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Cuprite

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Cuprite
CupriteUSGOV.jpg
Cuprite from Morenci, Arizona
General
CategoryOxide mineral
Formula
(repeating unit)
Cu2O
IMA symbolCpr[1]
Strunz classification4.AA.10
Dana classification4.1.1.1
Crystal systemCubic
Crystal classHexoctahedral (m3m)
H-M symbol: (4/m 3 2/m)
Space groupPn3m
Unit cella = 4.2685 Å; V = 77.77 Å3; Z = 2
Identification
ColorDark red to conchineal red, sometimes almost black
Crystal habitCubic, octahedral, and dodecahedral crystals; as hairlike capillary forms, earthy, compact granular and massive
TwinningPenetration twins
CleavageFair in four directions forming octahedrons
FractureConchoidal to uneven
TenacityBrittle
Mohs scale hardness3.5 to 4
LusterAdamantine, sub-metallic, earthy
StreakShining metallic brownish-red
DiaphaneityTransparent, translucent
Specific gravity6.14
Optical propertiesIsotropic
Refractive indexn = 2.849
PleochroismVisible
References[2][3][4]

Cuprite is an oxide mineral composed of copper(I) oxide Cu2O, and is a minor ore of copper.[5]

Cuprite from Tsumeb Mine (size:2.3 x 2.1 x 1.2 cm
Cuprite from Tsumeb Mine (size:2.3 x 2.1 x 1.2 cm

Its dark crystals with red internal reflections are in the isometric system hexoctahedral class, appearing as cubic, octahedral, or dodecahedral forms, or in combinations. Penetration twins frequently occur. In spite of its nice color it is rarely used for jewelry because of its low Mohs hardness of 3.5 to 4. It has a relatively high specific gravity of 6.1, imperfect cleavage and is brittle to conchoidal fracture. The luster is sub-metallic to brilliant adamantine. The "chalcotrichite" (from Ancient Greek: χαλκός θρίξ τριχός, "plush copper ore")[5] variety typically shows greatly elongated (parallel to [001]) capillary or needle like crystals forms.

Chalcotrichite from Ray, Arizona
Chalcotrichite from Ray, Arizona

It is a secondary mineral which forms in the oxidized zone of copper sulfide deposits. It frequently occurs in association with native copper, azurite, chrysocolla, malachite, tenorite and a variety of iron oxide minerals.[6] It is known as ruby copper due to its distinctive red color.

Cuprite was first described by Wilhelm Karl Ritter von Haidinger in 1845 and the name derives from the Latin cuprum for its copper content.[5][3]

Cuprite is found in the Ural Mountains, Altai Mountains, and Sardinia, and in more isolated locations in Cornwall, France, Arizona, Chile, Bolivia, and Namibia.[7]

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Copper(I) oxide

Copper(I) oxide

Copper(I) oxide or cuprous oxide is the inorganic compound with the formula Cu2O. It is one of the principal oxides of copper, the other being or copper(II) oxide or cupric oxide (CuO). This red-coloured solid is a component of some antifouling paints. The compound can appear either yellow or red, depending on the size of the particles. Copper(I) oxide is found as the reddish mineral cuprite.

Copper

Copper

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Crystal twinning

Crystal twinning

Crystal twinning occurs when two or more adjacent crystals of the same mineral are oriented so that they share some of the same crystal lattice points in a symmetrical manner. The result is an intergrowth of two separate crystals that are tightly bonded to each other. The surface along which the lattice points are shared in twinned crystals is called a composition surface or twin plane.

Azurite

Azurite

Azurite is a soft, deep-blue copper mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits. During the early 19th century, it was also known as chessylite, after the type locality at Chessy-les-Mines near Lyon, France. The mineral, a basic carbonate with the chemical formula Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2, has been known since ancient times, and was mentioned in Pliny the Elder's Natural History under the Greek name kuanos (κυανός: "deep blue," root of English cyan) and the Latin name caeruleum. Since antiquity, azurite's exceptionally deep and clear blue has been associated with low-humidity desert and winter skies. The modern English name of the mineral reflects this association, since both azurite and azure are derived via Arabic from the Persian lazhward (لاژورد), an area known for its deposits of another deep-blue stone, lapis lazuli ("stone of azure").

Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla is a hydrated copper phyllosilicate mineral and mineraloid with formula Cu2–xAlx{H2–xSi2O5)(OH)4•nH2O (x<1) or (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4•nH2O).

Iron oxide

Iron oxide

Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen. Several iron oxides are recognized. All are black magnetic solids. Often they are non-stoichiometric. Oxyhydroxides are a related class of compounds, perhaps the best known of which is rust.

Altai Mountains

Altai Mountains

The Altai Mountains, also spelled Altay Mountains, are a mountain range in Central and East Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan converge, and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their headwaters. The massif merges with the Sayan Mountains in the northeast, and gradually becomes lower in the southeast, where it merges into the high plateau of the Gobi Desert. It spans from about 45° to 52° N and from about 84° to 99° E.

Cornwall

Cornwall

Cornwall is a historic county and ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people. Cornwall is bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, with the River Tamar forming the border between them. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain. The southwesternmost point is Land's End and the southernmost Lizard Point. Cornwall has a population of 568,210 and an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The county has been administered since 2009 by the unitary authority, Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately. The administrative centre of Cornwall is Truro, its only city.

France

France

France, officially the French Republic, is a transcontinental country predominantly located in Western Europe and spanning overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its metropolitan area extends from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea; overseas territories include French Guiana in South America, Saint Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic, the French West Indies, and many islands in Oceania and the Indian Ocean. Due to its several coastal territories, France has the largest exclusive economic zone in the world. France borders Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Andorra, and Spain in continental Europe, as well as the Netherlands, Suriname, and Brazil in the Americas via its overseas territories in French Guiana and Saint Martin. Its eighteen integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi) and contain close to 68 million people. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre; other major urban areas include Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, and Nice.

Arizona

Arizona

Arizona is a state in the Southwestern United States. It is the 6th largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona is part of the Four Corners region with Utah to the north, Colorado to the northeast, and New Mexico to the east; its other neighboring states are Nevada to the northwest, California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Chile

Chile

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America. It is the southernmost country in the world, and the closest to Antarctica, occupying a long and narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of 756,096 square kilometers (291,930 sq mi), with a population of 17.5 million as of 2017. It shares land borders with Peru to the north, Bolivia to the north-east, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chile also controls the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Isla Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. It also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometers (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica under the Chilean Antarctic Territory. The country's capital and largest city is Santiago, and its national language is Spanish.

Bolivia

Bolivia

Bolivia, officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest and Peru to the west. The seat of government and executive capital is La Paz, while the constitutional capital is Sucre. The largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales, a mostly flat region in the east of the country.

Cuprite as a gemstone

Though almost all crystals of cuprite are far too small to yield faceted gemstones, one unique deposit from Onganja in Seeis, Namibia, which was discovered in the 1970s, has produced crystals which were both large and gem quality. Virtually every faceted stone over one carat (0.2 gm) in weight is from this single deposit, which has long since been mined out. The number of faceted gems over two carats (0.4 gm) is difficult to estimate, but according to Joel Arem, one-time curator for the Smithsonian National Gem and Mineral Collection in Washington, D.C., faceted cuprite of any size is considered one of the most collectible and spectacular gems in existence, with its deep garnet coloring and higher brilliance than a diamond. Only the gem's soft nature prevents it from being among the most valuable jewelry stones.

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Seeis

Seeis

Seeis is a small settlement in the Khomas Region of central Namibia. It is situated on the B6 national road 11 km (6.8 mi) east of Hosea Kutako International Airport on the turnoff of the dirt road D1458. The Seeis Rivier, an ephemeral river, cuts the settlement. Seeis is a railway stop on the Windhoek - Gobabis railway line.

Namibia

Namibia

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa. Its western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres of the Botswanan right bank of the Zambezi River separates the two countries. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek. Namibia is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia, also known as just Washington or simply D.C., is the capital city and federal district of the United States. It is located on the east bank of the Potomac River, which forms its southwestern and southern border with the U.S. state of Virginia, and it shares a land border with the U.S. state of Maryland on its other sides. The city was named for George Washington, a Founding Father and the first president of the United States, and the federal district is named after Columbia, the female personification of the nation. As the seat of the U.S. federal government and several international organizations, the city is an important world political capital. It is one of the most visited cities in the U.S. with over 20 million annual visitors as of 2016.

Source: "Cuprite", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuprite.

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References
  1. ^ Warr, L.N. (2021). "IMA–CNMNC approved mineral symbols". Mineralogical Magazine. 85 (3): 291–320. Bibcode:2021MinM...85..291W. doi:10.1180/mgm.2021.43. S2CID 235729616.
  2. ^ "Cuprite". Mindat. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
  3. ^ a b "Cuprite". Webmineral data. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
  4. ^ Handbook of Mineralogy
  5. ^ a b c Spencer, Leonard James (1911). "Cuprite" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 635.
  6. ^ Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis, 1985, Manual of Mineralogy, 20th ed., Wiley, p. 299-300 ISBN 0-471-80580-7
  7. ^ Joel E. Arem, Ph.D., F.G.A., Color Encyclopedia of Gemstones, 1977, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company

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