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Mineral Properties and Uses

Article by: , Ph.D., RPG


Rutile from Oaxaca, Mexico. Specimen is approximately 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) across.

What is Rutile?

Rutile is a titanium oxide mineral that is most commonly found in granites, pegmatites, and metamorphic rocks. It is also found in sands derived from the weathering of these rocks. Rutile also forms as slender crystals within quartz and micas. It is a common mineral in the alluvial sands that are dredged for magnetite and ilmenite.

Physical Properties of Rutile

Chemical Classification Oxide
Color Red, reddish brown, reddish black
Streak Pale brown
Luster Adamantine to submetallic
Diaphaneity Transparent to subtranslucent
Cleavage Good
Mohs Hardness 6 to 6.5
Specific Gravity 4.2 to 4.4
Diagnostic Properties Luster, color
Chemical Composition Titanium oxide, TiO2
Crystal System Tetragonal
Uses An ore of titanium, pigments, inert coating on welding rods

Uses of Rutile

Rutile is used as a coating on welding rods. It is also used as an ore of titanium, a metal used where light weight and high strength are needed. Some rutile is used in the production of pigments for paints.

Rutilated quartz cabochons

Cabochons of rutilated quartz - an example of how long thin crystals of rutile can form in quartz. Each gem is approximately 12 millimeters by 10 millimeters.

Rutile ilmenite zircon sand

Sand made of rutile ilmenite zircon from Georgia. Specimens are sand-size particles.


Ilmenorutile, a variety of rutile from Iveland, Norway. Specimen is approximately 2 inches (5 centimeters) across.

Mineral collection

The best way to learn about minerals is to study with a collection of small specimens that you can handle, examine, and observe their properties. Inexpensive mineral collections are available in the Geology.com Store.

Rutile nigrine

Nigrine, a variety of rutile from Magnet Cove, Arkansas. Specimens are approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch (1.3 centimeters to 2.5 centimeters) across.

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