Smithsonite

Big Photo

Australia
33.16 carats
© gemselect.com

Smithsonite was named in 1832 in honor of English chemist and mineralogist, James Smithson, who first identified the mineral in 1802.

It usually occurs as earthy botryoidal masses. Grape-like clusters have pearly luster and are often slightly banded. Well-formed crystals are rare.

Bonamite is a trade name for cabochon-cut massive pieces of Smithsonite.

Smithsonite Gemstones by Colour

This table shows the variety of hues this gemstone can be found in. Click on a photo for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Smithsonite Gemstones by Size

This table shows distribution of Smithsonite gemstone sizes that are listed on this site. This can give a good indication as to the general availability of this gemstone in different sizes.
Contributed photos
Lightest:0.14 cts
Heaviest:50.69 cts
Average:8.69 cts
Total photos:47
Do you have a larger Smithsonite? Why not upload a photo?
0.14ct to 5.20ct5.20ct to 10.25ct10.25ct to 15.31ct15.31ct to 20.36ct20.36ct to 25.42ct25.42ct to 30.47ct30.47ct to 35.53ct35.53ct to 40.58ct40.58ct to 45.64ct45.64ct to 50.69ct
General Information
Other Names/Trade Names:
Chemical Formula
ZnCO
 
3
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Physical Properties of Smithsonite
Mohs Hardness5 to 5.5
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Specific Gravity4.00 to 4.65
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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TenacityBrittle
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Cleavage QualityPerfect
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
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FractureUneven
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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Optical Properties of Smithsonite
Refractive Index1.620 to 1.850
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) BlinkingMore from other references
Optical CharacterUniaxial/-
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Birefringence0.228
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) DoublingMore from other references
PleochroismAbsent
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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Dispersion0.014 to 0.031
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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Colour
Colour (General)White, yellowish, brown, green, gray, pink, bluish, orange-yellow
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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Causes of ColourBlue-green, Cu2+. Pink, Co2+
W. William Hanneman, Pragmatic Spectroscopy For Gemologists (2011)
TransparencyTranslucent,Opaque
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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LustreVitreous,Pearly
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Fluorescence & other light emissions
Fluorescence (General)Blue-white, pink, brown
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Crystallography of Smithsonite
Crystal SystemTrigonal
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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HabitBotryoidal, rhombohedral
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
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Geological Environment
Where found:Smithsonite occurs as a secondary mineral in the oxidized zone of zinc-bearing deposits.
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Further Information
Mineral information:Smithsonite information at mindat.org
Significant Gem Localities
Namibia
 
  • Oshikoto Region
    • Tsumeb
Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II: 205, 251, 919.
USA
 
  • New Mexico
    • Socorro Co.
      • Magdalena District
        • Magdalena
Gems, Sixth Edition, Michael O’Donoghue, 2006, p. 452
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