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Mineral’s color is determined by their capacity to absorb or reflect determinated wavelengths of light; this capacity depends on the chemical composition of the mineral. Every element and chemical compound has its unique atomic structure and its interaction with light determines the amount and type of wavelengths absorbed or reflected. It’s known that the presence of some elements produces a determinate color in a wide type of minerals, even in small quantities, thus, typically iron produces red and yellow colors, cooper usually produces blue and green colors, but this is not always a fact, other combinations can produce the same colors, this means that we can't try to identify a mineral based on its coloration. Iron produces a red-orange color on Limonite, but also Vanadium produces a red-orange coloration in Vanadinite and Chromium produces such coloration on Crocoite, some examples of the presence of some elements and its influence in mineral coloration are:


Manganese is the responsible of the pink coloration of Rodochrosite.

RodochrositeLuis Lyons photo

Cooper produces the blue coloration of Azurite.

AzuriteLuis Lyons photo

Vanadium makes the red coloration of Vanadinite.

VanadiniteLuis Lyons photo