3.4" Gemmy, Crimson Sphalerite On Quartz - China
This is a 3.4" wide example of a red sphalerite crystal cluster in association with a small clusters of metallic galena. Collected from the Shuikoushan Mine of Hunan, China, these crystals are glittering showstoppers. The red crystals of sphalerite create nice contrast with the druzy pink matrix and make for an excellent display piece.
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.