The abundance of bismuth in the Earth's crust has been estimated to be 0.000002 %, about the same order as silver, less than tin, but more than gold.

Bismuth occurs both as native bismuth and in ores. The native bismuth is not abundant but is found in veins associated with silver, lead, zinc, and tin ores in places such as Saxony, Bolivia, Canada and England.

The most important ores are bismite, or bismuth ocher (Bi2O3), bismuthinite (Bi2S3) and bismutosphaerite.