THE MINERAL WULFENITE

  • Chemistry: PbMoO4, Lead Molybdate
  • Class: Sulfates
  • Uses: A minor ore of molybdenum and as mineral specimens.
  • Specimens

Wulfenite is a nice collection type mineral and is popular as such. Its strong colors, nice luster and one-of-a-kind crystal habits attract the attention of many collectors around the world.

Wulfenite is an enigma in terms of its symmetry. There are conflicting results of various symmetry tests and this usually does not happen. It is either a symmetry of 4 or 4/m. The difference is the disputed existence of a mirror plane perpendicular to the four fold axis. If the mirror exists, then the crystals should have a top that is a mirror image of its bottom. Although most crystals don't show it clearly, the bottom pyramidal faces slant at a different angle from the top pyramidal faces. This demonstrates the symmetry of just 4. However, other tests of its symmetry show a 4/m symmetry. This symmetrical oddity only adds to wulfenite's interest among serious collectors.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Color is red, orange, yellow, silver and white.
  • Luster is vitreous.
  • Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
  • Crystal System is tetragonal; 4/m or 4
  • Crystal Habits include very thin square or octahedral pinacoidal plates with pyramidal faces truncating just the edges of the crystal. At times the pyramids become prominant and psuedo-dipyramidal crystal habits are seen, sometimes because of twinning. Prismatic faces are also seen and can make psuedo-cubic crystals. Also encrusting and cavernous aggregates due to intergrowth of crystal plates.
  • Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
  • Fracture is conchoidal.
  • Hardness is 3.
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 6.8 (very heavy for translucent minerals)
  • Streak is white.
  • Associated Minerals are mimetite, limonite, smithsonite, vanadinite and galena.
  • Other Characteristics: index of refraction is 2.28-2.40 (very high, but typical of lead minerals).
  • Notable Occurances include Morocco; Tsumeb, Nambia; Mexico and Arizona and New Mexico, USA.
  • Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, density and luster.
This Site Awarded
Available WULFENITE specimens:
WULFENITE specimen WUL-36
$ 135.00 -75% = $ 33.75
Dims: 1.55x1.38x0.23" (3.93x3.51x0.58cm) .... Wt: 0.40oz (11.2g) .... Loc: Santa Cruz County, Arizona, USA
This impressively large crystal of wulfenite is yellow, transparent, and vitreous in the bottom two-thirds, and the top one third is brown, opaque and dull on one side. There are several small wulfenite crystals intergrown with the large one, and these provide most of the measured thickness of the specimen - the large blade is only about 2mm thick. The transparent portion of the crystal is criss-crossed with a network of fine white inclusions (I initially thought fractures, but my loupe reveals that most of the fracture lines are cloudy and may be growth artifacts), plus tiny black spots. Actually, it looks a lot like some amber specimens under the loupe).
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WUL-36
$ 33.75
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WULFENITE specimen WUL-44
$ 45.00 -50% = $ 22.50
Dims: 2.87x1.82x1.19in (7.29x4.61x3.02cm) .... Wt: 4.2oz (118g) .... Loc: Red Cloud Mine, La Paz County, Arizona, USA
There are a dozen nice crystals of orange wulfenite here, but only half of them are noteworthy without using a loupe. However, said loupe reveals hundreds of tiny crystals, including many in pockets scatterered throughout the specimen.
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WUL-44
$ 22.50
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WULFENITE specimen WUL-45
$ 45.00 -20% = $ 36.00
Dims: 2.41x1.75x0.85in (6.12x4.44x2.17cm) .... Wt: 3.7oz (105g) .... Loc: Red Cloud Mine, La Paz County, Arizona, USA
While there are at least 20 wulfenite crystals here, only one is large and nice - the remainder are small. All are orange and likely transparent. The largest, in the shape of a reversed stuby "L", shows excellent terminations, although it has a slightly rough surface pattern. It is undamaged. Use great care when opening this package so that it remains that way!
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WUL-45
$ 36.00
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WULFENITE specimen WUL-49
$ 30.00 -10% = $ 27.00
Dims: 1.54x0.85x0.39in (3.92x2.16x0.98cm) .... Wt: 0.44oz (12.5g) .... Loc: Los Lamentos, Chihuahua, Mexico
Coating both sides of a thin plate that might be goethite, the wulfenite of this specimen shows two primary appearances. On one side the crystals are larger and mostly brownish-orange, with excellent form and luster. On the reverse side the crystals are generally small and brown, tending to gray in areas which may simply be the goethite showing through.
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WUL-49
$ 27.00
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see this List of ALL specimens including SOLD ones
 

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