This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
This substance, which is now, like antimony, classed among metalloids, occurs native, and also as an oxide, as a sulphide, and variously combined in metallic ores with silver, iron, copper, arsenic, etc.
The Pharmacopoeia directs the preparation of a "purified bismuth," by fusion with nitrate of potash, but the process is not very satisfactory.
The metalloid is gray-colored with a roseate tinge, and may be obtained in masses of cubical, iridescent crystals; it is tasteless and inodorous, heavy, hard, brittle, and, like antimony, volatilizes at a strong heat, and expands on cooling.