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Formula:   HgS   mineral photo

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Crystal:   Hexagonal  
Hardness:   2-2.5  
Spec. Gr.:   8.09  
Streak:   Scarlet to red brown  
Cleavage:   Perfect Prismatic  
Location:   Tung-Jen, China  

Cinnabar was known to the Chinese as early as 1600 BC. From the Yin Dynasty Cinnabar Dansha was used in dyes and paints. In "Informal Records of Famous Physicians," written by Tao Hong-Jing (late Liang Dynasty 456-536 AD) cinnabar was used in alchemy and medicine. Even today, cinnabar crystals resembling pomegranate seeds or arrowheads may be purchased in pharmacies in China and Hong Kong for treatment of stomach disorders. The best Chinese crystals come from Tongren County of Guizhou Province and Fenghuang County of Hunan Province. Cinnabar crystals of fine quality are found in profusion at the Wan-Shan-Ch'ang mine near Tung-Jen China. Many cinnabar crystal matrix form with bright druses of quartz crystals.

Bibliography: Kai-wen, Ren, Minerals in China, Museum of Geology, Beijing, China, People's Republic of China. Interestingly there is no date of publication in English.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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