Hemimorphite is a soroscilicate, which means it’s made up of two linked rings with a silicon atom in the center of four oxygen atoms. It is a hydrated zinc silicate and gets its name because it has different terminations at either end of one of its axes. One end of the crystal is blunt, and the other is pointed.
The gem is uncommonly found as distinct crystals but usually as aggregates. When it is found in crystals it is colorless and transparent. In other forms it comes in shades of white, yellow, brown or an especially beautiful blue-green that resembles turquoise. It’s found in the oxidation zone of zinc and lead sulfide deposits with minerals such as smithsonite and galena. It is indeed an ore of zinc.
General Information about Hemimorphite
The soroscilicate is a heavy but brittle mineral with perfect cleavage. This means that if it is struck a certain way it will break in a sharp, clean way. When it is heated it takes on an electric charge, or becomes pyroelectric. The mineral also takes on an electric charge when placed under enough pressure. This is the quality of being piezoelectric. Hemimorphite also fluoresces orange when it’s placed under ultraviolet light though the fluorescence is a bit weak.
When the mineral is dissolved in a strong acid it forms a silica gel, and when heated to 932 degrees Fahrenheit loses water without clouding. This means that its crystal structure is not altered. Its chemical formula is hemimorphite.
Properties of Hemimorphite
- Alternative names: This hydrated zinc silicate does not have alternative names, though at one point it was thought to be the same mineral as smithsonite, whose chemical formula is ZnCO3. This makes smithsonite a type of zinc carbonate. When the mineral and smithsonite were mistaken for each other they were both thought to be a mineral called calamine.
- Varieties: The varieties of the mineral are seen in its different colors and crystal habits. They can be prismatic, which means they are long like pencils. Tabular crystals look like tiny books, and they are found in groups that resemble a collection of plates. They can be long and flat like blades or fan-shaped. The crystals can radiate out from a common point, form masses of tiny needles, resemble coxcombs or rosettes or come as outfacing crystals that line geodes. They can be botryoidal, which means they resemble grapes or mammillary, which means they resemble breasts. When the sorosilicate is found in stalactitic groupings it forms globular masses around a hollow tube. These are often found in voids or caves.
- Hardness: The hydrated zinc silicate is not a very hard mineral. It’s ranking on the Mohs hardness scale is only 4.5 to 5, with talc being the softest at 1 and diamond the hardest at 10.
- Luster: The luster, or the effect of light reflected on the mineral ranges from vitreous to adamantine in crystals. This means it is glasslike to diamond like. In other forms, the luster can be dull, vitreous, waxy or silky.
- Color: Crystals are colorless, while the globular forms can be the colors mentioned. Green or yellow are rare colors for the sorosilicate, however.
- Streak: The streak when the mineral is rubbed against unglazed porcelain is colorless, no matter the color of the specimen itself.
- Fracture: This is different from cleavage. Fracture describes the look of the mineral when it breaks. The fracture of the sorosilicate tends to be subconchoidal, which is smooth but just slightly curved. The fracture can also be uneven.
- Specific gravity: This is the density of the hydrated zinc silicate compared to the density of water. The density of water is 1.0, and the density of hemimorphite is between 3.4 and 3.5. Another words, the mineral will sink if it is placed in water.
Metaphysical Properties of Hemimorphite
Blue hemimorphite is associated with Libra and thought to enhance a person’s psychic abilities, especially their ability to channel and communicate with angels and beings of light. It improves the ability to communicate overall because it is supposed to pull more light into the throat chakra.
The gem also supports the third eye, the heart chakra and thymus chakra which is found near the heart. This supports empathy, forgiveness and compassion, which makes hemimorphite ideal for relationships of all kinds.
The mineral also eases headaches caused by hormonal fluctuations and the pain of ulcers. Some people use it to help them lose weight.
How to Wear Hemimorphite
The zinc sorosilicate should be held in the hand during meditation. It can also be polished into beautiful beads that can be formed into bracelets, rings or pendants though its fragility makes the mineral difficult to shape without breaking it. It is also challenging to polish.
When worn as jewelry, hemimorphite protects the wearer against psychic attack. The stone’s fragility means that it should not be worn every day but only on special occasions. As with other delicate jewelry, store the mineral separately in its own pouch
Where Can Hemimorphite Be Found?
The mineral can be found anywhere that zinc deposits are found though gem quality pieces are rare. There are good deposits of hemimorphite in Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Italy, Poland and Russia. African deposits are fund in Algeria the Congo, Madagascar, and Namibia.
In Asia, it is found in Thailand. Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and Pennsylvania also have good hemimorphite specimens. It is possible to buy the mineral over the internet or in brick and mortar stores where healing crystals are for sale. Zinc mining does add to pollution, especially of bodies of water. However, some countries where zinc is mined are taking steps to reduce this.
Hemimorphite is a fascinating, rare mineral that not too many people know about. It can be extraordinarily beautiful in its natural state, and if care is taken, it can be polished into jewelry. When used in healing, it encourages the user’s compassion and ability to communicate. Read more about hemimorphite on the internet or find it in books on minerals in the library or bookstore.