realgar calcite

From Arabic “rahj al-gahr”, powder of the mine. Known as a mineral pigment in Byzantium (essentially Asia Minor and the Balkan Peninsula) at least by the beginning of the thirteenth century and presumably having a name by that time. An old realgar locality on the Balkan Peninsula is found at Allchar, Republic of Macedonia.


System: Monoclinic

Colour: Dark red to orange-red

Luster: Resinous, Greasy

Hardness:1½ - 2

Realgar on calcite

I have visited this lovely mineral that is also known as ruby sulphur before (see http://on.fb.me/1dC9ZWZ and http://on.fb.me/1dC9ZWZ), but this specimen was so wonderful that I couldn’t resist sharing this lovely Chinese chunknestling on calcite. A sulphide of arsenic, it shouldn’t be licked, and hands should be washed after handling. In addition it disintegrates with prolonged exposure to light, which slowly disaggregates its crystal structure, so prize specimens should always be stored in the dark when not being drooled over.

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ORPIMENT and CALCITE (Arsenic Sulfide and Calcium Carbonate) crystals from the Shimen Mine, Shimen, Hunan Province, China (lower photograph) and ORPIMENT and REALGAR (Arsenic Sulfides) from the Altai Replublic in Russia (upper photograph).

Orpiment is often given unfriendly welcoming to mineral collections because of its high arsenic content. Many websites claim it is much to toxic to keep around and should not be in a collection. As far as I am concerned, as long as you don’t plan on eating it and you wash your hands after handling it (as you should do after handling any mineral specimens in your collection) then orpiment is perfectly safe and adds a beautiful colour to any mineral display cabinet. Common sense would suggest to keep it away from any young children that would be inclined to taste test behind your back. Before displaying your piece, just rinse it in warm water to remove any powdery residue.  The bright yellow-orange colour looks awesome when displayed next to the deep blue of azurite.

#zx282 - Realgar
Fusion of: Bloodstone and Calcite
Gem Type: Realgar
Weapon(s): Poleaxe, chunks of Realgar used as projectiles
Skills/Powers: Excellent at public speaking, strategic mind, glows under UV rays
Personality: Hotblooded!!! Charismatic, dominating, very loud. Can be a good team leader just as much as an oppressive tyrant.