The unpolarized optical absorption spectra of the sheet silicate minerals muscovite, lepidolite, and fuchsite have been examined. The spectra, interpreted on the basis of ligand field theory, indicate that all three minerals contain Fe3+ and possibly Ti3+ in octahedral sites. In addition, muscovite is shown to contain octahedrally coordinated Fe2+, lepidolite octahedral Fe2+ and Mn2+, and fuchsite octahedral Cr3+. No evidence was found for transition metals in tetrahedral sites.Some comments are made on the similarity of the spectra of certain of the transition metal ions in several classes of minerals. This leads to the speculation that the cations Fe3+, Mn2+, and Cr3+ may tend to 'mold' their immediate surroundings.

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