Zincite

Write By: tmmadmin Published In: Mineral Species Created Date: 2015-07-28 Hits: 6058 Comment: 0


3.1" 39g Rich Cherry Red & Crayon Orange Gem Zincite Crystal Group Poland for sale

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Zincite is not precisely a natural mineral because it came from the Tarnowskie Góry smelter in Upper Silesia, Poland. A finite, limited number of crystals of this extraordinarily beautiful mineral developed when a furnace wall at the smelter fractured in a singular event in the late 70's. As reported by the smelter superintendant, the zincite was formed in a one-time event when a smelter chimney sprang a leak, allowing an excess of oxygen to mix with the fumes inside the smelter. The oxygen that came in through the crack combined with the zinc to form zinc oxide (zincite). Zincite was then deposited in air vents, from which it was later collected. This material proved to be a success on the mineral market, and so lower quality zincite was later collected from chimneys and flues of similar refineries in Olkusz and several other areas.


3.8" 386ct Luminous Red Gem Zincite Lustrous Terminated Crystal Poland for sale

HISTORY
Some people have described the event as a "mine fire," but this is not accurate. The claim that the zincite is lab grown is also untrue. Zincite from Franklin, NJ has the same chemical makeup as Zincite from Poland - ZnO.


2.7" Rich Red-Orange-Green Zincite Lustrous Very Sharp Crystal Poland

The nearby town of Tarnowskie Góry is not exactly new to mining and smelting. Silver ore and galena mining had commenced there by 1526, when the community was designated an independent mining town. In 1788, the first steam engine installed in the mine, to pump out water.


2.4" 31g Gem Red-Orange-Yellow Zincite Crystal - Poland

In the 1990s, Poland imposed environmental regulations on the zinc smelters, which were heavy polluters of heavy metals, including lead and zinc. Amongst other measures, the government mandated that smelters discontinue use of smelters with the old, faulty design, and start using a new design which eliminated the cause of the crystallization. In the early 1980s, two dealers bought all the zincite that was produced, which amounted to several tons. This sold very quickly, so the dealers tried to build a smelter that would duplicate the original conditions, but this attempt was unsuccessful.


4.1" Brilliant Orange-Red Zincite Spiky Lustrous Gem Crystals - Poland

My personal observation is that good zincite is not nearly as readily available today as it was in the past. Ten years ago large clusters of zincite were readily available at the Tucson show but in the past few years I have only seen small miniatures and individual crystals but no large clusters. And even with those, the quality is going downhill as the stock gets picked over again and again. In 2015 at Tucson, my zincite supplier (one of the men who bought up all the zincite in the '80s) let me go through a stack of boxes which he said were the last of his once-large stash.


3.1" 39g Rich Cherry Red-Crayon Orange-Butter Yellow Gem Zincite Crystal Group - Poland for sale

MORE ABOUT ZINCITE
Polish zincite crystals are arguably the most brilliant, most colorful, gemmiest and most beautiful crystals you'll ever see. Zincite is said to have the highest refractive index of any gemstone (including diamonds!). Some zincite also fluoresces a strong electric green color under both long- and short-wave ultraviolet light.



3" 85g Terminated Zincite Crystal Saturated Orange & Red Sharp & Gemmy - Poland

COLOR
The colors are all vibrant and super saturated, with a palette that mainly covers the reds, oranges and yellows, but also includes some vivid greens. All of zincite's colors are vivid and vibrant. The reds are like a setting sun sinking to the horizon. The colors in many crystals transition very smoothly from red
s near the base to red-orange, then orange, and yellow, and finally to green near the tip.

CLARITY
At its best, Polish zincite comes in precious, gem-clear, which seem to glow from within. Most are totally transparent and of gem quality inside - clear enough that you can read a newspaper through them.

LUSTER
Zincite crystals have excellent wet-look, brilliantly reflective, glassy luster and flash brightly in the light. The sides of most crystals are completely transparent, so the internal brilliance shouts out magnificently with an impressive radiant glow.

SHARPNESS
Good crystals are very sharply formed. The crystal faces most always meet to form razor sharp edges.

SHAPE
Many crystal taper from a fat base to a thin, pointed termination. They are hexagonal in cross section, and the terminations slope up to the tip at an angle similar to quartz.

CLUSTERS
Zincite forms airy, sculptural group in which the tapering zincite crystals are gem clear, and most are sharply terminated. The combination of bright colors and spiky intersecting crystals creates highly aesthetic three dimensional sculptures that make an eye-catching display of some of the finest eye candy in the mineral kingdom.


3" 33.5g Very Colorful Cherry Red-Orange Gemmy Zincite Crystal Group-Poland

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All photos are of Treasure Mountain Mining specimens

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