AskDefine | Define stibnite

Dictionary Definition

stibnite n : a soft gray mineral; the chief ore of antimony

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A grey mineral, Sb2S3, that is the main ore of antimony; used in ancient times as the cosmetic kohl.



a grey mineral

Extensive Definition

Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the formula Sb2S3. It forms grey orthorhombic crystals of hardness 2. It is the most important source for the rare metaloid antimony.

Formation and structure

Stibnite is formed from antimony(III) compounds with hydrogen sulfide. This reaction gives a black precipitate:
2 Sb3+ + 3 H2S → Sb2S3 + 6 H+
This reaction is reversed by hydrochloric acid.
Stibnite is attacked by potassium hydroxide solution and dissolves in solutions of polysulfide ions to give polysulfido complexes. Related reactions were once used in university courses on qualitative inorganic analysis.
Stibnite has a structure similar to that of As2S3. The Sb(III) centers, which are pyramidal and three-coordinate, are linked via bent two-coordinate sulfide ions.


Stibnite is used to make fireworks, metal antifriction alloys, and batteries. It was used as mascara by Queen Jezebel of the Old Testament (2 Kings 9,30) and is an ingredient of safety matches.


Small deposits of stibnite are common; large deposits are rare. It occurs in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Japan, China, Germany, Romania, Italy, France, England, Algeria, and Kalimantan, Borneo. In the United States it is found in Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada, California, and Alaska. Large iridescent stibnite crystals are found in Japan.
As of May 2007, the largest specimen on public display (1000 pounds) is at the American Museum of Natural History.


External links

stibnite in Catalan: Estibina
stibnite in Czech: Antimonit
stibnite in German: Stibnit
stibnite in Spanish: Estibina
stibnite in French: Stibine
stibnite in Italian: Stibnite
stibnite in Hungarian: Antimonit
stibnite in Dutch: Stibniet
stibnite in Japanese: 輝安鉱
stibnite in Low German: Stibnit
stibnite in Polish: Antymonit
stibnite in Portuguese: Estibina
stibnite in Slovak: Antimonit
stibnite in Ukrainian: Антимоніт
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