Find it at Geevor:

View map of the site

Related to:

Mineral Identification


Other metals in Cornwall


Link to Workshops:

Click here


No downloads

Identifying metals

streak test for identifying metals

During the 19th century it was discovered that by placing metal compounds into a flame each metal produced its own characteristic colour.

Passing the light from the flame through a series of prisms (called a spectroscope) would cause the light to split into individual wavelengths producing a pattern of coloured lines or ‘spectra’. These could be used to identify the metal.

The Streak Test

The colour of a mineral is not always the same as the colour of the mineral when it has been powdered, especially in the case of metals. An easy way to look at powdered minerals is to draw them across unglazed porcelain. The mark left is called the ‘streak’ and its colour may be used to help identify minerals. For example, Cassiterite looks black, but it’s streak is white.

Today, sophisticated analysis is used to identify metals.


Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Geevor Archive

  • View Comments
  • Leave a Comment

Comment left by payday loans on 2010-02-14 00:30:20

I am to a great extent impressed with the article I have just read. I wish the writer of can continue to provide so much practical information and unforgettable experience to readers. There is not much to state except the following universal truth: When you need it, you can't find it or its not available. I will be back.

Name: (as you would like it to appear on the website)

Email: (this will not be displayed on the website)