Smithsonite is a common natural zinc carbonate (ZnCO3), named after the famous English chemist and mineralogist James Smithson 1754-1829, who was the first to identify the new mineral composed of zinc ores. In its pure form smithsonite is white or colorless. Its color depends on the impurities and features extraordinary diversity.
Copper gives the mineral blue or greenish color. In the US, such stones similar to turquoise or chrysoprase are called bonamite. Smithsonite containing cobalt (warrenite) has a beautiful pink or purple color. A bright yellow variety, rich in cadmium is sometimes called “turkey ore.” Iron gives it a yellowish or brownish color (ferrosmithsonite). Spherulites are sometimes decorated with bright red inclusions of native copper. The mineral often fluoresces with green under UV light.
Smithsonite forms cryptocrystalline aggregates, spherulites, psevdo-stalactites or glassy crusts with banded coloring. Well-formed isometric crystals are rare. The mineral may be translucent to transparent; its hardness is 4.5-5.
Smithsonite is not considered to be a jewel, but thanks to a variety of bright colors, the mineral is sometimes used as a masonry product, and in jewelry. Its massive lumps or crusts are sawed parallel to the layers of growth, since in this direction the stone has the brightest coloring; it is often worked as cabochon for jewelry purposes.
It is believed that smithsonite makes a person more insightful, helping to drive and promote the spiritual growth. According to lithotherapists, this stone has a positive influence on the lymphatic system and promotes rapid healing of wounds.