1.3 Physical properties of minerals in hand specimen
Physical properties, such as colour and density, are those that can be observed without causing any change in the chemical composition of a specimen, whereas chemical properties determine how a substance behaves in a chemical reaction. Many of the physical properties of minerals can be predicted from a detailed knowledge of their crystal structures, which can be obtained by various analytical techniques. Alternatively, physical properties can be used to infer particular aspects of a mineral's internal structure.
Several physical properties of minerals can be readily observed from hand specimens, and can be used for recognising and distinguishing different minerals.