Sphalerite

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Chemical composition -- Zinc sulfide with iron.

Color-- Yellow to brown, orange, green, black, rarely colorless.

Optics -- R.I. 2.37-2.40. Dispersion 0.156 (extremely high).

Durability -- Hardness 3.5-4. Brittle and with six directions of perfect cleavage. Too fragile for use in jewelry (unfortunately!).

Crystal structure -- Isometric (cubic).

Specific Gravity -- 3.9-4.1.

Sources -- Mexico, Spain, U.S.

Sphalerite makes spectacularly brilliant and colorful gems and is available in large sizes, but its fragility restricts its use to collections.

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