Ernst Friedrich Glocker named Sphalerite in 1847. Sphalerite comes from a Greek word "sphaleros" that can mean treacherous or deceiving. This name stems from the difficulty of identifying Sphalerite, as it can be combined with many different minerals, appearing different in each specimen. Also, depending on the Iron content, Sphalerite can be nearly clear to totally black. Few minerals display such a range of transparency as Sphalerite.
Sphalerite is best identified by its shape. Commonly it takes on a tetrahedron shape, and these tetrahedra are grouped or ‘twinned’ together. Twinning is when crystals merge to form distinct, repeating shapes. Sphalerite's shape is caused by the Zinc and Sulphur atoms which are tetrahedrally coordinated in Sphalerite. Its structure is closely related to the diamond.
Sphalerite can be dull or have a resinous to adamantine luster. An 'Adamantine' luster is very brilliant and is only used to describe transparent minerals. Resinous is a term used to describe the luster of yellow to brown minerals. It has the shine of honey. Amber or certain Calcites will have a resinous luster.
Sphalerite Mineral Information
Variable formula: (Zn,Fe)S The chemical composition of Sphalerite is variable because the levels of iron (Fe) vary. It is often found in combination with other minerals as well such as Quartz, Calcite, Galena, Dolomite, Siderite and Fluorite.
Sphalerite is our primary source of Zinc, which an important alloy in the manufacturing of metals. We also use Zinc internally as a more natural remedy to colds or flus, as it helps to suppress viral infections. It also has topical use, as it is commonly found in sunscreen and skin protectants.
Sphalerite metaphysical properties
- Fluidity of expression
- Strength and Resilience
Protection, Discernment, Grounding
Sphalerite helps us to distinguish truth from fantasy. In this way, Sphalerite is a stone that protects us by helping us to protect ourselves. Its grounding properties keep us from being seduced by lofty promises and from deceiving ourselves; it helps us to avoid getting caught up in what is unrealistic or even impossible. When we are present and with a clear mind, we can see what is truly most valuable in our lives, and work to secure and protect these gifts.
As an energizing stone, Sphalerite is strongly connected to the energies of the earth and can help balance mental or spiritual overstimulation. Physically energizing stones can help balance an overactive mind and help us overcome intrusive or defeating thoughts. Sphalerite can be a reminder that when our mind is restless, getting up and moving will have a calming effect. This can be a good stone for those who are just bringing their yoga practice or fitness routine.
Sphalerite is a stone of earth and fire energy; it can be an excellent stone for stimulating passion, growing confidence and sparking creativity. This is especially effective when paired with a Carnelian, or any fiery crystal. Romantically, Thulite or Zoisite is a nice compliment.
- Chakra: The three lower chakras, primarily the root chakra.
- Element: Earth and fire
- Zodiac: Gemini
Complementary Stones and Crystals
Black Tourmaline, Smoky Quartz, Zincite, Carnelian