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Stibnite

Stibnite

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Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral
Sulfide mineral
The sulfide minerals are a class of minerals containing sulfide as the major anion. Some sulfide minerals are economically important as metal ores. The sulfide class also includes the selenides, the tellurides, the arsenides, the antimonides, the bismuthinides, the sulfarsenides and the sulfosalts...

 with the formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 Sb
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

2S
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid
Metalloid
Metalloid is a term used in chemistry when classifying the chemical elements. On the basis of their general physical and chemical properties, each element can usually be classified as a metal or a nonmetal. However, some elements with intermediate or mixed properties can be harder to characterize...

 antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

. The name is from the Greek stibi through the Latin stibium as the old name for the mineral and the element antimony.

Structure



Stibnite has a structure similar to that of arsenic trisulfide, As
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

2S3. The Sb(III) centers, which are pyramidal and three-coordinate, are linked via bent two-coordinate sulfide ions. It is grey when fresh, but can turn superficially black due to oxidation in air.

Uses


Pastes of Sb2S3 powder in fat or in other materials have been used since 3000 BC as eye cosmetics in the Middle East and farther afield; in this use, Sb2S3 is called kohl
Kohl (cosmetics)
Kohl is an ancient eye cosmetic. It was made by grinding galena and other ingredients. It is widely used in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of West Africa to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes...

. It was used to darken the brows and lashes, or to draw a line
Eye liner
Eye liner is a cosmetic used to define the eyes. It is applied around the contours of the eye to create a variety of aesthetic illusions. Although primarily aimed at females, it has broadened its appeal to the male market, known commonly by the portmanteau guyliner.-History:Eyeliner was first used...

 around the perimeter of the eye.

Antimony trisulfide finds use in pyrotechnic composition
Pyrotechnic composition
A pyrotechnic composition is a substance or mixture of substances designed to produce an effect by heat, light, sound, gas or smoke or a combination of these, as a result of non-detonative self-sustaining exothermic chemical reactions...

s, namely in the glitter and fountain mixtures. Needle-like crystals, "Chinese Needle", are used in glitter compositions and white pyrotechnic star
Pyrotechnic star
Pyrotechnic stars are pellets or simply pieces of pyrotechnic composition which may contain metal powders, salts or other compounds that, when ignited, burn a certain colour or exude a spark effect. They are a part of all projectile-type fireworks. The most common is the aerial shell. When...

s. The "Dark Pyro" version is used in flash powder
Flash powder
Flash powder is a pyrotechnic composition, a mixture of oxidizer and metallic fuel, which burns quickly and if confined produces a loud report. It is widely used in theatrical pyrotechnics and fireworks and was once used for flashes in photography.Different varieties of flash powder are made from...

s to increase their sensitivity and sharpen their report. It is also a component of modern safety matches. It was formerly used in flash
Flash (photography)
A flash is a device used in photography producing a flash of artificial light at a color temperature of about 5500 K to help illuminate a scene. A major purpose of a flash is to illuminate a dark scene. Other uses are capturing quickly moving objects or changing the quality of light...

 compositions, but its use was abandoned due to toxicity and sensitivity to static electricity
Static electricity
Static electricity refers to the build-up of electric charge on the surface of objects. The static charges remain on an object until they either bleed off to ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge. Static electricity can be contrasted with current electricity, which can be delivered...

.

The natural sulfide of antimony, stibnite, was known and used in Biblical times, as a medication
Medication
A pharmaceutical drug, also referred to as medicine, medication or medicament, can be loosely defined as any chemical substance intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.- Classification :...

 and in Islamic/pre-Islamic times as a cosmetic
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

. The Sunan Abi Dawood reports, “prophet Muhammad said: 'Among the best types of collyrium
Collyrium
In eye care, a collyrium is a lotion or liquid wash used as a cleanser for the eyes, particularly in diseases of the eye. The word collyrium comes from the Greek , eye-salve....

 is antimony (ithmid) for it clears the vision and makes the hair sprout.'”

Occurrence



Stibnite occurs in hydrothermal deposits and is associated with realgar
Realgar
Realgar, α-As4S4, is an arsenic sulfide mineral, also known as "ruby sulphur" or "ruby of arsenic". It is a soft, sectile mineral occurring in monoclinic crystals, or in granular, compact, or powdery form, often in association with the related mineral, orpiment . It is orange-red in colour, melts...

, orpiment
Orpiment
Orpiment, As2S3, is a common monoclinic arsenic sulfide mineral. It has a Mohs hardness of 1.5 to 2 and a specific gravity of 3.46. It melts at 300 °C to 325 °C...

, cinnabar
Cinnabar
Cinnabar or cinnabarite , is the common ore of mercury.-Word origin:The name comes from κινναβαρι , a Greek word most likely applied by Theophrastus to several distinct substances...

, galena
Galena
Galena is the natural mineral form of lead sulfide. It is the most important lead ore mineral.Galena is one of the most abundant and widely distributed sulfide minerals. It crystallizes in the cubic crystal system often showing octahedral forms...

, pyrite
Pyrite
The mineral pyrite, or iron pyrite, is an iron sulfide with the formula FeS2. This mineral's metallic luster and pale-to-normal, brass-yellow hue have earned it the nickname fool's gold because of its resemblance to gold...

, marcasite
Marcasite
The mineral marcasite, sometimes called white iron pyrite, is iron sulfide with orthorhombic crystal structure. It is physically and crystallographically distinct from pyrite, which is iron sulfide with cubic crystal structure. Both structures do have in common that they contain the disulfide...

, arsenopyrite
Arsenopyrite
Arsenopyrite is an iron arsenic sulfide . It is a hard metallic, opaque, steel grey to silver white mineral with a relatively high specific gravity of 6.1. When dissolved in nitric acid, it releases elemental sulfur. When arsenopyrite is heated, it becomes magnetic and gives off toxic fumes...

, cervantite
Cervantite
Cervantite is an antimony oxide mineral with formula Sb3+Sb5+O4 .It was first described in 1850 for an occurrence in Cervantes, Sierra de Ancares, Lugo, Galicia, Spain, and named for the locality. The mineral was questioned and disapproved, but re-approved and verified in 1962 based on material...

, stibiconite
Stibiconite
Stibiconite is an antimony oxide mineral with formula: Sb3O6. Its name originates from Greek "stibi" and "konis" , alluding to its composition and habit...

, calcite
Calcite
Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate . The other polymorphs are the minerals aragonite and vaterite. Aragonite will change to calcite at 380-470°C, and vaterite is even less stable.-Properties:...

, ankerite
Ankerite
Ankerite is a calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese carbonate mineral of the group of rhombohedral carbonates with formula: Ca2. In composition it is closely related to dolomite, but differs from this in having magnesium replaced by varying amounts of iron and manganese.The crystallographic and...

, barite
Barite
Baryte, or barite, is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate. The baryte group consists of baryte, celestine, anglesite and anhydrite. Baryte itself is generally white or colorless, and is the main source of barium...

 and chalcedony
Chalcedony
Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite. These are both silica minerals, but they differ in that quartz has a trigonal crystal structure, while moganite is monoclinic...

.

Small deposits of stibnite are common, but large deposits are rare. It occurs in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, and Kalimantan
Kalimantan
In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo....

, Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 it is found in Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, and Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

.

As of May 2007, the largest specimen on public display (1000 pounds) is at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

. The largest documented single crystals of stibnite measured ~60×5×5 cm and originated from different locations including Japan, France and Germany.