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Sphalerite is the chief ore of zinc. It consists largely of zinc sulfide in crystalline form but almost always contains variable iron. When iron content is high it is an opaque black variety, marmatite. It is usually found in association with galena, pyrite, and other sulfides along with calcite, dolomite, and fluorite. Miners have also been known to refer to sphalerite as zinc blende, black-jack, and ruby jack.

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:A cute thumbnail showing a honey coloured twinned crystal of sphalerite overgrown by multicoloured chalcopyrite on a matrix of snowy white dolomite.

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Sphlarite. Fancy Cut Gem. Sphalerite is the chief ore of zinc. It consists largely of zinc sulfide in crystalline form but almost always contains variable iron. When iron content is high it is an opaque black variety, marmatite. It is usually found in association with galena, pyrite, and other sulfides along with calcite, dolomite, and fluorite. Miners have also been known to refer to sphalerite as zinc blende, black-jack, and ruby jack.

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Serpierite crystals. Trentini Mine, Vicenza Province, Veneto, Italy. Copper Zinc. Secondary mineral found in altered smelter slags and oxidized sulfide veins.

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Very Large Sphalerite—A Member of the 100 Carats Club Picos de Europa, Santander, Spain From a very small mine, now closed for at least twenty years, comes this superb and rare faceted sphalerite. Sphalerite, a zinc iron sulfide, is usually found in black and very rarely in the rich orange color seen here—and it is rarely seen cut into a gemstone. The luster of sphalerite is its strongest attribute, i.e. it is adamantine, with a high refractive index and brilliance greater than diamonds.

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