Cinnabar: A toxic ore of mercury, once used as a pigment
Cinnabar is the only important ore of mercury. For thousands of years, cinnabar has been mined and heated in a furnace. The mercury escapes as a vapor that can be condensed into liquid mercury. People began using cinnabar for pigments thousands of years ago in Italy, Greece, Spain, Japan, China, Turkey, and the Mayan countries of South America.