Program 2019

Minerals related to lead

Exhibition carried out by Mr. Alain Martaud
> Mineral Zone > Exhibition area in Val d’Argent Expo

Wulfénite, coll. Wendell Wilson, © Jeff Scovil-2Lead was associated with the God Saturn during Antiquity and the alchemists of the Middle Ages wanted to transmute this dull gray metal into brilliant gold. For lack of gold, silver was extracted from these ores, a source of great wealth…

Today the use of lead is not as intensive anymore in industry and it shows a sharp decline because of its toxicity. Yet for 7’000 years it has been used on a daily basis. Its secular mining is so numerous that it represents, thanks to the work of archaeologists, a remarkable history, science, and technology heritage. Its almost systematic association with other metals gives rise to a multitude of deposits that delight the metallogenists, geologists that specialize in the study of metal deposits.
fullsizeoutput_253cIn nature, lead combines with many metals and chemical elements that give a great range of minerals, nearly 427, taking on various appearances, sometimes very colorful and spectacular. Bright cubes of galena, notched wheels of bournonite, black hair of boulangerite will face the orange wulfenite tablets, the turf-looking pyromorphite, the fragile reticulated cerussites, all genuine crystallographic prodigies. The red of vanadinite will contrast to the deep blue of linarite….

Let’s finish on one of the mineralogy Grail: the cumengite; it was brought back during the 19th century by a French colonel stationed in the depths of the Mexican desert!
Lead minerals are particularly popular among connoisseurs; they are highly rated and very much in demand!
A whole world to explore…

Photos: © Alain Martaud


Logo-MNHN-Luxembourg 2The collections of: Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris, Musée Minéralogique de Mines ParisTech, Musée des Confluences de Lyon, Natur Musée du Luxembourg, Musée minéralogique de l’Université de Strasbourg, London Natural History Museum and many private collectors.

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