This article has been reviewed and approved by the following Topic Editor: Sidney Draggan (other articles)
Antimony is a silvery-gray, brittle semi-metal with atomic number 51. It rarely occurs in nature as a native element, but is found in a number of different minerals, the most important of which is stibnite (SbS3). Antimony is often called a semi-metal, because in pure form it is not shiny and malleable like true metals.
Antimony is not an element which most people see daily in a recognizable form. However, it is present in many products in everyday use. Antimony’s moderate price allows it to be used in a wide variety of applications.
Antimony minerals, particularly stibnite, have been known and used since ancient times. Because it is so soft, stibnite was used in ancient times as black eye makeup. The Roman historian, Pliny, wrote about its use as a medicine. Artists used finely-ground stibnite in the Middle Ages as a black pigment. Ancient “scientists” were interested in antimony because of their belief that it may be useful in the process of changing common metals into gold. This field was known as alchemy.