The Dynamic Earth View Multimedia Version

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TITLE: Color

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Since the dawn of civilization, people have treasured minerals for their dazzling colors and varied hues. Different kinds of atoms—some trapped as impurities in a crystal's atomic structure—interact with light to tint minerals a virtual rainbow of colors. These intruders can cause the same mineral to come in strikingly different colors.

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits