Mercury
Hg
atomic number
80
melting point
-38.83°C

1. Heat a small amount of sodium carbonate flux in a porcelain crucible until it is completely dry, then mix a tiny bit of powdered mineral sample with the dried flux and place the mixture in a closed tube, then slowly heat the tube using a lamp, candle, or Bunsen burner; a sublimate of liquid mercury will form.

2. Place a small quantity of powdered mineral sample in a closed tube, then heat the tube using a lamp, candle, or Bunsen gas burner; most mercury minerals will completely volatilize (cinnabar will leave a black mirror of metallic mercury rather than volatilizing).

3. Dissolve a small quantity of powdered mineral in a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid, then dip a clean strip of pure copper into the solution; a coating of metallic mercury will form on the copper strip giving it a “silver-plated” appearance.