Cerussite

Common mineral of the carbonates and nitrates class, member of the Aragonite Group

Cerussit Cerussite
Cerussite from Tsumeb, Namibia


Cerussite shop

Origin of name: from Latin cerussa meaning white lead, which was used in paints and cosmetics

Synonyms and trade names: lead spar, white lead, lead carbonate

Can be confused with: due to the extremely high specific gravity cerussite can only be confused with other very dense minerals like cassiterite, scheelite, wulfenite or stibiotantalite

Localities: very common, more than 5300 localities are known (2022). However, only cerussite from Tsumed, Namibia, is of gemmological interest. Other deposits like Broken Hill, NSW, Australia or Clausthal-Zellerfeld in Niedersachsen, Germany, supply beautiful mineral specimens .

Handling: cerussite is quite soft, as well as notoriously brittle and heat-sensitive, which unfortunately renders it completely unsuitable for jewellery use. However, the excellent luster, the spectacularly high dispersion (the so-called fire, significantly higher than in diamond) and last but not least it´s rarity make cerussite an attractive collector´s stone.

Worth knowing: due to it´s high content of lead cerussite must be considered poisonous. Be very careful when cutting cerussite, do not inhale the dust!

Cerussite shop

Gemmological Properties of Cerussite

Formula:
Pb[CO3]
Crystal system:
Orthorhombic
Mohs hardness:
3 - 3.5
Specific gravity:
6.46 - 6.57
Refractive index:
1.803 - 2.078
Max. Birefringence:
0.274
Dispersion:
0.055
Pleochroism:
none
Luminiscence:
weak, yellowish white to yellow
Lustre:
adamantine
Cleavage:
good
Fracture:
Uneven, conchoidal
Colour:
usually white, grey or, brown, impure cerussite can be black, blue or green