I post a lot about my collection, but I don’t think I ever got into too much detail about the origins of some of my specimens and how to properly care for them. So I thought I would share with you all some cool specimens I’ve collected over the years and tell you about what makes them so great and how to get your hands on a specimen from the same locality. All specimens are unique so while you may not get one that looks exactly like the ones you see here, you WILL get a similar (or better) piece!
Chemical formula: PbS (Lead Sulfide)
Hardness: SOFT (2.5-3)
Crystal system: Isometric
Health risks: Contains lead which gives it its unique density, but also makes it toxic. Wash hands with warm water and soap after handling.
- Can often be highly lustrous! Polished specimens can shine like a mirror.
- Very dense. Galena is much heavier than it appears to be. This particular crystal weighs 1 ½ lbs (0.68kg)!
- Forms in nice cubes or octahedrons, but can also dodecahedrons in rare cases!
- Can grow to impressive sizes (note: larger specimens are often expensive!)
- Galena is a toxic mineral. Do not ingest or eat around galena specimens and w ash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water.
- Please note that galena is not only very soft, but very brittle. It can often flake off in tiny cubic pieces or cleave into smaller cubes when dropped.
- If you drop a specimen, it’s important to wash it immediately to get rid of any loose particles that could be accidentally inhaled or ingested.
- Galena tarnishes overtime when exposed to oxygen. To keep galena specimens looking shiny, you can wash them with warm water and mild soap (like alcohol-free liquid hand soap) and rub gently with a wash cloth, sponge, or your fingers. Do NOT use abrasive scrubbing tools for it can scratch the softer crystal. Galena becomes very slippery when wet. Be careful not to drop your specimen when washing. Rubbing a crystal too hard can result in flaking or cleaving.
- Can be stored and displayed anywhere. Best to be displayed under some kind of light source to make it shine!
Locality of this piece: Sweetwater Mine in Reynold’s county in Missouri, U.S.A. Sweetwater is known for its enormous, well-formed crystals of galena and golden calcite. Missouri also contains many lead mines where they harvest raw galena. There are also other mines in the Tri-state region, but Sweetwater is the most known due to the size and quality of the crystals there. Galena is lead ore and can be found in lead mines all over the world.
Price range: The price of galena specimens depends on mainly size, but also shape and quality of the crystals. Galena is a common mineral so smaller specimens are easy to come by and very affordable ($5-25). Larger ones like the one seen in the photo can cost $30-50 depending on the shape and luster. More perfect or shinny cubes will often be priced higher than ones that are a little misshapen or don’t polish well. Larger specimens from localities such as Sweetwater can reach a value of $100+!
Azurite (blue) and malachite (green) -Unknown locality (any help with that would be great!)
Very rare colorless fluorite on top of quartz (AKA “Russian ice cubes”)- Dalnegorsk Russia
More rare colorless fluorite on quartz this time the fluorite crystals rare dodecahedrons!- Dalnegorsk Russia
“Big boy! 11lb cluster of hexagonal calcite with malachite, marcasite, and chalcopyrite - Sweetwater mine, Missouri
Thanks for allowing for submissions, by the way. It’s a great way to share the love of rocks! Also sorry if this is a lot for a post. I have hundreds of specimens and it was really hard to choose a few.