Smithsonite Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™

Smithsonite

Smithsonite is named for James Smithson, the English founder of the Smithsonian Institution who first identified the mineral. Although it rarely forms crystals, smithsonite is most commonly found as botryoidal or stalactitic masses or as honeycombed aggregates. A member of the calcite group of minerals, smithsonite is prized for its variety of crystal forms. Smithsonite comes in a wide variety of colors depending on the impurities present. The presence of copper gives smithsonite its green to blue coloring. Trace amounts of cobalt are responsible for pink to purple hues while cadmium makes smithsonite yellow, and iron gives it a brown to reddish-brown color.

Colors

Green, Blue, Yellow, Brown, Pink, White To Colorless

  • Smithsonite classification

    CommonName
    Smithsonite
    Species
    Smithsonite
    Variety
    Colors
    Green, Blue, Yellow, Brown, Pink, White To Colorless
    AlternateNames
    Bonamite
    GemstoneGroups
    KeySeparations
    High birefringence high SG
    ClassificationComments
    Bonamite is the bluish green variety of smithsonite.
  • Smithsonite chemistry & crystallography

    ChemicalName
    zinc cabonate
    ChemicalFormula
    ZnCO3
    Synthesis
    CrystalSystem
    Trigonal
    ChemistryClassification
    Carbonate
    Nature
    Natural
    Crystallinity
    Crystalline
    ChemistryComments
  • Smithsonite optical properties

    Transparency
    Transparent - Semitranslucent
    Dispersion
    Strength: strong fire Value: 0.037
    OpticalComments
    RefractiveIndex
    Over the Limit 1.621-1.849
    Birefringence
    0.225-0.228
    OpticCharacter
    Uniaxial
    OpticSign
    Negative
    PolariscopeReaction
    Doubly Refractive (DR)
    Fluorescence
    SWUV: inert to strong green or red
    LWUV: inert to strong white to yellowish white
    CCFReaction
    Pleochroism
    Unobservable
  • Smithsonite characteristic physical properties

    Hardness
    4-5
    CharacteristicComments
    Streak
    White
    SpecificGravity
    4-4.65 Typical:4.3
    Toughness
    Poor
    Inclusions
    Luster
    Vitreous
    Stability
    Fracture
    Uneven, Splintery
    Cleavage
    Perfect, in three directions