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>> Group(s) : sulfides
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Its name comes from the Greek "sphaleros" meaning traitor, deceitful, because in its black variety it looked like galena but did not release lead during fusion ... and because of its brightness was also confused with the diamond. It is the major ore of zinc.
Sphalerite is its name since 1870, but has also kept the name of zinc blende, which had been given by the German miners. On variety it has often been called "honey sphalerite" because near Santander in Spain it has honey colors.
Its dispersion is three times stronger than that of diamond.

Exploited sites

Widely foundmineral : in France (La Mure, Isere), in England (Cumberland) in Canada, Spain (Santander region), United States (Wisconsin), Russia, Mexico, Namibia, Zaire.

See pictures of the mines / other pictures

Use in jewelry

This is a collection stone because its divisions make it too fragile. Difficult to cut because when the stone is heated it causes its cleavage.

Daily care and precautions

It is sensitive to acids, particularly to hydrochloric acid, in contact with which, hydrogen sulfide is released: with a characteristic odor of rotten eggs.

Looking alike stones

cassiterite , cerussite , chrysoberyl , scheelite , sinhalite , titanite , topaz , tourmaline , vesuvianite , zircon

Historical healing properties

It would be an anchor stone for disoriented people, feeling bad about themselves. It would have a beneficial effect on all the physical, mental, emotional, sexual disorders.

Imitations and treatments

it exists some synthetic sphalerite

Chemical characteristics

zinc sulfur

Physical characteristics

Main color : orange

Other colors : brown, colourless, yellow, black, red, green

Color of streak : yellow

Luster : adamantine, greasy

Hardness : 3.5 to 4.0

Density : 3.90 to 4.12

Cleavage : perfect

Fracture : uneven

easy cleavage in three directions

Optical properties

Transparency : transparent

the black iron-rich sphalerite may seem opaque

Refractive Index : 2.370 - 2.400

Double refraction : 0.000

None, isotropic

visible double refraction : no

Dispersion : 0.156 (0.088)

Pleochroism : absent

Number of colors : 1

Absorption spectrum : 651

Fluorescence : variable

Yellow, orange, blue, green, pink, red

Inclusions : color zones


Very shiny and well formed


Crystal system : cubic

Other informations
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