange Minerals Sorted By Color


Pink Minerals Sorted By Color


RED Minerals Sorted By Color


White Minerals Sorted By Color


Yellow Minerals Sorted By Color

Other References to Mineral Color

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Example: "color-red*" finds all minerals with the primary color of red or reddish.
Example: color red green blue finds all minerals with those colors.
Example: color "reddish brown" finds all minerals that are reddish brown.

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