• Chemistry: Pb5(PO4)3Cl , Lead Chlorophosphate
  • Class: Phosphates
  • Group: Apatite
  • Uses: as a minor ore of lead and mineral specimens
  • Specimens

Pyromorphite shares the same structure with apatite and therefore crystals of the two will have similar shapes. Pyromorphite also forms a chemical series with two other minerals; Mimetite (Pb5(AsO4)3Cl) and Vanadinite (Pb5(VO4)3Cl). This series is a little different than most chemical series which involve substitution of cations such as calcium for magnesium. Instead, this series substitutes its basic chemical units the anion groups; phosphate (PO4), arsenate (AsO4) and vanadate (VO4). Green Mimetite or yellow Pyromorphite can make identification between the two difficult, but usually pyromorphite is green and mimetite is yellow. Vanadinite is usually red. Pyromorphite's main characteristic is its unique crystal habit of stacked barrel shaped crystals that branch out in a way that is reminescent of some branching cactus varieties.


  • Color is typically green, but can also be yellow, orange and brown.
  • Luster is resinous to adamantine.
  • Transparency: Crystals are rarely transparent, but usually translucent.
  • Crystal System is hexagonal; 6/m
  • Crystal Habits include the typical barrel shaped hexagonal prism with the hexagonal pyramid and/or a pinacoid as a termination. A classic specimen of Pyromorphite shows its arborescent habit as described above. Also granular, reniform, encrusting and massive.
  • Cleavage is absent.
  • Fracture is uneven.
  • Hardness is 3.5 - 4.
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 7.0+ (very heavy for translucent minerals)
  • Streak is off white.
  • Associated Minerals are cerussite, limonite, galena and secondary lead deposit minerals.
  • Other Characteristics: Index of refraction is 2.05 (typically high for lead minerals) and crystal terminations can be hollowed out or pitted.
  • Notable Occurrences include Idaho and Pennsylvania, USA; Mapimi, Mexico; Germany; England and Australia.
  • Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, lack of transparency and density.
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PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-2
$ 22.00
Dims: 1-1/8" x 5/8" x 7/8"
Wt: approx. 12g
Chihuahua, Mexico
Scores of small, hexagonal prisms of Pyromorphite litter this Mexican specimen. They are tiny (1/16 in. long, average), and have the delightful pale green color that is so evident. The matrix has crystals on all sides of it in varying concentrations, and some of it is exposed. This is a good specimen for a collector who has a small space to fill.
no photo
pym-2 ($ 22.00)
Chihuahua, Mexico
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-3
$ 25.00
Dims: 2-3/8" x 1-1/2" x 7/8"
Wt: 1.7 oz
Idaho, U.S.A.
Though they are tiny(max. length 1/8"), there are lots of these miniscule Pyromorphite crystals on a matrix bed. They have the classic, pale grass-green color and hexagonal crystals with basal terminations. Their luster shows well, too- they're nice and shiny. There is one spot on the matrix rock that suggests damage, but few of the crystals are affected. This is likely a good piece for the younger collector.
no photo
pym-3 ($ 25.00)
Idaho, U.S.A.
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-6
$ 28.00
Dims: 1.9" x 1.7" x 1.4"(4.8 x 4.3 x 3.6 cm)
Wt: 4.34 oz.(123.2 g)
Broken Hill Mine, New South Wales, Australia
Though this specimen shows considerable damage, there is a lot of undamaged material, much of which has unusual formations. The specimen actually consists of part of a crust over 1.5"(3.8 cm) thick that is made up of intergrown Pyromorphite crystals and clusters. These crystals are colored a rather dull brown, are dimly translucent, and have an adamantine luster that seems to look out of place. They reach a maximum of about 0.5"(1.3 cm) and have reasonably good hexagonal prismatic form that tends to be longer and thinner than most Pyromorphite crystals that I have seen. There are only traces of a host rock, and no other material. One side of the specimen is badly damaged and the other side shows considerable damage, but as the specimen is nearly pure, it contains lots of Pyromorphite.
no photo
pym-6 ($ 28.00)
Broken Hill Mine, New South Wales, Australia
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-7
$ 50.00
Dims: 1.2" x 1.0" x 1.0"(3.0 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm)
Wt: 21.8 g
Parasol Vug, Rum Jungle, Northern Territories, Australia
This delightful thumbnail specimen consists of the standard short, hexagonal prismatic crystals of yellow-green Pyromorphite that we all know and love. These crystals range in size from one or two millimeters to over 0.2"(5 mm) in length and diameter. One particular crystal that is a bit difficult to see has these dimensions. It is uncommonly large, much more so than the rest of the crystals. It and one other crystal in the cluster show a slight warping of form, so that it appears that each of their basal termination faces has a triangular "hole" penetrating down into it. All of these crystals are translucent and all have a waxy to dull luster that may be caused by a very thin rusty coating on them, which is likely made up of limonite. There is no host rock except for a small amount of what appears to be goethite lodged among the smaller crystals on the specimen's underside, which are heavily rust-stained. The specimen is affixed inside a specimen box with a removable putty.
no photo
pym-7 ($ 50.00)
Parasol Vug, Rum Jungle, Northern Territories, Australia
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-8
$ 400.00
Dims: 2.1" x 1.1" x 1.0"(5.3 x 2.8 x 2.5 cm)
Wt: 2.53 oz. (71.7 g)
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
Likely the finest-quality Pyromorphite specimen that I have seen, this piece consists of a cluster of large, heavily intergrown crystals. They are in excellent condition, showing only a small amount of damage along the specimen's edges and in one spot at its center, and have excellent hexagonal prismatic form with disjointed but complete terminations made up of several tiny, trigonal pyramids on the ends of each crystal. Their size is impressive; the largest crystal measures 0.4" (1.0 cm) long x 0.3" (0.8 cm), and many exceed 0.3" in length. All have a golden coloration and a bright, subadamantine luster, and are translucent. The crystals grow on both sides of two very thin crusts that at one point appear to be nearly parallel, and their intergrowth holds them together. There are also crystals of a white mineral visible on one of the crusts, but they seem to be heavily worn and are only partially complete and visible, so I cannot identify them. This is truly a beautiful piece.
no photo
pym-8 ($400.00)
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-9
$ 45.00
Dims: 1.2" x 0.8" x 0.7" (3.0 x 2.0 x 1.8 cm)
Wt: 24.5 g
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
Though somewhat malformed due to intergrowth, the Pyromorphite crystals that make up this thumbnail specimen are quite attractive. The largest of these has a rough hexagonal cross-section and dimensions of 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.3" (1.3 x 0.8 x 0.8 cm). All have a color that ranges from a greenish yellow to a moderate golden and are translucent. Their luster is bright and nearly adamantine on their discernable faces. There is a small amount of dark brown limonite present in some of the crevices, but the specimen is nearly 100% Pyromorphite by weight.
no photo
pym-9 ($ 45.00)
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-10
$ 100.00
Dims: 0.9" x 0.9" x 0.8" (2.3 x 2.3 x 2.0 cm)
Wt: 25.3 g
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
There are many small Pyromorphite crystals on this thumbnail specimen, and although they are rather heavily intergrown, their hexagonal prismatic form is quite visible and very good. It is difficult to assess the number of crystals on the specimen, as many of them are intergrown into "parallel associations", so that some of them appear to be both single crystals and multiple crystals that are intergrown parallel and symmetrical to each other. The largest individual crystal on the piece has dimensions of 0.5 x 0.2 x 0.2" (1.3 x 0.5 x 0.5 cm), and has a pale orange brown coloration that is different from the yellow-green color of most of the crystals. A few of them show the presence of both colors. They all show a bright, nearly adamantine luster, and are cloudy and translucent. There is only a very small amount of limonite/goethite host rock present, and the piece is generally in very good condition, though there are a few crystals that are obviously broken and incomplete.
no photo
pym-10 ($100.00)
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-11
$ 110.00
Dims: 3.9 x 3.4 x 2.4" (9.9 x 8.6 x 6.1 cm)
Wt: 1 lb., 5.1 oz. (598 g)
Blackbird Canyon, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
This hand specimen consists of mostly Pyromorphite by weight. The Pyromorphite occurs as crusts of rounded, partly intergrown crystals that appear almost botryoidal, resembling some Smithsonite specimens that I have seen. These formations are generally in excellent condition, showing only a small amount of human-induced damage. Individual nodules do not exceed 0.1" (3 mm) in diameter, and though they are heavily rounded, close examination under a magnifier will reveal the presence of curved but definable crystal faces. Many of the crystals have a dull orange color and a bright, almost adamantine luster. However, a large number of them have pale brown coloration and a much duller, waxy to matte luster that are caused by a coating of an unknown material. These crusts grow on what appear to be shards of sandstone, though some almost seem to have crystalline shapes.
no photo
pym-11 ($110.00)
Blackbird Canyon, Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho, U.S.A.
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-12
$ 25.00
Dims: 1.3 x 1.1 x 0.6" (3.4 x 2.7 x 1.6 cm)
Wt: 0.4 oz. (11 g)
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Idaho, U.S.A.
This small, branching thumbnail piece consists of pieces of a dull, brown base rock that have been cemented together by a Pyromorphite crust. This crust is made up of scores of intergrown crystals that are generally in excellent condition and do not exceed 0.1" ( 3 mm) in length. All have excellent hexagonal prismatic form and show a yellow to dull brown color and the standard adamantine luster. The piece has been broken out of a plastic thumbnail box, which is included, and can easily be re-glued into place.
no photo
pym-12 ($ 25.00)
Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Idaho, U.S.A.
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-13
$ 120.00
Dims: 1.7x1.9x0.9" (4.3x4.9x2.2 cm)
Wt: 2.3 oz. (64.2g)
Gulin, Guanjshi Province, China
This beautiful little specimen is composed almost entirely of (slightly yellow-) green pyromorphite. The crystals on the front are large (up to 3 or 4mm in length) for pyromorphite, while those on the back tend to be smaller, down to a fine druzy appearance, and with a color a bit more yellowish and tending towards a brownish-green. The damage on this specimen (primarily where it was separated from its neighbors) is almost difficult to see, as it takes the form of a thin line of cleaved crystals and some barely visible blades of the underlying host rock.
no photo
pym-13 ($120.00)
Gulin, Guanjshi Province, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-14
$ 600.00
Dims: 2.6x3.2x2.2" (6.6x8.1x5.5cm)
Wt: 14.66 oz. (414.9g)
Dao Ping Mine, Yang Suo Guang Xi Province, China
This is a wonderful and large pyromorphite specimen. The crystals are translucent, and most of them are the preferred pale-olive-green, although there is a smooth shading to a pale gray-green towards one side of the base of the specimen. The crystals individually have the classic pyromorphite shape (sometimes described as tapered pseudo-hexagonal barrel shaped), although the arborescent branching is not here. Rather, many crystals simply rise from the matrix, and others are in somewhat radial clusters. Some of the crystals are curved and approach 2cm in length. At one end (or the top, depending upon your viewpoint) there is a relatively large cluster creating a "C" shaped specimen. There is a large amount of pyromorphite here, and the crystals are relatively large. They are undamaged, except at the edges, although there is an odd pattern in the center of the largest cluster making it look like some central crystals are missing, and some bent. My examination suggests that if this happened, it was during the formation of the specimen, as the crystals are all firmly attached and there is no sign of cleavage or parting. It is possible that some other mineral interferred with crystal growth, and since disolved away. In any case, this is a great cabinet specimen of pyromorphite.
no photo
pym-14 ($600.00)
Dao Ping Mine, Yang Suo Guang Xi Province, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-15
$ 75.00
Dims: 1.18x0.98x0.98" (3.0x2.5x2.5cm)
Wt: 0.71oz. (20.0g)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
This pretty specimen both presents well, and has a perfect pyromorphite green color (a lime green, lightened with a yellow tint). Some of the pyromorphite is more yellow-green, but green is dominant. The crystals are well-formed and barrel shaped, with the ends somewhat larger than the base on each crystal. There is very little of a branching habit, as most of the crystals appear to radiate from the host rock. Only a couple of the crystals show any damage, and these do not significantly detract from the specimen.
no photo
pym-15 ($ 75.00)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-16
$ 70.00
Dims: 3.16x2.55x1.55" (8.03x6.48x3.93cm)
Wt: 3.82oz (108.0g)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
Numerous small barrell shaped or hexagonal crystals of green pyromorphite cover much of the surface of a cluster of white quartz crystals. With the aid of a loupe, the individual pyromorphite crystals (the largest of which are over 1mm wide and 2mm long) are seen to be very well-formed, translucent, and have good luster and an excellent green color. In some areas, the pyromorphite is dull and brownish-green, but most of it has the high luster and light green color that one expects.
no photo
pym-16 ($ 70.00)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-20
$ 35.00
Dims: 1.23x1.16x0.68" (3.11x2.95x1.74cm)
Wt: 0.42oz (11.8g)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
This is a lovely little specimen of pyromorphite. It has the classic yellow-green color, although a pit more pale than the best specimens, plus the color fades towards a light yellow-brown near the base an on a few of the crystals that once had additional attachment points. The crystals are hexagonal, often wider towards the top, and mostly have flat terminations. Only a few of the crystals show any damage.
no photo
pym-20 ($ 35.00)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-17
$ 65.00
Dims: 1.28x1.19x1.02" (3.24x3.03x2.60cm)
Wt: 1.15oz (32.5g)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
The pyromorphite in this specimen is organized as a dense branching tree of relatively pale green, translucent barrel shaped crystals, tapered smaller at the ends. Some of the crystals have a clear hexagonal cross section, and the terminations are slightly concave. Some of the crystals have hues trending towards yellows and browns, but most are a nice pale yellow-green.
no photo
pym-17 ($ 65.00)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-18
$ 55.00
Dims: 1.66x1.25x0.78" (4.22x3.17x1.97cm)
Wt: 1.49oz (42.3g)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
These light green crystals of pyromorphite have the typical hexagonal barrel shapes, translucent appearance, vitreous luster, and concave terminations of pyromorphite. The presentation is relatively close to the host rock - there is very little of a branching tree appearance. Close examination reveals that some of the smaller crystals are yellowish, some colorless, and some brown (especially on the bottom). Indeed, the host rock appears to be mostly pyromorphite, with an addition of a brown mineral and a white one. There are at least two small areas of damage on the front where crystals fractured, although it takes a close examination to find them.
no photo
pym-18 ($ 55.00)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-19
$ 40.00
Dims: 1.85x1.00x0.63" (4.71x2.53x1.60cm)
Wt: 1.18oz (33.5g)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
This pyromorphite is a darker green than usual, the color reminds me of heulandite. These crystals do have the tpical hexagonal barrel shapes, and are translucent, and the crystals are either a deep green or brown in color. The brown appears to be due to inclusions - the brown crystals are opaque and a little more weathered in appearance, otherwise looking just like the green ones. These crystals have more of a jagged termination. Most of the crystals on the bottom are brown, and many on top have a brown cast which appears to be due to a coating of limonite. Several crystals show a sharp transition from opaque brown to translucent green. The specimen is nearly pure pyromorphite, and I don't even see an attachment point, yet the form is a branching tree (well, it is so dense that I would rather describe it as a "shrub").
no photo
pym-19 ($ 40.00)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
PYROMORPHITE specimen pym-21
$ 30.00
Dims: 1.28x1.05x0.45" (3.24x2.66x1.14cm)
Wt: 0.38oz (10.8g)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China
A beautiful little specimen of pyromorphite, it displays clusters of hexagonal barrel shaped crystals with slightly concave terminations. Their translucent crystals have a color that is a slightly yellowish pale green, with a vitreous luster. The specimen is nearly pure pyromorphite, although there is a thin layer of something (or some things) that forms a surface on which the crystals formed. I do not know what the host material is. There are several minerals present, possibly including cerussite.
no photo
pym-21 ($ 30.00)
Tong Ping Mine, Guang Xi Provence, China


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