WHAT ARE THE MISCELLANEOUS VISUAL PROPERTIES?

"Miscellaneous! Hmmmnnn!! A little vague, Lulu! What are you talking about?!"
"Sometimes it pays to be vague! Actually, what I'm talking about is a whole collection of properties that minerals can have that can be useful in describing and identifying them! Properties that you can see when you look at them!"
"You mean visual properties OTHER THAN color and shape that you discuss separately?!!"
"You got it!"
"Tell me about them!"
"They're really quite simple! But often very helpful! For example, Luster! That describes how a mineral looks when a light shines on it! For example, it may look metallic, or glassy, or silky!"
"What else?!"
"Well, Passage of Light! Whether it is opaque, transparent or translucent!"
"I'm not sure I know exactly what all those terms mean!!!"
"Not to worry! When you look at the 'Miscellaneous Visual Properties Testing Lab', you'll see that all the terms are defined for you!"
"What other properties are there?!"
"Well, there's Layering! Some minerals show bands or layers, others are quite uniform throughout!"
"That sounds simple!"
"And then there's Crystal Groups and Single Crystals! 'Crystal Groups' describes the way in which crystals may be clustered together and the overall shapes of crystal groups! 'Single Crystals' describes the general appearance of individual crystals: whether they're long and skinny, or tabular, or have parallel lines on their surfaces, and so on!"
"That's cool!"
"And last but not least there's Other! A whole mess of different properties that you can see: minerals that look like fish eggs, others that look like plants, minerals that line little caves..."
"Sounds spectacular!!"
"They're beautiful! Gorgeous! Bring them on!"

© 2010, David Leveson/Revised by G. Rocha and Michelle O'Dea