Rocks are made from a composite of minerals; minerals come in a variety of colors, grades of luster, and textures. Often, even individual minerals come in several different chemical compositions and different colors. Check out this mineral chart to see the wide range of mineral colors:
While minerals do have huge ranges in color, by far the greatest coloring agent in rocks is iron – the chances are overwhelming that tan, orange, yellow, red, purple, green, lavender, and all shades in between result from traces of iron (and it does not take much – half a percent would be plenty to really color a rock). Only in rare circumstances, such as mineralized areas near mines, will other minerals contribute much to rock color.
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