Look familiar? If you thought it was a certain highly coveted throne from a certain hit HBO series returning to TV tonight, you thought wrong. It’s actually a mineral called stibnite. This sample was likely formed some 130 million years ago, when water heated by volcanic activity dissolved the elements antimony and sulfur from surrounding rocks. The dissolved elements then flowed between layers of limestone, creating a dense band of stibnite complete with long, elegant crystals.
The remarkable piece you see in this photo was spared from destruction by alert miners in the Wuling antimony mine in Jiangxi Province of southeastern China. It was discovered along with an even larger piece that is currently on display in the Museum’s 77th Street Grand Gallery. Both specimens are uniquely large and feature hundreds of sword-like, metallic blue-gray crystals sprouting from a rocky base. Examples this sizable and intricate are exceedingly rare, due to their extreme fragility and the industrial nature of modern antimony mining.
The Museum’s stibnite specimen is the largest on public display in the world. Learn more: https://goo.gl/n4Caym