Last updated
Category Oxide minerals
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 4.DE.20
Crystal system Orthorhombic
Crystal class Dipyramidal (mmm)
H-M symbol: (2/m 2/m 2/m)
Space group Pbca
Unit cell a = 5.6  Å, b = 12.03 Å
c = 5.46 Å; Z = 8
ColorYellow to white
Crystal habit Flattened prismatic to acicular crystals, radiating groups; powdery, massive
Cleavage Perfect on {010}
Tenacity Flexible
Mohs scale hardness2
Luster Sub-adamantine
Diaphaneity Transparent to opaque
Specific gravity 5.88 - 5.92
Optical propertiesBiaxial (-)
Refractive index nα = 2.000 nβ = 2.180 nγ = 2.350
Birefringence δ = 0.350
Solubility Slight in water
References [1] [2] [3]

Tellurite is a rare oxide mineral composed of tellurium dioxide (Te O 2).

It occurs as prismatic to acicular transparent yellow to white orthorhombic crystals. It occurs in the oxidation zone of mineral deposits in association with native tellurium, emmonsite and other tellurium minerals. Its name comes from Tellus, which is the Latin name for the planet Earth. [2] [3]

It was first described in 1842 because of an occurrence in Faţa Băii, Zlatna, Alba County, Romania. [3]

Related Research Articles

Chalcogen Group of chemical elements

The chalcogens are the chemical elements in group 16 of the periodic table. This group is also known as the oxygen family. It consists of the elements oxygen (O), sulfur (S), selenium (Se), tellurium (Te), and the radioactive element polonium (Po). The chemically uncharacterized synthetic element livermorium (Lv) is predicted to be a chalcogen as well. Often, oxygen is treated separately from the other chalcogens, sometimes even excluded from the scope of the term "chalcogen" altogether, due to its very different chemical behavior from sulfur, selenium, tellurium, and polonium. The word "chalcogen" is derived from a combination of the Greek word khalkόs (χαλκός) principally meaning copper, and the Latinised Greek word genēs, meaning born or produced.

Tellurium Chemical element with atomic number 52

Tellurium is a chemical element with the symbol Te and atomic number 52. It is a brittle, mildly toxic, rare, silver-white metalloid. Tellurium is chemically related to selenium and sulfur, all three of which are chalcogens. It is occasionally found in native form as elemental crystals. Tellurium is far more common in the Universe as a whole than on Earth. Its extreme rarity in the Earth's crust, comparable to that of platinum, is due partly to its formation of a volatile hydride that caused tellurium to be lost to space as a gas during the hot nebular formation of Earth, and partly to tellurium's low affinity for oxygen, which causes it to bind preferentially to other chalcophiles in dense minerals that sink into the core.

The periodic table is laid out in rows to illustrate recurring (periodic) trends in the chemical behaviour of the elements as their atomic number increases: a new row is begun when chemical behaviour begins to repeat, meaning that elements with similar behaviour fall into the same vertical columns. The fifth period contains 18 elements, beginning with rubidium and ending with xenon. As a rule, period 5 elements fill their 5s shells first, then their 4d, and 5p shells, in that order; however, there are exceptions, such as rhodium.

Tellurium dioxide

Tellurium dioxide (TeO2) is a solid oxide of tellurium. It is encountered in two different forms, the yellow orthorhombic mineral tellurite, β-TeO2, and the synthetic, colourless tetragonal (paratellurite), α-TeO2. Most of the information regarding reaction chemistry has been obtained in studies involving paratellurite, α-TeO2.

Tellurate Compound containing an oxyanion of tellurium

In chemistry tellurate is a compound containing an oxyanion of tellurium where tellurium has an oxidation number of +6. In the naming of inorganic compounds it is a suffix that indicates a polyatomic anion with a central tellurium atom.

Tellurite (ion)

The tellurite ion is TeO2−
. A tellurite (compound), for example sodium tellurite, is a compound that contains this ion. They are typically colorless or white salts, which in some ways are comparable to sulfite. A mineral with the formula TeO2 is called tellurite.

Tellurous acid

Tellurous acid is an inorganic compound with the formula H2TeO3. It is the oxoacid of tellurium(IV). The compound is not well characterized. An alternative way of writing its formula is (HO)2TeO. In principle, tellurous acid would form by treatment of tellurium dioxide with water, that is by hydrolysis. The related conjugate base is well known in the form of several salts such as potassium hydrogen tellurite, KHTeO3.

Sodium tellurite

Sodium tellurite is an inorganic tellurium compound with formula Na2TeO3. It is a water-soluble white solid and a weak reducing agent. Sodium tellurite is an intermediate in the extraction of the element, tellurium; it is a product obtained from anode slimes and is a precursor to tellurium.

Dimethyl telluride

Dimethyl telluride is an organotelluride compound, formula (CH3)2Te, also known by the abbreviation DMTe.

Cesbronite is a copper-tellurium oxysalt mineral with the chemical formula Cu3Te6+O4(OH)4 (IMA 17-C). It is colored green and its crystals are orthorhombic dipyramidal. Cesbronite is rated 3 on the Mohs Scale. It is named after Fabien Cesbron (born 1938), a French mineralogist.

Native metal Metal that is found in its metallic form, either pure or as an alloy, in nature

A native metal is any metal that is found pure in its metallic form in nature. Metals that can be found as native deposits singly or in alloys include aluminium, antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, indium, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, rhenium, selenium, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, and zinc, as well as the gold group and the platinum group. Among the alloys found in native state have been brass, bronze, pewter, German silver, osmiridium, electrum, white gold, silver-mercury amalgam, and gold-mercury amalgam.

For the similarly named Star Trek race, see Tellarite.


Xocomecatlite is a rare tellurate mineral with formula: Cu3(TeO4)(OH)4. It is an orthorhombic mineral which occurs as aggregates or spherules of green needlelike crystals.

Arsenite minerals are very rare oxygen-bearing arsenic minerals. Classical world localities where such minerals occur include the complex skarn manganese deposit at Långban (Sweden) and the polymetallic Tsumeb deposit (Namibia). The most often reported arsenite anion in minerals is the AsO33− anion, present for example in reinerite Zn3(AsO3)2. Unique diarsenite anions occur i. e. in leiteite Zn[As2O4] and paulmooreite Pb[As2O5]. More complex arsenites include schneiderhöhnite Fe2+Fe3+3[As5O13] and ludlockite PbFe3+4As10O22.


Zemannite is a very rare oxide mineral with the chemical formula Mg0.5ZnFe3+[TeO3]3·4.5H2O. It crystallizes in the hexagonal crystal system and forms small prismatic brown crystals. Because of the rarity and small crystal size, zemannite has no applications and serves as a collector's item.


Walfordite is a very rare tellurite mineral that was discovered in Chile in 1999. The mineral is described as orange with orange-yellow streak, and is determined to have a chemical formula of Fe3+,Te6+Te4+3O8 with minor titanium and magnesium substitution resulting in an approximate empirical formula of (Fe3+,Te6+,Ti4+,Mg)(Te4+)3O8.


Emmonsite, also known as durdenite, is an iron tellurite mineral with the formula: Fe2(TeO3)3·2(H2O). Emmonsite forms triclinic crystals. It is of a yellowish-green color, with a vitreous luster, and a hardness of 5 on the Moh scale.

Tellurite glasses contain tellurium oxide (TeO2) as the main component.


Rodalquilarite is a rare iron tellurite chloride mineral with formula H3Fe3+2(Te4+O3)4Cl or Fe2(TeO2OH)3(TeO3)Cl. Rodalquilarite crystallizes in the triclinic system and typically occurs as stout green prisms and encrustations.

Teineite is a tellurite mineral with the formula Cu(TeO3). 2 H2O. It has a Moh's hardness of 2.5 and it comes in many different shades of blue, ranging from cerulean blue to bluish-gray. The mineral millsite has the same chemical composition, but crystallizes in the monoclinic system, while teineite crystallizes in the orthorhombic system.