Uses for Antimony

Apr 29, 2015
Incredible stibnite crystals jut from every direction Stibnite, 16.5 cm, from the Xikuangshan mine (the world’s largest antimony mine),
Lengshuijiang County, Loudi Prefecture, Hunan Province, China.

Minerals and crystals are often found by mistake while companies are mining for other resources. Stibnite crystals are a great example as they are found while mining antimony.

What are some practical applications of antimony?

This brittle, silvery-white semimetal is used in a variety of plastics, rubbers, and paints. It also helps boost the flame-retardant properties of some textiles.

Where is antimony found?

The world's largest known deposit of antimony lies in Xikuangshan, Hunan Province, China. You might be familiar with Xikuangshan because it produces some of the world's most stunning stibnite crystals. At time of publication, Idaho has several non-operational mines that could potentially be reopened in the future.

What minerals are found in these antimony deposits?

The Xikuangshan mine produces many different types of minerals including calcite, fluorite, stibiconite, baryte, and the rare valentinite and cervantite. The Xikuangshan mine, however, is best known for the quality of stibnite crystals found in this region of China. Stibnite crystals for sale can range greatly in price, and because they have been plentiful lately, it's possible to find cheap stibnite crystals that are still in beautiful condition.

Are stibnite crystals valuable?

The amount of antimony that can be extracted from stibnite is often a very small fraction of the value of natural stibnite crystals as fine mineral specimens. The beauty of these crystals can result in prices reaching six and seven figures for large and extraordinary pieces, while the antimony value might only be several pennies worth.

What do stibnite crystals look like?

For those unfamiliar with stibnite, these crystals grow in shimmering, metallic blades. They are highly prized when found in clusters and many customers observe that they look like Superman's Kryptonite!

Most of the examples below are from Rob Lavinsky's personal collection of Chinese minerals. You can read his e-book online or browse the full gallery for additional images of Chinese minerals!

 

Learn more about antimony at the USGS Antimony Fact Sheet.