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Posted by Rock Currier
Rock Currier April 30, 2012 12:38PMClick here to view Best Minerals S and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.
Can you help make this a better article? What good localities have we missed? Can you supply pictures of better specimens than those we show here? Can you give us more and better information about the specimens from these localities? Can you supply better geological or historical information on these localities?
Below are outstanding examples of smithsonite specimens from some of the best localities for that species. Some of them show distinct crystals and others show massive and botryoidal forms. The last two in this parade of high class specimens have been cut and polished to show the color of the smithsonite. Almost certainly when it comes to crystals of Smithsonite, Tsumeb, Namibia has to be the champion for the variety of forms and colors of its specimens. The variety of smithsonite that this locality produces is not nearly matched by any other locality. If you are a collector you will definitely want to get as good an example as you can afford of the wonderful blue to blue green specimens of botryoidal Smithsonite specimens that were produced by the Kelly Mine near Socorro, New Mexico, USA. Though Mexico is not generally thought of as a producer of Smithsonite specimens I have included two fine examples of them here, the first a multicolored wonder from the Refugio Mine in Sinaloa, Mexico and a green botryoidal specimen with associated white tufts of Hemimorphite from the well know mine at Santa Eulalia, Chihuahua, Mexico. Finally I have included two cut and polished specimens from two classical European localities. The first a cut and polished slab and egg of yellow cadmium bearing smithsonite from, the Masua Mine in Sardinia, Italy. These are drop dead classics if you can ever find one to add to your collection. The second is a blue and green polished specimen from Lavrion, Greece. Each of these six localities have produced a variety of specimens and I urge you to scroll down this article and make your self familiar with the variety of smithsonite they produce and those of other localities, some of which have produced specimens that rival many of the Smithsonites from the better know localities.
Back in the day Smithsonite and Hemimorphite were lumped together and called calamine. They were frequently found together in ore deposits in not crystalline masses. In time it was observed that some varieties of calamine were different than others. Finally smithsonite became a separate species and the remaining calamines were called Hemimorphite. Crystals were not common, at least until Tsumeb started producing them. Crystals to ten cm are know and Mindat currently lists 1977 localities (April 2012). Of these many localities, only a few produce good specimens, and below are images of Smithsonite specimens from the localities that were deemed significant. Perhaps some of the ones shown here should not have been and a few others that should have been included are not. It is hoped that other good examples of smithsonite that should be included will be brought to our attention.
Smithsonite is a mineral commonly found in the oxidized portions of lead zinc deposits in the upper parts of the ore bodies. It is often quite ugly looking and has been called "dry bone" ore. Though many lead zinc mines, and there are many of them, commonly have smithsonite among the minerals they produce, relatively few mines produce what collectors would consider to be desirable specimens. There are enough of them however that a few collectors have made a specialty of collecting Smithsonites. One of the best private collection of Smithsonites was made by Jim and Dawn Minette. Jim was during the last part of his career manager of the big open pit borate mine at Boron, California.
Many specimens of smithsonite are botryoidal and dull when found and it is not uncommon for dealers and collectors to "improve" them by using hydrochloric acid to remove dull surface layers and expose shiny layers of smithsonite that lay beneath. Sometimes indications of this treatment can be seen on the edges of the specimens where the acid has selectively eaten away some layers of the smithsonite specimen more than others. It has been argued by some that this treatment is really no different that the natural etching that many smithsonite specimens receive naturally in the ground from time to time. You will have to make up your own mind about this.
Not an outstanding specimen, but it is the best of what is currently in our data base. Can someone tell us about the mine and its specimens?
SmithsoniteArgentinaCórdoba, Dumesnil, Malpaso Quarry
SmithsoniteAustraliaNew South Wales, Yancowinna Co., Broken Hill
SmithsoniteAustraliaNew South Wales, Yancowinna Co., Broken Hill, Block 14 opencut
SmithsoniteAustraliaNew South Wales, Yancowinna Co., Broken Hill, Broken Hill Proprietary Mine (Proprietary Mine; BHP Mine)
The classic Smithsonite specimens from Broken Hill are the "rice grain" Smithsonites on the black Coronadite matrix. These are by far the most common specimens of Smithsonite that collectors are familiar with. The deposit at Broken Hill did produce other kinds of specimens, but green colored Smithsonite specimens like the one pictured here are very uncommon.
SmithsoniteAustraliaNew South Wales, Yancowinna Co., Broken Hill, Junction Mine
SmithsoniteAustraliaNew South Wales, Yancowinna Co., Broken Hill, Kintore opencut
SmithsoniteAustriaCarinthia, Gailtaler Alpen & Karnische Alpen, Bleiberg District, Bad Bleiberg, Stefanie Mine
Taken under UV light?
SmithsoniteBelgiumLiège Province, Engis
SmithsoniteBelgiumLiège Province, Verviers, Plombières-Vieille Montagne (Plombières-Altenberg) District
SmithsoniteBelgiumLiège Province, Verviers, Plombières-Vieille Montagne (Plombières-Altenberg) District, Kelmis, Moresnet, Vieille Montagne (Altenberg; Kelmisberg)
SmithsoniteBrazilMinas Gerais, Vazante, Vazante Mine
SmithsoniteChinaGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Hezhou Prefecture, Zhaoping Co., Xiafu dam construction site
SmithsoniteColombiaValle del Cauca Department
We will replace this image with an image of the entire specimen if and when we can get one or with images of better specimens. Can someone tell us about this locality?
SmithsoniteCzech RepublicBohemia (Böhmen; Boehmen), Plzeň Region, Plzeň (Pilsen), Merklín (Merklin)
SmithsoniteDemocratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre)Katanga (Shaba), Kengere, Kengere Mine
This Smithsonite specimen was personally collected by Gilbert Gauthier in the 50's. This is as good as Smithsonite specimens get from Kengere. Gilbert prospected the mine carefully and went twice a year to see what's up but was never able to find good specimens. The good ones where found in the middle 40's and where collected by the mine engineer in the upper levels. When Gilbert arrived at the mine, the upper levels where gone. Great specimens from the mine reached the market in 2005, probably by the mine engineer himself or one of his family members, but there were no good Smithsonite specimens among them. Kengere is a lead-zinc deposit like Kipushi without the cobalt, copper and germanium. Great specimens of cerussite and hemimorphite where found as well as medium to poor mimetite and smithsonite.
SmithsoniteDemocratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre)Katanga (Shaba), Kipushi, Kipushi Mine (Prince Léopold Mine)
These are is a very good examples of Smithsonite from the Kipushi mine. The rice grain like crystals clearly visible in the first picture are more densely agglomerated in the second. I tot the second one from Joseph Lhoest who collected this himself in the upper levels of the mine. Smithsonite was abundant at Kipushi but no really great specimens where found.
SmithsoniteFranceLanguedoc-Roussillon, Gard, Saint-Laurent-le-Minier, Les Malines District, Les Vieux Travaux mine
SmithsoniteFranceRhône-Alpes, Rhône, Le Bois d'Oingt, Chessy-les-Mines, Chessy copper mines
SmithsoniteGermanyBavaria, Upper Bavaria, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald
SmithsoniteGermanyLower Saxony, Harz, Goslar, Rammelsberg, Rammelsberg Mine
SmithsoniteGermanyLower Saxony, Schaumburg, Rinteln, Rohden Quarry
SmithsoniteGermanyNorth Rhine-Westphalia, Eifel, Mechernich, Mechernicher Bleiberg
SmithsoniteGreeceAttikí (Attica; Attika) Prefecture, Lavrion (Laurion; Laurium) District
As you can see from the many specimens of Smithsonite above, the mines at Lavrion have produced a wide variety of various colored Smithsonites. It may be the champion for the greatest variety of colors. Many years ago the wonderful colored specimens of cut and polished Smithsonites were apparently abundant and well known, but today it is very unusual to find a good example of these for sale. Perhaps someone who specializes in specimens from these ancient mines will tell us more about the specimens that this locality has produced.
SmithsoniteGreeceAttikí (Attica; Attika) Prefecture, Lavrion (Laurion; Laurium) District, Lavrion District Mines, Agios Konstantinos
SmithsoniteIrelandCo. Clare, The Burren, Carron, Sheshodonnell East Mine
Who would have thought that Smithsonites of this quality have been produced from Ireland.
SmithsoniteIrelandCo. Tipperary, Silvermines District, Mogul Mine (Garryard; International Mogul Mines)
SmithsoniteItalyLombardy, Bergamo Province, Brembana Valley, Dossena, Paglio Pignolino Mine
SmithsoniteItalyLombardy, Bergamo Province, Brembana Valley, Oltre il Colle, Vedra Valley, Zorzone Mine
SmithsoniteItalySardinia, Carbonia-Iglesias Province, Iglesias
SmithsoniteItalySardinia, Carbonia-Iglesias Province, Iglesias, Masua, Masua Mine
Yellow Smithsonites from the Masua Mine have been sought after by collectors for more than 100 years. The yellow cadmium rich smithsonite is unrivaled for producing beautiful banded bright yellow slabs. Much of the smithsonite from this locality is botryoidal and many stalactites of it were found. The stalactites don't look all that attractive but just try and find one for your collection. They are quite rare, probably because they could be cut up into attractive slabs that were easy to sell. The one stalactite pictured above has been cut in the long direction and it is the only one I have ever seen that has been cut like that.
SmithsoniteItalySardinia, Carbonia-Iglesias Province, Iglesias, Monteponi Mine
SmithsoniteItalySardinia, Carbonia-Iglesias Province, Iglesias, Punta della Torre, San Giovanni Mine
SmithsoniteItalySardinia, Carbonia-Iglesias Province, Iglesias, Seddas Moddizzis Mine
SmithsoniteKazakhstanKostanay Province (Qostanay Oblysy; Kostanai Oblast'), Shaimerden Zn deposit
SmithsoniteMexicoChihuahua, Mun. de Aquiles Serdán, Santa Eulalia District
Smithsonite from the mines at Santa Eulalia is fairly abundant and though fine examples are not that common. As you can see from the examples shown above and below it is found in a remarkably broad range of colors and associations.
SmithsoniteMexicoChihuahua, Mun. de Aquiles Serdán, Santa Eulalia District, East Camp, San Antonio Mine (San Antonio el Grande Mine)
SmithsoniteMexicoCoahuila, Mun. de Sierra Mojada, Sierra Mojada
SmithsoniteMexicoDurango, Mun. de Mapimí, Mapimí, Ojuela Mine
SmithsoniteMexicoSinaloa, Mun. de Choix, Choix, El Refugio Mine
Smithsonite from this mine was for a while fairly abundant during the 1990s and though most of the production produced was colored botryoidal material of not high quality you can see from the examples above that some very nice specimens were produced.
SmithsoniteMexicoSinaloa, Mun. de Choix, Choix, Santa Anita Mine
SmithsoniteMexicoZacatecas, Mun. de Concepción del Oro, Concepción del Oro, Socabon Mine
SmithsoniteMexicoZacatecas, Mun. de Mazapil, Mazapil
SmithsoniteMexicoZacatecas, Mun. de Zacatecas, Zacatecas
SmithsoniteMexicoZacatecas, Reyes Mine
SmithsoniteMoroccoOriental Region, Oujda-Angad Province, Touissit District
Fine examples of smithsonite from Touissit are rare.
SmithsoniteNamibiaKaras Region, Lüderitz District, Rosh Pinah, Skorpion Mine
SmithsoniteNamibiaOtjikoto (Oshikoto) Region, Tsumeb
At most deposits, well crystallized smithsonite are rare, at Tsumeb they are fairly common place. It has produced such a variety that the examples shown below have been broken down in sections. The first section shows the cobaltoan rich pink Smithsonites, then the copper rich green ones and finally those of other colors. Some of the specimens shown below are about as good as the locality ever produced.
Smithsonite of other colors
SmithsoniteNamibiaOtjozondjupa Region, Grootfontein District, Grootfontein
SmithsoniteNamibiaOtjozondjupa Region, Grootfontein District, Berg Aukas (Berg Aukus)
The Berg Akus mine, located not far from Tsumeb also produced many good Smithsonite specimens.
SmithsoniteNew ZealandNorth Island, Te Aroha, Tui Mine
SmithsonitePolandMałopolskie, Olkusz District, Olkusz, Pomorzany Mine
SmithsonitePortugalBeja District, Moura, Sobral da Adiça, Preguiça Mine
SmithsoniteSloveniaMežica (Miess), Mežica Mines
SmithsoniteSouth AfricaNorthern Cape Province, Aggeneys, Broken Hill mine
SmithsoniteSpainAndalusia, Granada, Albuñuelas
SmithsoniteSpainCantabria, Udías, Sel del Haya Mine
SmithsoniteSpainMurcia, Sierra de Cartagena, La Unión, San Valentín Mine (San Valentín Quarry)
SmithsoniteTunisiaZaghouan Governorate, Zriba-Village, Hammam-Zriba Mine
SmithsoniteTurkeyMediterranean Region, Adana Province, Tufanbeyli, Akçal
SmithsoniteUKEngland, Cumbria, North and Western Region (Cumberland), North Pennines, Alston Moor District
SmithsoniteUKEngland, Cumbria, South Eastern Region (Westmorland), North Pennines, Escarpment District, Hilton, Scordale, Hilton Mine
SmithsoniteUKEngland, North Yorkshire, North Pennines, Pateley Bridge District, Greenhow, Coldstones Quarry
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Cochise Co., Dragoon Mts, Turquoise District (Courtland-Gleeson District), Gleeson, Costello Mine group (Costello claims), Silver Bill Mine
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Cochise Co., Mule Mts, Warren District, Bisbee
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Coconino Co., Grandview District, Grand Canyon National Park, Horseshoe Mesa, Cape Royal, Grand View Mine (Last Chance Mine; No. 1 Pat claim 3591; No. 5 Pat claim 3592a; No. 4 Pat claim 3592a; Canyon Copper Mine; Grand Canyon Mine)
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Gila Co., Dripping Spring Mts, Banner District
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Gila Co., Dripping Spring Mts, Banner District, Hayden area, Chilito, 79 Mine (79th Mine; Seventy-Nine Mine; Seventy-Nine property; McHur prospect)
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Mohave Co., Hualapai (Hualpai) Mts, Hualapai District, Arrastra Mt., Antler Mine (Antler Gold Mine; Spuyten Duyvel Mine)
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Pima Co., Waterman Mts, Waterman District, Silver Hill District, Silver Hill, Silver Hill Mine group
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Pinal Co., Mammoth District, Tiger, St. Anthony deposit, Mammoth-Saint Anthony Mine (Mammoth-St Anthony Mine; Mammoth Mine; St. Anthony Mine)
Good specimens of Smithsonite from Tiger are quite rare.
SmithsoniteUSAArizona, Santa Cruz Co., Santa Rita Mts, Tyndall District, Cottonwood Canyon, Amado, Devil's Cash Box ridge, Glove Mine (Sunrise Mine), Glove Mine group (Zombie & Zeco claims; Festiago-Franklin; Blacksmith adit)
SmithsoniteUSAArkansas, Marion Co., Rush Creek District
The cadmium rich yellow Smithsonites from the Rush Creek District can on occasion rival the best specimens of their yellow cousins from Sardinia. The fine yellow specimens of Smithsonite after Dolomite are particularly desirable.
SmithsoniteUSAArkansas, Marion Co., Rush Creek District, Morning Star Mine
SmithsoniteUSAArkansas, Marion Co., Rush Creek District, Rush, Philadelphia mine
SmithsoniteUSAArkansas, Marion Co., Rush Creek District, Rush, Monte Cristo mine ("Monte Christo" mine)
SmithsoniteUSAArkansas, Marion Co., Rush Creek District, Rush
SmithsoniteUSACalifornia, Inyo Co., Inyo Mts (Inyo Range)
SmithsoniteUSAKentucky, Crittenden Co., Illinois - Kentucky Fluorspar District, Marion
SmithsoniteUSAMissouri, Jasper Co., Tri-State District, Joplin Field, Gobbler Mine
SmithsoniteUSAMissouri, Jasper Co., Tri-State District, Oronogo Field
SmithsoniteUSANew Mexico, Grant Co., Burro Mountains District, Tyrone Area, Tyrone Mine
SmithsoniteUSANew Mexico, Socorro Co., Hansonburg District, Bingham, Blanchard Mine (Portalas-Blanchard Mine)
SmithsoniteUSANew Mexico, Socorro Co., Magdalena District, Kelly Mine
The blue to blue green Smithsonites because of their color are particularly appealing to collectors and fine specimens of Kelly Smithsonite can bring tens of thousands of dollars. They used to be fairly common, but the good ones are becoming hard to get at any price.
SmithsoniteUSAOklahoma, Ottawa Co., Tri-State District
SmithsoniteUSAPennsylvania, Lehigh Co., Upper Saucon Township, Saucon Valley, Friedensville, Ueberroth Mine
SmithsoniteUSATennessee, Jefferson Co., Mascot-Jefferson City Zinc District, New Market, New Market Mine (Asarco New Market Mine)
SmithsoniteUSAUtah, Beaver Co., San Francisco Mts, San Francisco District (Frisco District)
SmithsoniteUSAUtah, Beaver Co., Star Range, Star and North Star Districts, Moscow Mine (Old Moscow/New Moscow)
SmithsoniteUSAUtah, Tooele Co., Oquirrh Mts, Ophir District, Ophir Hill area, Hidden Treasure Mine (Sacramento; Chicago)
SmithsoniteUSAWashington, Stevens Co.
SmithsoniteUSAWisconsin, Iowa Co., Upper Mississippi Valley District, Mineral Point
SmithsoniteZambiaCentral Province, Kabwe (Broken Hill), Kabwe Mine (Broken Hill Mine)
Click here to view Best Minerals S and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.
First draft of Smithsonite article completed 30 April 2012 Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2012 12:13PM by Rock Currier.
Bob Hembree May 18, 2012 09:28PMOutstanding work. What a great piece, congratulations. I used to collect the Kelly mine in the 1970's for smithsonite, still have a few pieces in my collection. You have done an outstanding job showing some very impressive specimens of smithsonite from around the world. Thanks again for a well done article.
Rock Currier May 18, 2012 09:34PMBob,
These articles can always be better. Can you make some suggestions for improving it? When we write these articles, we always feel inadequate because most of the localities we have never been to nor have we collected there so we realize that we know next to nothing about them. This leaves us only the job of selecting the images and putting them in order and making them look nice with one another. For example although I am somewhat interested in smithsonite, I was only in the Kelly mine once and didn't have time to get to know it very well. It is a huge place and would take many days to explore well.
Crystals not pistols.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
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Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2017, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.