Home > Mexico I – December 15 > MS1693 Smithsonite


Smithsonite is zinc carbonate, and a member of the calcite group. François Sulpice Beudant (1787-1850) dubbed this mineral smithsonite in his seminal 1832 Traité Élémentaire de Minéralogie. The mineral name honors James Smithson (1765?-1829), an Englishman who never visited the United States, but nevertheless founded the Smithsonian Institution with a gift of his mineral collection and cash. Smithsonite is characteristic of zinc bearing deposits, itself typically botryoidal and occasionally confused with similarly appearing hemimorphite.

Rice grain smithsonite crystals to 8 mm perch on the edge of a limonite matrix. The smithsonite is light green, presumably indicating copper in substitution for zinc in its crystal structure.

Price: $75

Item code: MS1693

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