• Chemistry: Cu2PO4(OH), Copper Phosphate Hydroxide
  • Class: Phosphates
  • Uses: mineral specimens
  • Specimens

Libethenite is a rare secondary copper mineral that is noted for its deep green color. It is found in deeply weathered, highly concentrated copper sulfide ore bodies. Libethenite is isostructural with the minerals olivenite, Cu2AsO4(OH) and adamite, Zn2AsO4(OH). This means that they share the same symmetry and crystal shapes. Libethenite's emerald green color and bright luster give it a well earned place in anyones collection.


  • Color is dark emerald to olive green.
  • Luster is resinous to vitreous.
  • Transparency: Specimens are translucent.
  • Crystal System: is orthorhombic 2/m2/m2/m
  • Crystal Habits include crystals that are diamond-shaped, often acicular, prisms that are terminated by a dome with triangular faces, also as tiny crystalline druzes, fiberous masses, nodules and crusts.
  • Cleavage is good in two directions.
  • Fracture is subconchoidal to uneven.
  • Hardness is 4
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 3.6 - 3.9 (above average for translucent minerals)
  • Streak is olive green.
  • Other Characteristics: Slightly soluable in hydrochloric acid.
  • Associated Minerals are malachite, olivenite, quartz, limonite, adamite, brochantite and other secondary copper ore minerals.
  • Notable Occurrences: Cornwall, England; Libethen (hence the name), Romania; Zaire; Russia and California, Utah and Arizona, USA.
  • Best Field Indicators are color, streak, crystal habits, associations and density.
LIBETHENITE specimens:
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LIBETHENITE specimen lib-1
$ 45.00
Dims: 5-1/2" x 3-1/4" x 2-1/2"
Wt: 12.7 oz
Kolwezi, Zaire
These are some of the better available crystals of Libethenite, a rare copper phosphate. They are miniscule, not reaching more than 1/16 inch in diameter, and are dark green. The well-defined pseudotetragonal crystals have clean surfaces and edges, with a sparkly, vitreous luster. Libethenite is a mineral of great rarity- I doubt that very many collections can boast a specimen of it.
no photo
lib-1 ($ 45.00)
Kolwezi, Zaire
LIBETHENITE specimen lib-2
$ 70.00
Dims: 4" x 2-1/2" x 2"
Wt: 7.9 oz
Old Reliable Mine, Copper Creek, Pinal Co., Arizona, U.S.A.
In misshapen crevices throughout the host rock of this specimen lie carpets of almost microscopic Libethenite crystals. All of these carpets lie on beds of botryoidal turquoise or chrysocolla(I'd like to think that it's turquoise because we would be dealing only with phosphates). There may be minute amounts of azurite and/or malachite, and there are definitely many tiny, black globules of some decayed copper mineral that I can't identify. I believe that Libethenite is rather rare coming out of Arizona.
no photo
lib-2 ($ 70.00)
Old Reliable Mine, Copper Creek, Pinal Co., Arizona, U.S.A.
LIBETHENITE specimen lib-3
$ 150.00
Dims: 1.8" x 1.5" x 0.6"
Wt: 1.04 oz.(29.4 g)
Mindola Open Pit, near Kitwe, Zambia
In a hollow on this specimen rest the largest Libethenite crystals that I have ever seen. As there are several crystals that are interpenetrating, it is difficult to count how many there are, but one in particular appears to have an incomplete pseudooctahedral form. This particular crystal measures about 0.3"(7 mm) along an edge, and is the largest that I can see, though the others are not much smaller. They have a bright resinous luster and are so dark that one can only catch hints of its green color and translucence. The hollow that they rest in is lined with tiny crystals that are too small for me to effectively identify, and the host rock itself seems to be made of a shale. It is a pristine specimen of unusually large crystals of a very uncommon mineral.
no photo
lib-3 ($150.00)
Mindola Open Pit, near Kitwe, Zambia
LIBETHENITE specimen lib-4
$ 30.00
Dims: 2.1" x 1.9" x 1.4" (5.3 x 4.8 x 3.6 cm)
Wt: 3.44 oz. (97.7 g)
Kolwezi, Zaire
A moderate dusting of tiny Libethenite crystals rests on the host rock of this specimen. Under 10-power magnification, one can see that the crystals have a definite form, but their intergrowth and small size make it difficult to define their shapes. According to my best estimations, though, they appear to have the standard orthorombic prismatic form with a diamond-shaped cross-section and a shallow, 4-faced dome. Their color is the dark forest-green that is common for Libethenite, and they appear to have a pearly to vitreous luster and are at least translucent. While examining the crystals under magnification, I also saw several small, rounded orbs of material among the Libethenites that have a much bluer, almost emerald-green coloration and are likewise translucent. I do not know what they are made of. There are a few substantial spots of damage on the cluster due to impact, but most of the crystals are in excellent condition. They rest on an almost granitic mixture of feldspar and quartz.
no photo
lib-4 ($ 30.00)
Kolwezi, Zaire
LIBETHENITE specimen lib-5
$ 230.00
Dims: 1.5" x 1.4" x 1.0" (3.8 x 3.6 x 2.5 cm)
Wt: 1.39 oz. (39.5 g)
Mindola Open Pit, near Kitwe, Zambia
The dark gray, banded host rock of this specimen hosts one of the largest clusters of Libethenite crystals that I have seen! Though the cluster is incomplete and has some visible damage, I am pretty sure that most of the damage occurred prior to the mining of the specimen. It has a generally spherical shape and consists of at least 10 small, orthorombic prismatic crystals. These crystals do not exceed 0.1" (0.3 cm) in any dimension, but are pretty large as far as Libethenite crystals go. They appear in the form of four-sided pyramids, many of which are intergrown. Their color is a deep, deep green that appears nearly black, and they have a bright, vitreous luster. Due to the intense depth of color, the crystals are almost completely opaque.
no photo
lib-5 ($230.00)
Mindola Open Pit, near Kitwe, Zambia
LIBETHENITE specimen lib-6
$ 230.00
Dims: 1.4 x 1.2 x 0.8" (3.6 x 3.0 x 2.0 cm)
Wt: 1.07 oz. (30.5 g) w/ base
Mindola Open Pit, near Kitwe, Zambia
At least 2 intergrown Libethenite crystals rest on the malachite-coated shale host rock of this thumbnail specimen. The crystals are unusually large for their species, as they form a cluster with dimensions of 0.4 x 0.3 x 0.3" (1.0 x 0.8 x 0.8 cm). The cluster is in excellent condition, showing only a very small amount of damage, and shows evidence of good orthorhombic form, with moderately well-defined edges and patterned but clean faces that possess a bright pearly luster on most faces. Their color is a uniform deep green that is so dark that no translucence can be seen even in direct sunlight. One face on the cluster has a slightly paler green color and a dull luster- it appears that it had begun to pseudomorph into malachite. The cluster rests on the edge of a highly weathered malachite crust that rests on the shale base rock, which is in turn hot-glued onto a flat, square acrylic base.
no photo
lib-6 ($230.00)
Mindola Open Pit, near Kitwe, Zambia
LIBETHENITE specimen lib-7
$ 45.00
Dims:2.8x2.1x1.3" (7.1x5.3x3.3 cm)
Wt: 3.6oz. (102g)
Inspiration Mine, Miami, Gila cty., Arizona
The matrix of this specimen is scattered with dark blackish-green crusts of libethenite. There are also some tiny light green crystals of another mineral present. I am not certain of the identity of this mineral-the crystals are too small to use as an identification tool. I suspect malachite, or possibly euchroite. Some of the libethenite on this specimen seems to be crystalline, but the crystals are too small to effectively study.
no photo
lib-7 ($ 45.00)
Inspiration Mine, Miami, Gila cty., Arizona


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