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Bright Orange Zincite

The Mineral zincite

Zincite is a rare mineral that is insignificant from all but one region in the world. Its bright orange color is very distinctive, as are its mineral association and habits. Pure synthetic Zincite is colorless; its natural orange to red color is caused by impurities of manganese oxide.

Zincite often forms together and is admixed with Franklinite. A typical association is spotted Zincite and Franklinite on a white Calcite matrix, sometimes joined with Willemite. Although Zincite does not fluoresce, its Willemite and Calcite associations are highly fluorescent. Synthetic Zincite has been produced from industrial operations and laboratory production, and this material is very aesthetic and widely available on the mineral market. Much of this material is brightly colored and comes from Poland.
Chemical Formula ZnO
Composition Zinc oxide, almost always with small amounts of manganese and iron
Variable Formula (Zn,Mn,Fe)O
Color Deep orange-red, bright orange, yellowish-orange, dark brownish-red
Streak Orange yellow
Hardness 4
Crystal System Hexagonal
3D Crystal Atlas
(Click for animated model) 
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Crystals of Zincite are rare. When they do occur, they are in small pyramidal hexagonal crystals with a pointed termination on one end and flattened base on the other end. Pyramidal faces tend to be horizontally striated. Crystals are usually associated with massive or grainy Zincite. Most crystals are crudely formed; well-formed crystals are very uncommon. Most often massive, encrusting, and grainy.
Transparency Translucent. Rarely transparent.
Specific Gravity 5.4 - 5.7
Luster Adamantine to resinous
Cleavage 1,1; Also exhibits basal parting.
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Other ID Marks Lacks fluorescence
In Group Oxides; Simple Oxides
Striking Features Color, mineral association, and locality
Environment In zinc-rich zones of metamorphosed marble.
Rock Type Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 3
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 2


Zincite was an important ore of zinc among the zinc ore bodies in the Franklin and Sterling Hill mines when those mines were in operation. Today zincite is a collector's mineral.

The only significant producers of naturally occurring Zincite are the world-famous zinc mines at Franklin and nearby Ogdensburg (Sterling Hill), Sussex Co., New Jersey. Zincite has a few worldwide localities where it occurs naturally in microscopic grains. It has also been synthetically produced from industrial smelter operations and slag deposits in several parts of the world. Poland is especially noted for producing synthetic specimens that have become widely available on the collectors market.

Calcite, Franklinite, Willemite, Tephroite

The mineral association and locality are sufficient to distinguish Zincite from any other similarly colored minerals.

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