orpiment - display specimen of arsenic sulfide from the Getchell Mine
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orpiment - As2S3 - on matrix with minor realgar
Orpiment is a rare mineral. It was used for removing hair from skins. It is often associated with realgar, arsenic monosulfide, AsS. Both were used as pigments but are no longer because of their poisonous nature. Artificial arsenic sulfide instead of the mineral is now used in the preparation of skins. It still has commercial use in the manufacture of infrared-transmitting glass and semiconductors. In ancient China, it was used as a medicine.
The name orpiment comes from the Latin auripigmentum for golden paint. This was the primary golden yellow pigment available to artists until the development of cadmium and chromium yellows in the 19th century. This specimen was collected over 20 years ago at the Getchell Mine, an underground gold mine in the Potosi Mining District in Humboldt County, Nevada. At that time, gold was being mined from a zone that was rich in arsenic sulfide.
Orpiment is photosensitive, and will eventually dull when exposed to bright light, though specimens in our collection have been on a shelf for over 20 years with no apparent change.
Two views of the same specimen. Exercise caution when handling. Washing of hands is advised.
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