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This specimen is smithsonite from the El Refugio Mine in Choix, Sinaloa, Mexico. Generally, smithsonite does not fluoresce, but some of the specimens from this location do. It fluoresces only under short wave. The colors it fluoresces are pink, blue and green. The green areas will phosphoresce for a short while after the lights are turned off in a completely dark room. The phosphorescence is due to the fact that smithsonite is a zinc carbonate. Willemite from New Jersey, USA has similar properties.

Under normal light smithsonite will be clear to white, tan, brown, or grey (depending upon the form it has taken, some of which may or may not fluoresce). To see a photo under normal lighting conditions return to the main fluorescent page and click the page link "to view specimen material from Mexico."

Smithsonite gets its name from James Smithson, who was the illegitimate son of Hugh Smithson (a British nobel and the first Duke of Northumberland). He was born James Lewis Macie, in France in 1765 and later adopted his father's name and became a naturalized British citizen.

Smithson was very interested in chemistry and mineralogy and devoted much of his time to the qualitative analysis of minerals. One of his many papers regarding mineralogy was "A Chemical Analysis of Some Calamines." He showed that calamine actually consists of two minerals, zinc oxide and zinc carbonate. It is the zinc carbonate which was later named "smithsonite" in his honor.

Smithson died on June 27, 1829 in Italy and was buried in Genoa. He amassed a sizable fortune during his lifetime which eventually was given "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge...".

Smithsonite
 
Smithsonite Quantity in Basket: None
Code: MS-103
Price: $41.25
Shipping Weight: 0.47 pounds
 
 
Quantity:
 
Location: El Refugio mine, Choix, Sinaloa, Mexico
Size: 2-5/8" x 2-3/8" x 1-1/2"



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