Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the
formula Sb2S3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic
space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid
antimony. The name is from the Greek στίβι stibi through the
Latin stibium as the old name for the mineral and the element
4 See also
6 External links
Structure of stibnite.
Stibnite has a structure similar to that of arsenic trisulfide, As2S3.
The Sb(III) centers, which are pyramidal and three-coordinate, are
linked via bent two-coordinate sulfide ions. However, recent studies
confirm that the actual coordination polyhedra of antimony are in fact
SbS7, with (3+4) coordination at the M1 site and (5+2) at the M2 site.
Some of the secondary bonds impart cohesion and are connected with
Stibnite is grey when fresh, but can turn superficially
black due to oxidation in air.
Pastes of Sb2S3 powder in fat or in other materials have been used
since ca. 3000 BC as eye cosmetics in the Middle East and farther
afield; in this use, Sb2S3 is called kohl. It was used to darken the
brows and lashes, or to draw a line around the perimeter of the eye.
Antimony trisulfide finds use in pyrotechnic compositions, namely in
the glitter and fountain mixtures. Needle-like crystals, "Chinese
Needle", are used in glitter compositions and white pyrotechnic stars.
The "Dark Pyro" version is used in flash powders to increase their
sensitivity and sharpen their report. It is also a component of modern
safety matches. It was formerly used in flash compositions, but its
use was abandoned due to toxicity and sensitivity to static
Stibnite was used ever since protodynastic
Ancient Egypt as a
medication and a cosmetic. The
Sunan Abi Dawood
Sunan Abi Dawood reports, “prophet
Muhammad said: 'Among the best types of collyrium is antimony (ithmid)
for it clears the vision and makes the hair sprout.'”
The 17th century alchemist Eirenaeus Philalethes, also known as George
Starkey, describes stibnite in his alchemical commentary An Exposition
upon Sir George Ripley's Epistle. Starkey used stibnite as a precursor
to philosophical mercury, which was itself a hypothetical precursor to
the Philosopher's stone.
Stibnite occurs in hydrothermal deposits and is associated with
realgar, orpiment, cinnabar, galena, pyrite, marcasite, arsenopyrite,
cervantite, stibiconite, calcite, ankerite, barite and chalcedony.
Small deposits of stibnite are common, but large deposits are rare. It
occurs in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Japan, China, Germany, Romania, Italy,
France, England, Algeria, and Kalimantan, Borneo. In the United States
it is found in Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada, California, and Alaska.
As of May 2007, the largest specimen on public display (1000 pounds)
is at the American Museum of Natural History. The largest
documented single crystals of stibnite measured ~60×5×5 cm and
originated from different locations including Japan,
Sample from in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Needles of stibnite within a transparent crystal of calcite (size:
Pray of sharp, striated, iridescent metallic stibnite blades
List of minerals
^ a b c Stibnite. Handbook of Mineralogy
^ a b Stibnite. Mindat.org
^ Stibnite. Webmineral
^ Sabina C. Grund, K. Hanusch, H. J. Breunig, H. U. Wolf, "Antimony
Antimony Compounds" in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial
Chemistry 2006, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a03_055.pub2
^ Kyono A (2002). "Low-temperature crystal structures of stibnite
implying orbital overlap of Sb 5s 2 inert pair electrons". Physics and
Chemistry of Minerals. 29: 254–260.
^ Priesner, Claus; Figala, Karin, eds. (1998). Alchemie. Lexikon einer
hermetischen Wissenschaft (in German). München: C.H. Beck.
^ Pyrotechnic Chemical Guide. PyroUniverse.com. Retrieved on
^ Sunan Abu-Dawud (Ahmad Hasan translation). Book 32, Number
^ Eirenaeus Philalethes and Carl Jung
^ "American Museum of Natural History, Spectacular Stibnite". American
Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2007-05-27.
^ "Chinese stibnite crystal on display in US". Retrieved
^ P. C. Rickwood (1981). "The largest crystals" (PDF). American
Mineralogist. 66: 885–907.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stibnite.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Stibnite". Encyclopædia Britannica
(11th ed.). Cambridge University