Mineralpedia Details for Sphalerite
Due to the mineral occasionally being mistaken for galena but generating no lead, Sphalerite was named for the Greek word sphaleros, meaning “treacherous.” This important zinc ore forms during low- to high-temperature hydrothermal settings as well as in coal, limestones, and some other sedimentary deposits. A highly common mineral, but a few localities produce fine crystals including Germany, colorless crystals from Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Romania, transparent crystals from Spain, England, Canada, the USA, Mexico, and Peru. Sphalerite is pyroelectric, generates a charge when heated. It can fluoresce under ultraviolet light, particularly specimens from Franklin, New Jersey in the USA which fluoresce orange and sometimes blue under long-wave ultraviolet light. It is also triboluminescent, meaning Sphalerite will generate light when broken.
Ref. Handbook of Mineralogy, Anthony et al (1995) and MSA at http://www.handbookofmineralogy.org/pdfs/sphalerite.pdf
- Crystal System
- Crystal Habit
- Euhedral Crystals, Granular, Colloform
- Perfect, Perfect, Perfect
- Resinous - Greasy
- brown, yellow, red, green, black
- brownish white
- Isometric - Hextetrahedral
- View Sphalerite
- View Sphalerite
SPHALERITE from Green Co., Illinois, United States
Absolutely perfectly formed modified tabular Sphalerite crystals with beveled edges in a cluster to 1.5cm set nicely on Limestone matrix with water clear Calcite rhombs.
Sphalerite from Lengenbach quarry, Binn Valley, Wallis, Switzerland
One of the better Sphalerites we have seen from Lengenbach. A deep golden yellow-brown Sphalerite crystal to 7mm embedded in sugary white Quartzite matrix with minor Pyrite.
Although the Sphalerite crystal is partial, it's redeemed by the superb luster and color and because it has a tag from the 'Naturhistorisches Museum Bern' with a corresponding catalog number 9164 glued to the bottom of the specimen.
Sphalerite from Camp Bird mine, Ouray Co., Colorado, United States
Jet black and very lustrous Sphalerite crystals to 7-8mm.
Sphalerite from Bachelor mine, Creede dist., Mineral Co., Colorado, United States
Gemmy yellow-green crystals of Sphalerite to 8mm.
Sphalerite from Balmat, St. Lawrence Co., New York, United States
Old piece with yllow-green Sphalerite crystals to 3mm.
Sphalerite from St. Joe No. 3 mine, Balmat, St. Lawrence Co., New York, United States
Greenish yellow, gemmy Sphalerite crystals to 7mm on water clear Quartz in a large 5cm pocket with Pyrite/Galena matrix.
Sphalerite from Cavnic, Maramures Co., Romania
Large 1cm plus deep yellow to green Sphalerite crystals on Quartz.
Sphalerite from Thomaston Dam RR cut, Litchfield Co., Connecticut, United States
This locality has been known for quite sometime amongst mineral collectors. The conventional wisdom was that these were Wurtzite crystals. According to Mindat, since 1962 these crystals were thought to be Wurtzite, until 1973 when Dunn said they were Sphalerite pseudos after wurtzite. Most recently, these crystals were shown by RRUFF to be polysynthetically twinned Sphalerite.
They are basically hexagonal stacked plates, much like Wurtzite crystals. Really, it's academic, but they are really nice micro crystals.