Sphalerite is a mineral composed of zinc, sulfur and iron. Because it is the most common mineral containing zinc, its often mined for zinc ore. Because of its high zinc concentration, sphalerite is often used in metallurgy. In addition, because of its high level of light dispersion, polished sphalerite is a beautiful showpiece for jewelry or collections.
Uses of Sphalerite
For industrial purposes, sphalerite is used in galvanized iron, brass and batteries. The mineral is also used as a mildew-resistant element in certain paints. When polished, sphalerite can vary in color from fiery red to gold-orange to a distinctive green-yellow color and also has a stunning light dispersion factor of 0.156. By comparison, a diamond, which is known for its brilliant shine, only has a light dispersion factor of 0.044. Although sphalerite could be used in jewelry because of its shine, it is quite soft, making it not very suitable for wearing. It is also difficult to cut precisely. For this reason, the polished version is often an uncut stone that is highly sought after by collectors.
About the Author
An avid lover of science and health, Meg Michelle began writing professionally about science and fitness in 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Creighton University and master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins. Her work has appeared in publications such as EARTH Magazine.
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