Smithsonite is a mineral, named after James Smithson, the founding donor of the Smithsonian.

The chemical name for smithsonite is zinc carbonate (ZnCO3), and it is one of a group of ores that yield the metal zinc. It was named in honor of Smithson because it was he who first identified the mineral in 1802.

This specimen (NMNH 143509), a gift from Mr. Leonard Wilkinson, is from the preeminent smithsonite locality in the United States: the Kelly mine in Magdalena district, Socorro County, New Mexico. It is 11 cm across, 7.5 cm high. Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution


  • Title: Smithsonite
  • Creator: Chip Clark

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