04-06-2007 08:38

In New York City, a stunning 1,000-pound piece of stibnite crystal -- first discovered in China -- has gone on show. Visitors are flocking to the American Museum of Natural History to see what is considered the largest stibnite specimen on display in the world.

The crystal was originally discovered by miners in Jiangxi province in East China. The mineral is comprised of antimony and sulfur, and boasts knife-like crystals. The elements can be used to make flame retardants and engine bearings. Organizers say it is a miracle that the crystal has survived the mining process, as well as the long journey from China.

George Harlow, curator of Museum of Natural History, said, "Many Chinese minerals are being distributed around the world. Partially, the opening of China and the industrialization means that both the Chinese are becoming more aware of the mineral market and the people who collect minerals and mineral museums are more aware of what's available in China. So it's part of kind of a large education and I guess you call it kind of a globalization that's going on."

This crystal was likely formed 130 million years ago. It was created when water heated by volcanic activity dissolved antimony and sulfur, and flowed between layers of limestone. The crystal will be indefinitely displayed at the American Museum of Natural History.


Editor:Liu Fang