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THE MINERAL CHALCOPYRITE

  • Chemistry: CuFeS2, Copper Iron Sulfide
  • Class: Sulfides
  • Group: Chalcopyrite
  • Uses: Major ore of copper
  • Specimens

Chalcopyrite (or copper pyrite), looks like, and is easily confused with Pyrite , FeS 2 . Chalcopyrite is one of the minerals refered to as "Fool's Gold" because of its bright golden color. But real gold is a more buttery yellow and is ductile and malleable.

As an ore od copper, the yield of chalcopyrite is rather low in terms of atoms per molecule. It is only 25%, compared to other copper minerals such as chalcocite, Cu2S - 67%; cuprite, Cu2O - 67%; covellite, CuS - 50% or bornite Cu5FeS4 - 50%. However the large quantities and widespread distribution of chalcopyrite make it the leading source of copper. Chalcopyrite is a common mineral and is found in almost all sulfide deposits. Fine crystals of chalcopyrite have a unique character and can add to anyone's collection.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Color is brassy yellow, tarnishes to irredescent blues, greens, yellows and purples.
  • Luster is metallic.
  • Transparency: Crystals are opaque.
  • Crystal System is tetragonal; bar 4 2m
  • Crystal Habits are predominantly the disphenoid which is like two opposing wedges and resembles a tetrahedron. Crystals sometines twinned. Also commonly massive, and sometimes botryoidal.
  • Cleavage is rather poor in one direction.
  • Fracture is conchoidal and brittle.
  • Hardness is 3.5-4
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 4.2 (average for metallic minerals)
  • Streak is dark green.
  • Other Characteristics: Some striations on most crystal faces.
  • Associated Minerals are quartz, fluorite, barite, dolomite, calcite, pentlandite, pyrite and other sulfides.
  • Notable Occurances include Chile, Peru, Mexico, Europe, South Africa, several USA sites and many others around the world.
  • Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, tarnish, softness and brittleness.
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Available CHALCOPYRITE specimens:
see this List of ALL specimens including SOLD ones