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Cinnabar

This page kindly sponsored by Guy Story Brown
Formula:
HgS
System:
Trigonal
Colour:
Tint or shade of red
Lustre:
Adamantine
Hardness:
2 - 2½
Name:
From Persian "zinjifrah"; original meaning lost (dragon's blood?).
Trimorphous with metacinnabar and hypercinnabar.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Cinnabar.

Classification of Cinnabar

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
2.CD.15a

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
C : Metal Sulfides, M: S = 1: 1 (and similar)
D : With Sn, Pb, Hg, etc.
2.8.14.1

2 : SULFIDES
8 : AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
3.5.1

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
5 : Sulphides etc. of Hg and Tl
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Occurrences of Cinnabar

Geological Setting:
Low temperature hydrothermal mineral

Physical Properties of Cinnabar

Adamantine
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Tint or shade of red
Streak:
Red-brown to scarlet
Hardness (Mohs):
2 - 2½
Hardness (Vickers):
VHN10=82 - 156 kg/mm2
Tenacity:
Sectile
Cleavage:
Perfect
Perfect {1010}
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Sub-Conchoidal
Density:
8.176 g/cm3 (Measured)    8.20 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Cinnabar

Crystal System:
Trigonal
Class (H-M):
3 2 - Trapezohedral
Space Group:
P31 2 1
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.145(2) Å, c = 9.496(2) Å
Ratio:
a:c = 1 : 2.291
Unit Cell Volume:
V 141.29 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
3
Morphology:
Rhombohedral crystals, thick tabular, stout to slender prismatic.
Twinning:
Simple contact twins Plane {0001}, axis [0001]

Crystallographic forms of Cinnabar

Crystal Atlas:
Image Loading
Click on an icon to view
Cinnabar no.2 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.10 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.26 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.35 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cinnabar no.57 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

Toggle
Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

View
Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
3.34 (9)
2.85 (10)
2.06 (5)
1.969 (5)
1.725 (5)
1.672 (6)
1.339 (5)

Optical Data of Cinnabar

Type:
Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 2.905 nε = 3.256
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.351
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
Very High

Chemical Properties of Cinnabar

Formula:
HgS
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
CAS Registry number:
1344-48-5

CAS Registry numbers are published by the American Chemical Society

Relationship of Cinnabar to other Species

2.CD.05Herzenbergite(Sn,Pb)SnS2
2.CD.05Teallite(Pb,Sn)SnS2
2.CD.10AlabanditeMnS
2.CD.10AltaitePbTe
2.CD.10ClausthalitePbSe
2.CD.10GalenaPbS
2.CD.10Niningerite(Mg,Fe2+,Mn2+)S
2.CD.10Oldhamite(Ca,Mg)S
2.CD.10Keilite(Fe2+,Mg)S
2.CD.15bHypercinnabarHgS
3.5.2HypercinnabarHgS
3.5.3MetacinnabarHgS
3.5.4ImiteriteAg2HgS2
3.5.5TiemanniteHgSe
3.5.6BalkaniteCu9Ag5HgS8
3.5.7Danielsite(Cu,Ag)14HgS8
3.5.8ColoradoiteHgTe
3.5.9GortdrumiteCu18FeHg6S16
3.5.10Polhemusite(Zn,Hg)S
3.5.11CarliniteTl2S
3.5.12CrookesiteCu7(Tl, Ag)Se4
3.5.13SabatieriteCu6TlSe4
3.5.14PicotpauliteTlFe2S3
3.5.15RaguiniteTlFeS2
3.5.16ThalcusiteTl2Cu3FeS4
3.5.17BukoviteTl2(Cu,Fe)4Se4
3.5.18GalliteCuGaS2
3.5.19RoquesiteCuInS2
3.5.20InditeFeIn2S4

Other Names for Cinnabar

Name in Other Languages:
Basque:Zinabrio
Bosnian (Latin Script):Cinabarit
Bulgarian:Цинобър
Catalan:Cinabri
Czech:Cinabarit
Danish:Cinnober
Dutch:Cinnaber
Estonian:Kinaver
Finnish:Sinooperi
French:Cinabre
Galician:Cinabrio
Hungarian:Cinnabarit
Italian:Cinabro
Japanese:辰砂
Latvian:Cinobrs
Lithuanian:Cinoberis
Norwegian (Bokmål):Sinober
Polish:Cynober
Portuguese:Cinábrio
Simplified Chinese:辰砂
Slovak:Cinabarit
Slovenian:Cinabarit
Spanish:Cinabrio
Traditional Chinese:辰砂
Turkish:Zincifre
Ukrainian:Кіновар
Vietnamese:Chu sa

Other Information

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:
Principal ore of mercury. Used as a cosmetic pigment in ancient times.

References for Cinnabar

Reference List:
Schrauf, A. (1894), Aphorismen über Zinnobar: Zeitschr. Prak. Geol.: 10-18.

Bulletin de Mineralogie: 96: 218-219.

Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged, 834pp.: 251-255.

McCormack, J.K. (2000): The darkening of cinnabar in sunlight. Mineralium Deposita 35(8), 796-798.

Internet Links for Cinnabar

Specimens:
The following Cinnabar specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Cinnabar

map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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