Formula: Bi

Species: Native Elements

Colour: Reddish-white to creamy-white; tarnishes iridescent pinkish, yellowish or bluish

Lustre: Metallic

Hardness: 2 – 2½

Specific Gravity: 9.7 – 9.83

Crystal System: Trigonal

Member of: Arsenic Group. Although long thought to be stable, bismuth, as an element, was shown to be weakly radioactive, with an enormously long half-life period.

Name: As a chemical element Bismuth was officially discovered in 1753 by French scientist Claude Geoffroy. The origin of the name comes from the German words Weisse Masse meaning white mass. However, around 1400 the element name is already present in some scientific treaties. In fact before Geoffroy, also the Swiss scientist Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493 – 1541) better known as Paracelsus, mentioned the word “Bisemutum”.

Type Locality: Schneeberg, Erzgebirgskreis, Saxony – Germany