Bismuth

Lost World Caverns

Regular price $5.00 Sale

Bismuth is a brittle metal with a white, silver-pink hue, often occurring in its native form, with an  iridescent oxide tarnish showing many colors from yellow to blue. The spiral, stair-stepped structure of bismuth crystals is the result of a higher growth rate around the outside edges than on the inside edges. The variations in the thickness of the oxide layer that forms on the surface of the crystal causes different wavelengths of light to interfere upon reflection, thus displaying a rainbow of colors.                                                                                                                      Bismuth metal has been known since ancient times, although it was often confused with lead and tin, which share some physical properties. The etymology is uncertain, but possibly comes from Arabic bi ismid, meaning having the properties of antimony or the German words weiße Masse or Wismuth ("white mass"), translated in the mid-sixteenth century to New Latin bisemutum.Bismuth is used in cosmetics, pigments, and a few pharmaceuticals, notably bismuth subsalicylate, used to treat diarrhea.