MINERALS

Crystal Shape

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Crystal shape can be helpful in identification. Most minerals have a crystalline structure and can form perfect crystals if allowed to grow in an unrestricted space. Crystal faces resemble cleavage faces because they are flat and reflect light as a single plane, but they are different from cleavage surfaces because crystals have complex geometric shapes. Perfect crystals are rare and are seldom encountered.

Below the crystal shapes of three minerals:

 

Specimen
Characteristics

Chromite

 

Black crystals

Vanadinite

 

Red crystals

Quartz

 

Clear crystals

 

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©Guillermo Rocha/Brooklyn College