Smithsonite Vs. Hemimorphite

August 27th 2021

Smithsonite is often confused with Hemimorphite, despite the particularities that each of these two minerals displays.

Smithsonite and Hemimorphite were believed to be the same mineral until 1803 when James Smithson, the British chemist, and mineralogist described them as two distinct ones:

  • Smithsonite -Zinc Carbonate
  • Hemimorphite - Zinc Silicate

Distinguishing Smithsonite from Hemimorphite implies knowing their basic properties that can help you identify your stone and avoid further confusion.

Some collectors recommend the following test to distinguish Smithsonite from Hemimorphite: place a small piece of the mineral into 10% hydrochloric acid; if you notice CO2 bubbles, it's Smithsonite; if it dissolves, becoming gel-like, it's Hemimorphite.

Smithsonite's Properties

  • Chemical composition: Zinc Carbonate
  • Appearance: usually found in globular or botryoidal aggregate form
  • Deposits: some of the most significant ones are in Namibia, Zambia, Australia, Italy, Greece, Spain, Mexico, and the USA.
  • Coloration: shades of blue, green, or turquoise depending on the amounts of zinc and other trace impurities.
  • Clarity: typically translucent to opaque
  • Luster: when polished, is vitreous, in aggregate form is pearly and often banded.
  • Hardness: 5 on the Mohs scale

Metaphysical properties: crystal therapists use this mineral to relax an overactive mind because it radiates peaceful, calming energy. It is a great tool for meditation and other spiritual practices because it helps to resonate with high-frequency energies. It is also helpful during tarot readings, psychic readings, or I Ching; it promotes telepathic communication and activates psychic abilities

Hemimorphite's Properties

Hemimorphite is a relatively rare mineral; we can distinguish it from other similar minerals such as Smithsonite, knowing its physical and chemical properties.

  • Chemical composition: Zinc Silicate.
  • Appearance: grained, fibrous, tabular crystals, sheaf-like or fan-like aggregates, stalactitic, botryoidal.
  • Deposits: Belgium, Germany, Poland, North Africa, and the USA
  • Hardness: 4.5-5 on the Mohs scale
  • Coloration: white, brownish, rarely pink or light blue
  • Luster: vitreous, rarely silky

Metaphysical properties: energy healers use it mainly to promote spiritual growth and transformation. It radiates uplifting energy, balances male-female energies, resonates with the Crown Chakra, Third Eye and Throat Chakras, and facilitates communication with Spirit Guides and Angelic Entities.