Home Minerals Stibnite


Stibnite is a sulfide minerals with chemical composition is antimony sulfide (Sb2S3). The principal ore of antimony. Lead-gray to silvery gray in color, it often develops a black, iridescent tarnish on exposure to light. It normally occurs as elongated, prismatic crystals that may be bent or twisted. These crystals are often marked by striations parallel to the prism faces. Stibnite typically forms coarse, irregular masses or radiating sprays of needlelike crystals, but it can also be granular or massive. A widespread mineral, stibnite occurs in hydrothermal veins, hot-spring deposits, and replacement deposits that form at low temperatures (up to 400°F/200°C). It is often associated with galena, cinnabar, realgar, orpiment, pyrite, and quartz. It is found in massive aggregates in granite and gneiss rocks. Stibnite is used to manufacture matches, fireworks, and percussion caps for firearms. Powdered stibnite was used in the ancient world as a cosmetic for eyes to make them look larger.

Mineral Group: Forms a series with bismuthinite.

Polymorphism & Series: Dimorphous with metastibnite.

Association: Realgar, orpiment, cinnabar, galena, lead sulfantimonides, pyrite, marcasite, arsenopyrite, cervantite, stibiconite, calcite, ankerite, barite, chalcedonic quartz.

Crystallography: Orthorhombic; dipyramidal. Slender prismatic habit, prism zone vertically striated. Crystals often steeply terminated. Crystals sometimes curved or bent. Often in radiating crystal groups or in bladed forms with prominent cleavage. Massive, coarse to fine granular.

Composition: Antimony trisulfide, Sb2S3. Sb = 71.4 percent, S = 28.6 percent. May carry small amounts of gold, silver, iron, lead, copper

Diagnostic Features: Characterized by its easy fusibility, bladed habit, perfect cleavage in one direction, lead-gray color, and soft black streak.

Chemical Properties

Chemical Classification Sulfide mineral
Chemical Composition Sb2S3

Physical Properties of Stibnite

Color Lead-gray, tarnishing blackish or iridescent; in polished section, white
Streak Similar to color
Luster Splendent on fresh crystals surfaces, otherwise metallic
Cleavage Perfect Perfect on {010}, imperfect on {100}{110}
Diaphaneity Opaque
Mohs Hardness 2
Specific Gravity 4.63
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Tenacity Flexible
Fracture Sub-Conchoidal
Density 4.63 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.625 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Stibnite Optical Properties

Type Anisotropic
Anisotropism Strong
Twinning Rare

Stibnite Occurrence

It is deposited by alkaline waters, usually in association with quartz. Found in quartz veins or beds in granite and gneiss with few other minerals present. May occur as a replacement in limestones and shales, probably owing its origin to hot-spring deposits. Often associated with intrusive rocks. Associated with other antimony minerals, as the products of its decomposition, and with galena, cinnabar, sphalerite, barite, realgar, orpiment, and gold.

Stibnite Uses

Pastes of Sb2S3 powder in oil or other substances ca. Eye cosmetics within the center East are 3000 BC and more; on this embodiment, Sb2S3 is called kohl. It turned into used to darken eyebrows and eyelashes or to attract a line across the eyes.

Antimony trisulphite finds use in pyrotechnic compositions, i.e., glitter and fountain mixtures. Needle-like crystals, “chinese language Needle”, are utilized in glitter compositions and white pyrotechnic stars. The “darkish Pyro” model is used to increase the sensitivity of flash powders and make clear their reviews. it is also a factor of modern safety mappings. It had previously been used in flash compositions, but was abandoned because of its sensitivity and toxicity to static power.

The 17th-century alchemist Eirenaeus Philalethes, also known as George Starkey, explains his alchemy legend within the statement of the instant on the Reminder of Sir George Ripley. Starkey used stibnite as a pioneer of philosophical mercury, a hypothetical forerunner of the truth seeker’s stone itself.


The most important ore of antimony, although large deposits are rare. The following localities have produced outstanding crystallized material.

  • In the USA, at the White Caps mine, Manhattan district, Nye Co., and the Murray mine, Independence Mountains district, Elko Co., Nevada.
  • From the San Jose and other mines, Oruro, Bolivia.
  • In Germany, at Wolfsberg, Harz Mountains, and near Arnsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • At Kremnica (Kremnitz) and Bansk´a Stiavnica (Schemnitz), Slovakia.
  • From Prıbram, Czech Republic.
  • At Baia Sprie and Herja (Kisb anya), Baia Mare (Nagyb´anya) district, Romania.
  • In France, at Massaic, Cantal; and at La Lucette, Mayenne.
  • At the Kusa mine, near Bau, Sarawak, Malaysia.
  • From Thames, New Zealand.
  • At Bahar-Lou, near Hamadan, Iran.
  • From Kadamzhay, Kyrgyzstan.
  • Magnificent groups of crystals in the Ichinokawa mine, near Saijo, Ehime Prefecture (Iyo Province), Japan.
  • In China, from the Xikuangshan mine, northeast of Lengshuijiang, Hunan Province


  • Bonewitz, R. (2012). Rocks and minerals. 2nd ed. London: DK Publishing.
  • Handbookofmineralogy.org. (2019). Handbook of Mineralogy. [online] Available at: http://www.handbookofmineralogy.org [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
  • Mindat.org. (2019). Stibnite: Mineral information, data and localities.. [online]
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