• Chemistry: Pb, Elemental Lead
  • CLASS: Elements
  • GROUP: Gold
  • Uses: Only as mineral specimens. However, processed lead has many uses.
  • Specimens

Lead is extremely rare as a mineral, though the element itself somewhat common. The element lead is found in the Earth's crust in concentration of about 13 parts per billion. Not exactly the most common element, however as a very important metal it is fortunate that lead often concentrates itself in ore bodies of galena, cerussite, anglesite and minium.

The element lead does not lend itself well to form crystals of its own and thus the mineral lead is only rarely seen. It has been found with gold in placer deposits and in unusual metamorphosed limestones and marbles. It is far too rare to be a serious ore of lead.

Lead has an almost white color and is very soft, capable of being scratched by a fingernail. With its metallic luster and high density the mineral lead can not be easily confused for any other mineral.

Lead ore was found in Colorado as a result of an early gold rush. The lead ore contained a significant percentage of silver, and was mined for that purpose and led to the founding of the mining town, Leadville. In addition to producing 240,000 ounces of silver, the mines produced nearly a billion tons of lead and more than a half-billion tons of zinc.



  • Color is a whitish gray.
  • Luster is metallic.
  • Transparency is opaque.
  • Crystal System is isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
  • Crystal Habits include small flat platelets and small grains
  • Cleavage is absent.
  • Fracture is jagged.
  • Streak is gray.
  • Hardness is 1.5
  • Specific Gravity is 11.3+ (very heavy even for metallic minerals)
  • Associated Minerals include gold, calcite and hematite.
  • Other Characteristics: ductile, malleable and sectile, meaning it can be pounded into other shapes, stretched into a wire and cut into slices.
  • Notable Occurrences includes Franklin, New jersey, USA; Harstig Mine, Sweden; Vera Cruz, Mexico and in placer mines especially in the Ural Mountains of Russia. In the past, the Leadville Mining District in Colorado, USA was a major producer of lead - nearly a billion tons.
  • Best Field Indicators are color, density, hardness, luster and ductility.
LEAD specimens:
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LEAD specimen lea-1
$ 200.00
Dims: 1.5" x 1.5" x 1.2" (3.8 x 3.8 x 3.0 cm)
Wt: 2.49 oz. (70.8 g)
Langban, Sweden
Though it is quite difficult to see due to a substantial coating of massicot, a lead oxide, there are a few small patches of bright, native Lead visible on this specimen, along with what appears to be some massive quartz. What material is visible seems to have a darker color than I was told to expect, but this may have to do with a thin, layer of tarnishing oxide. Close examination shows that there are many small, massicot-encrusted formations on thse specimen that are actually platelets of Lead! Where visible, they have a dull, dark-gray coloration and an equally dull luster. The specimen's density is the key factor- I have only examined a few other specimens that weighed as much as this one and were so small. Its locality is also well-known for producing lead in its elemental form.
no photo
lea-1 ($200.00)
Langban, Sweden
LEAD specimen lea-2
$ 90.00
Dims: 0.7 x 0.7 x 0.4" (1.9 x 1.9 x 1.0 cm)
Wt: 4 g
Langban, Sweden
This small thumbnail piece consists of a shapeless chunk of native Lead. The lead has an uneven surface that is covered in tiny pits and has a dark gray color and a dull luster. Portions of its surface are dusted with what appears to be massicot, a white lead oxide.
no photo
lea-2 ($ 90.00)
Langban, Sweden
LEAD specimen lea-3
$ 60.00
Dims: 0.8 x 0.6 x 0.4" (2.0 x 1.5 x 1.0 cm)
Wt: 5 g
Lalngban, Sweden
A misshapen chunk of native Lead makes up this thumbnail specimen. It shows no evidence of crystal form whatsoever, but is in excellent condition, showing no fresh damage, either. Its surface has a moderate gray color and its luster is completely dull. A few tiny bits of massicot are scattered about its surface, but there is no base or host material present.
no photo
lea-3 ($ 60.00)
Lalngban, Sweden
LEAD specimen lea-4
$ 98.00
Dims: 1.26x1.10x0.75" (3.2x2.8x1.9cm)
Wt: 0.62oz. (17.6g)
Nord Mine, Garpenberg, Sweden
This large thumbnail contains a fair amount of native lead. The bulk of the specimen appears to be a black/green mica, and coating parts of this is the very light gray lead. Under a loupe, the lead is readily identified, as it almost looks like a gray wax coating with a dull luster, having no indications of crystal form (other than the false form where other crystals were removed to expose the lead). There are several tiny yellow-green crystals of anglesite present, as well.
no photo
lea-4 ($ 98.00)
Nord Mine, Garpenberg, Sweden
LEAD specimen lea-5
$ 57.00
Dims: 1.44x0.95x0.58" (3.65x2.43x1.47cm)
Wt: 0.63oz (17.7g)
Nerd Mine, Garpenberg, Sweden
The light gray lumps at one end of this specimen are naturally occuring lead. They are not very appealing, and comprize only a tiny part of the mass of this specimen, although additional lead may be present, of course. A loupe reveals additional tiny grains that are likely lead in other places on the specimen, visible largely by their dull and rounded appearance. The host rock appears to contain multiple minerals including a mica. Some of the crystals are lustrous, striated, and bluish. The specimen does not seem dense enough to have an appreciable fraction of lead compounds such as anglesite.
no photo
lea-5 ($ 57.00)
Nerd Mine, Garpenberg, Sweden


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