Realgar is an oddball among the sulfides. It is one of only a few sulfides that are not metallic or opaque or blandly colored. Its structure is analogous to that of sulfur and resembles sulfur in most respects except for color (the name "ruby sulfur" has been applied to realgar). Sulfur has a structure composed of 8 sulfur atoms linked in a ring. Realgar's structure alternates between sulfur atoms and arsenic atoms producing rings of As4S4. The arsenic atoms affect the structure altering it from sulfur's orthorhombic symmetry to realgar's monoclinic symmetry.
Toxicity: The toxicity of arsenic sulfide pigments has been known for years. Extreme caution must be used when handling the dry pigment to avoid exposure to skin, ingesting it or inhaling the dust. Care must also be exercised while painting with it in any medium.
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