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The hemimorphic zincite mineral can form as a primary mineral (formed while the rock formed) or a secondary mineral, formed in oxidized areas of metamorphosed limestone and zinc ores. These types of zincite are rare and difficult to cut, which makes natural faceted zincite one of the most valuable gemstones.
Typical crystal forms and structures:
Zincite is a hemimorphic mineral with differing crystalline forms on each end, often with one pointed and one flattened. Smaller crystals have pyramidal faces with horizontal striation lines, while larger crystals are smooth and sometimes distorted or corroded.
The mineral can be found in many different environments, including as a primary mineral in metamorphosed zinc ore bodies or limestone; and as a secondary mineral in oxidized areas of sulfide ores. It occurs in a variety of colors, but the most common are red and pink.
Faceted natural zincite gemstones are generally $40-$65 per carat, whereas synthetic faceted zincite is around $10. Rough or mixed zincite cabochons are typically $5-$10 each, and rough crystal clusters are $0.20-$2.50 per carat.
Zincite can be fluorescent in certain conditions, primarily when combined with other minerals. This process, called iridescence, is caused by the interaction of a copper chromophore with the mineral. The resulting metallic iridescence is visible in some natural and laboratory-grown zincite crystals and can be very attractive for gem collectors.