Cinnabar / Realgar Batch of Ucchusma Tsa Tsa

Our Cinnabar / Realgar Batch were made for our Dharma Friends in Hong Kong.

Cinnabar Batch Ucchusma Tsa Tsa

Cinnabar is generally found in a massive, granular or earthy form and is bright scarlet to brick-red in color. It occasionally occurs, however, in crystals with a non-metallic adamantine luster. Cinnabar has a rhombohedral bravais lattice, and belongs to the hexagonal crystal system, trigonal division. Its crystals grow usually in a massive habit, though they are sometimes twinned. The twinning in cinnabar is distinctive and forms a penetration twin that is ridged with six ridges surrounding the point of a pyramid. It could be thought of as two scalahedral crystals grown together with one crystal going the opposite way of the other crystal. The hardness of cinnabar is 2–2.5, and its specific gravity 8.1.

Cinnabar resembles quartz in its symmetry and certain of its optical characteristics. Like quartz, it exhibits birefringence. It has the highest refractive power of any mineral. Its mean index for sodium light is 3.08, whereas the index for diamond—a substance of remarkable refraction— is 2.42 and that for gallium (III) arsenide (GaAs) is 3.93.

Generally cinnabar occurs as a vein-filling mineral associated with recent volcanic activity and alkaline hot springs. Cinnabar is deposited by epithermal ascending aqueous solutions (those near surface and not too hot) far removed from their igneous source.

It is associated with native mercury, stibnite, realgar, pyrite, marcasite, opal, quartz, chalcedony, dolomite, calcite and barite.

Cinnabar is found in all localities that yield mercury, notably Puerto Princesa (Philippines); Almadén (Spain); New Almaden (California); Hastings Mine and St. John’s Mine, Vallejo, California; Idrija (Slovenia); New Idria (California); Giza, Egypt; Landsberg, near Obermoschel in the Palatinate; Ripa, at the foot of the Apuan Alps and in the Mount Amiata (Tuscany); the mountain Avala (Serbia); Huancavelica (Peru); Murfreesboro, Arkansas; Terlingua (Texas); and the province of Guizhou in China, where fine crystals have been obtained. It was also mined near Red Devil, AK on the middle Kuskokwim River. Red Devil was named after the Red Devil cinnabar mine, a primary source of mercury.

Cinnabar is still being deposited at the present day from the hot waters of Sulphur Bank Mine in California and Steamboat Springs, Nevada


Traditional and historic use

Cinnabar was mined since Neolithic Age (Martín-Gil et al). During the Roman Empire it was mined both as a pigment (Vitruvius, DA VII; IV-V) (Pliny, HN; XXXIII, XXXVI-XLII) and for its mercury content (Pliny HN; XXXIII, XLI), and it has been the main source of mercury throughout the centuries.

Cinnabar has been used for its color in the new world since the Olmec culture. Cinnabar was often used in royal burial chambers during the peak of Mayan civilization. The red stone was inserted into limestone sarcophagi, both as a decoration and, more importantly, to deter vandals and thieves with its well-known toxicity.

The most popularly known use of cinnabar is in Chinese carved lacquerware, a technique that apparently originated in the Song Dynasty. The danger of mercury poisoning may be reduced in ancient lacquerware by entraining the powdered pigment in lacquer, but could still pose an environmental hazard if the pieces were accidentally destroyed. In the modern jewelry industry, the toxic pigment is replaced by a resin-based polymer that approximates the appearance of pigmented lacquer.

In the Byzantine Empire, the Emperor and certain privileged bishops (such as the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Cyprus) were allowed the exclusive right of signing their names with ink colored vermilion by the addition of cinnabar.

Despite its toxicity, cinnabar has historically been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called zhūshā (朱砂).


Realgar Batch Ucchusma Tsa Tsa


α-As4S4, is an arsenic sulfide mineral, also known as “ruby sulphur” or “ruby of arsenic”. It was known as Sandarach to Aristotle. It is a soft, sectile mineral occurring in monoclinic crystals, or in granular, compact, or powdery form, often in association with the related mineral, orpiment (As2S3). It is orange-red in colour, melts at 320 °C, and burns with a bluish flame releasing fumes of arsenic and sulfur. Realgar is soft with a Mohs hardness of 1.5 to 2 and has a specific gravity of 3.5. Its streak is orange colored. It is trimorphous with alacranite and pararealgar.

Its name comes from Arabic رهج الغار rahj al-ġār – ‘powder of the mine,’ via Catalan, Middle Latin, and Middle English. It has been proposed that this arose through a misspelling of rahj al-fār (‘rat powder’, supposedly due to its use as a rodenticide), but this is unlikely given the amount of evidence for the ġ spelling


Realgar, orpiment, and arsenopyrite provide nearly all the world’s supply of arsenic as a byproduct of smelting concentrates derived from these ores.

Realgar was also used by firework manufacturers to create the color white in fireworks prior to the availability of powdered metals such as aluminium, magnesium and titanium. It is still used in combination with potassium chlorate to make a contact explosive known as “red explosive” for some types of torpedoes and other novelty exploding fireworks, as well in the cores of some types of crackling stars.

Traditional and historic uses

It was, along with orpiment, a significant item of trade in the ancient Roman Empire and was used as a pigment and a medicine. It was also used as a medicine in China and “is made up into household ornaments, such as wine pots, wine cups, images, paperweights, and various other kinds of ornaments and charms, to be kept near at hand in use, or worn about the person, with a view of warding off disease.”

Other traditional uses include manufacturing shot, printing and dyeing calico, and depilating and tanning hides.

On long exposure to light, realgar disintegrates into a reddish-yellow powder, requiring that specimens be protected from light exposure.









UCCHUSMA HK010 – Sold to Mr Stephen Young (USA)






To purchase and enquires, kindly send an email to


~ by ucchusma on May 18, 2010.

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