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Cerussite

Cerussite mineral specimen

Cerussite is a lead ore whose name derives from the Latin word cerussa, meaning white lead. Since the 5th Century BC, the synthesized form of cerusite, lead carbonate, has been used as pigment in paintings. Today, cerussite is highly valued by collectors because of the stone’s brilliant sparkle, which comes from its high lead content. Collectors also value the stone’s complex, twinned crystals. Cerussite can range in color from white to gray, green, and black, but it is usually colorless. Cerussite has a beautiful adamantine, diamond-like luster and can be transparent to translucent. It is a brittle and soft stone, rating only a 3 to 3.5 on the hardness scale. Because of its fragility, it must be handled with care. Cerussite is very difficult to cut and as a result, faceted cerussite gems are highly valued, however the softness of the gem makes it impossible to have any value as a gemstone. It is usually cut only for collectors only.

Sometimes cerussite is confused with diamond and other colorless gems, however its most distinguishing quality, its high density, makes it easy to distinguish the stone upon further investigation. Cerussite has very intricately twinned structures. There are three types of shapes cerusite can have; chevron shapes are the ones found most, reticulated crystals are the most complex, and cyclic crystals create six pointed stars. Some of the most valued cerussite can be up to 2 feet tall, and is found in Tsumeb, in northern Namibia. These crystals tend to be clear, transparent, and colorless, and are the most valuable form of cerussite. These are usually found around lead ores. Cerussite is of secondary origin, found in the oxidized zone of lead veins. It is found in association with many other minerals including anglesite, galena, smithsonite, promorphite and sphalerite. Non-colorless cerusite derives some of its color from the minerals with which it is associated. For example, a cerussite sample rich in galena will appear gray, the color of galena, while one rich in malachite will appear green, the color of malachite.

Cerussite mineral specimen
Cerussite mineral specimen

Cerussite stones suitable for cutting are found in Vicentin, Italy, Rhine, in Alsace, northeast France, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, in southern Germany, and Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, in western Germany; the Sierra de las Encinillas, Chihuahua, in north central Mexico; Jacala, Hidalgo, in southern Mexico; and Mibladen, Khenifra, in central Morocco. Many different types of cerusite can also be found in various locations around Austria, Australia, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Germany, Scotland, and in Italy, including Sardinia.

Cerussite is very helpful for stubborn people. It teaches the importance of short-term compromise and helps us adjust to situations where our inner resistance holds us back. Cerussite also teaches us how to be tactful in many different situations and helps us concentrate on our goals. It aids us in understanding why we are on this earth, what our tasks are, and what gifts we have that we can help the world with.

Cerussite mineral specimen