Important Uses of Sphalerite

Sphalerite (the red stones) often grows with other minerals, such as galena.
••• Zbynek Burival/iStock/Getty Images

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.

Related Articles

What is a Sardonyx?
What Is the Mineral Beryl Used For?
Why Are Diamonds Used in Drills?
The Characteristics of Slate
Interesting Facts About Garnet
What Is Helenite?
Where Is the Mineral Topaz Found?
Limestone Chemical Components
How to Identify Semiprecious Stones
Gems Native to Connecticut
What Elements Make Up Natural Diamonds?
Raw Materials Used in the Manufacture of Electronic...
Properties of Ash Wood
Difference Between Quartz & Calcite
List of Rare Minerals
The Different Kinds of Missouri Stone Used for Flint...
What Are the Properties of Igneous Rocks?
What Is Zinc Alloy?
How to Identify Basalt
The Use of Phosphorous in Light Bulbs