Nathan is a student who's going to visit my table this spring, and in advance of the visit he sent this lovely cinnabar sample. Cinnabar is the main ore of mercury: Simply heating it will drive off elemental mercury, which can then be condensed on a cold plate and collected. Mercury mines in Spain are famous for being so rich that liquid mercury can be seen literally dripping from the walls, but the bulk of it is bound up in cinnabar like this and must be roasted out.
(The cinnabar is the dark crystals, the rest is probably quartz or calcite.)
Source: Nathan Giguere
Contributor: Nathan Giguere
Acquired: 16 March, 2007
Text Updated: 9 May, 2007