saf-ahyuh r

Named from Arabic and Persian words for "dragon's blood," cinnabar comes in a remarkable brick-red color and has been used as a pigment in China as far back as prehistoric times. Gem crystals are rare collector's pieces, but opaque material is often cut into cabochons. Natural cinnabar is a major mercury ore and not used in jewelry making, but a resin product that closely resembles it is used in jewelry and called cinnabar. The red color is so fresh and vibrant that, in China, many call it "China Red."

Cinnabar Polished
Cinnabar Classification
Common Name Cinnabar
Species Cinnabar
Cinnabar Optical Properties
Transparency Translucent - Opaque
Refractive Index 1.460-1.700
Optic Character NA
Optic Sign NA
Polariscope Reaction Singly Refractive (SR) With ADR
Pleochroism None
Cinnabar Characteristic Physical Properties
Inclusions Items will show mold marks, bubbles or flow lines.
Luster Dull
Cleavage None
Cinnabar Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name lacquer and carbonate material
Crystal System NA

Cinnabar Colors

  • Red Cinnabar Red

Countries of Origin


Sisk Gemology Reference

Showcasing 200 gemstones in over 1,000 pages and accompanied by more than 2,000 photos, The Sisk Gemology Reference is a must-have in every collector’s library. Each comprehensive, three-volume set features state-of-the-art photography, detailed illustrations, and scientifically precise descriptions to create an entrancing experience for gemstone amateurs and afficionados alike.

Shop Now

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.