2.9" Sphalerite, Calcite and Galena - Pine Point Mine, Canada
This specimen contains galena, calcite and sphalerite crystals, and was collected from the Pine Point Mine in Canada. The sphalerite formed as both a druze, and small individual crystals, depending on location on the specimen. Galena and calcite can be found coating, and partially encrusted by the sphalerite.
Sphalerite is a part of the sulfides group and typically exhibits a grey/black appearance due to high concentrations of impurities. When sphalerite is in it's purest state, the chemical composition is ZnS, and can display a gemmy transparent light tan/yellow color. This is one of the few minerals that can form crystals ranging anywhere between gemmy and transparent to opaque and metallic-like. Opaque or cloudy sphalerite tends to be most abundant, due to the ease of iron replacing zinc in the process of formation.
Galena is a lead based mineral that is in fact the primary ore of lead, and has been used for its lead content for thousands of years. Galena typically displays a gray metallic luster and forms cubes or octahedral crystals. The chemical composition of galena is PbS.