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Cinnabar is a mineral whose brilliant vermillion color made it popular thousands of years ago for making pigments, paints, and even cosmetics. But it has to be treated with care. It is the only important ore of mercury and becomes dangerous if heated to a high temperature. Today, most items made and sold under the name “cinnabar” have been made with imitation materials. The sample above can be found in Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems.
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