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Named for the Latin cerussa, meaning "white lead," cerussite is a lead carbonate mineral. Its crystals form in several different habits when carbonated water interacts with other lead minerals. Prized by mineral collectors for its twinned crystal formation, cerussite is usually transparent to translucent with no color to white, gray, brownish or greenish. Although too soft for jewelry, cerussite is occasionally faceted for collectors; however, it presents challenges to lapidaries due to its soft, brittle nature.

Cerussite Polished
Cerussite Classification
Common Name Cerussite
Species Cerussite
Cerussite Optical Properties
Transparency Transparent - Opaque
Dispersion Strength: Strong Fire Value: 0.055
Refractive Index Over The Limit 1.804-2.079
Birefringence 0.274
Optic Character Biaxial
Optic Sign Negative
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert to pale blue or green
LWUV: Inert to bright orange but can be yellow, pink, green and bluish
Pleochroism None
Cerussite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 3-3.5
Streak White
Specific Gravity 6.460-6.570
Toughness Poor
Luster Adamantine
Stability Poor
Fracture Conchoidal, Uneven
Cleavage Good, in two directions, Poor, in two directions
Cerussite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name lead carbonate
Chemical Formula PbCO3
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Chemistry Classification Carbonate

Cerussite Colors

  • Black Cerussite Black
  • White Cerussite White
  • Gray Cerussite Gray
  • Colorless Cerussite Colorless
  • Brown Cerussite Brown
  • Yellow Cerussite Yellow
  • Blue Cerussite Blue
  • Green Cerussite Green
  • Red Cerussite Red

Alternate Names

White Lead Ore

Countries of Origin

United States of America (the); Namibia; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.