HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Galena has been known since antiquity and has always been the most important source of lead. Its name is derived from the Latin galena, the Roman term for both lead ore and the impurities that float on the surface of smelted lead. Galena is found worldwide with major occurrences in Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Russia, China, and the United States (Missouri, Colorado, Idaho).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Galena [lead sulfide, PbS], pronounced gah-LEE-na, is the most abundant lead-containing mineral. It crystallizes in the cubic (isometric) system as clusters of lead-gray cubes or modified cubes with a distinct metallic luster. It has a Mohs hardness of 2.5, perfect cleavage in three directions, and a very high specific gravity of 7.4-7.6. It occurs primarily in hydrothermal vein and replacement deposits in association with such minerals as quartz, sphalerite, and pyrite.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Romans mined galena to provide lead for elaborate plumbing and water-supply systems. As the first semi-conducting material ever used, galena was the crystal in early “crystal-set” radio receivers. Galena is the official state mineral of Missouri and Wisconsin. According to modern metaphysical belief, galena is a grounding stone that aligns energies, stimulates smooth interaction with others, and opens pathways between physical and ethereal bodies. As the primary source of lead, galena is mined extensively.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Galena is widely collected for its perfection of cubic crystal form and interesting composite associations with such minerals as quartz, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, and pyrite.