Abstract Raman spectroscopy complimented with infrared spectroscopy has been used to characterise the antimonate mineral bindheimite Pb 2Sb 2O 6(O,OH). The mineral is characterised by an intense Raman band at 656 cm −1 assigned to SbO stretching vibrations. Other lower intensity bands at 664, 749 and 814 cm −1 are also assigned to stretching vibrations. This observation suggests the non-equivalence of SbO units in the structure. Low intensity Raman bands at 293, 312 and 328 cm −1 are assigned to the OSbO bending vibrations. Infrared bands at 979, 1008, 1037 and 1058 cm −1 may be assigned to δOH deformation modes of SbOH units. Infrared bands at 1603 and 1640 cm −1 are assigned to water bending vibrations, suggesting that water is involved in the bindheimite structure. Broad infrared bands centred upon 3250 cm −1 supports this concept. Thus the true formula of bindheimite is questioned and probably should be written as Pb 2Sb 2O 6(O,OH,H 2O).