- Calamine (mineral)
: "This article is about calamine in mineralogy. For calamine used in calamine lotion, see
calamine, for other uses of the word, see calamine (disambiguation)."
Calamine is a historic name for an
oreof zinc. The name "calamine" was derived from the Belgiantown of Kelmis, whose French name is "La Calamine", which is home to a zinc mine. In the 18th and 19th century large ore mines could be found near the German villageof Breinigerberg.
During the late 18th century it was discovered that what had been thought to be one ore was actually two distinct
The two minerals are usually very similar in appearance and can only be distinguished through
chemical analysis. The first to separate the minerals was the British chemist and mineralogist James Smithsonin 1803. In the miningindustry the term calamine is still used to refer to both minerals indiscriminately.
mineralogycalamine is no longer considered a valid term. It has been replaced by smithsonite and hemimorphite in order to distinguish it from the pinkish mixture of zinc oxide(ZnO) and iron(III) oxide(Fe2O3) used in calamine lotion (see: calamine).
Until the 18th century, "calamine" was essential for the production of
brasssince metallic zinc does not exist in nature and no technique was known to produce it. Brass produced using calamine is called calamine brass.
Calamine, a mixture used in calamine lotion
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