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Gemstones 250x250

The Mineral tellurium

Tellurium with Sylvanite

Native Tellurium is very rare. Only small quantities have been found in a natural state, and it is only of interest to the collector. Due to its rarity, Tellurium specimens are highly sought after by collectors.

Chemical Formula

Te

Color

Tin-white, usually with a light pinkish-yellowish tarnish

Crystal System

Hexagonal

Properties

Streak
Tin-white
Hardness
2 - 2.5
Transparency
Opaque
Specific Gravity
6.1 - 6.3
Luster
Metallic
Cleavage
2,1 - prismatic ; 3,1 - basal
Fracture
Uneven
Tenacity
Brittle
Other ID Marks
Oxidation causes a slightly yellowish and/or pinkish hue.

Crystal Habits

Usually massive, but also in thin veins, and more rarely in thin, prismatic, hexagonal crystals.

Additional Information

Composition
Tellurium, sometimes with some iron, selenium, gold, and silver
In Group
Native Elements; Semi-Metallic Elements
Striking Features
Tin-white color with slight yellowish-pinkish tarnish, unusual crystal habit, and specific localities.
Environment
In hydrothermal deposits and ore veins.
Rock Type
Metamorphic

Other Names

Native Tellurium

Uses

Native Tellurium is very uncommon, and is only occasionally used as an ore of tellurium where other tellurium minerals occur. Nevertheless, the uses of the element tellurium are briefly mentioned: Tellurium is used industrially for thermoelectric apparatuses and in the process of creating rubber. It is also used medically, and as a coloring for glass. Another use is as a gasoline additive to to reduce engine knock.

Noteworthy Localities

Tellurium is rare, and its localities are limited. Specimens have come from Fata Bali in the Transylvania, Romania; and Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. It has also been found in Japan in the Kawazu mine, Rendaiji, in Shizuoka Prefecture; and in Uzbekistan at the Kochbulak Deposit, near Angren, Tashkent Province. The Emperor Mine in Vatukoula, Viti Levu, Fiji has been perhaps the most famous locality for this mineral, together with Moctezuma, Sonora, Mexico. Also in Sonora, Mexico is the locality of Cananea.

In the U.S., the most famous Tellurium locality is Cripple Creek, Teller Co., Colorado. Other Colorado occurrences are the Jamestown District and the Gold Hill District, both in Boulder Co. Tellurium has also been found in Lincoln Co., Nevada, and in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties, California.

Common Mineral Associations

Quartz, Sylvanite, Calaverite, Gold, Silver, Poughite

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Bismuth - Darker color (except on freshly exposed surfaces), higher specific gravity.

tellurium Photos



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