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Breithauptite on calcite from the Samson Mine, St Andreasberg, Harz Mountains, Lower Saxony, Germany (Field of view 17 mm)
Category Antimonide mineral
(repeating unit)
nickel antimonide (NiSb)
Strunz classification 02.CC.05
Crystal system Hexagonal
Space group Hexagonal dihexagonal dipyramidal
H-M symbol: (6/m 2/m 2/m)
Space group: P 63/mmc
Unit cell a = 3.946 Å, c = 5.148 Å, Z=2
Color Pale copper-red, may be with violet tint
Crystal habit Crystals rare, thin tabular or needlelike, to 1 mm; arborescent, disseminated, massive
Twinning Twin plane {1011}
Cleavage None
Fracture Subconchoidal to uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness 5.5
Luster Metallic
Streak Reddish brown
Diaphaneity Opaque
Specific gravity 7.591–8.23 measured; 8.629 calculated
Pleochroism Very distinct
References [1][2][3]

Breithauptite is a nickel antimonide mineral with the simple formula NiSb. Breithauptite is a metallic opaque copper-red mineral crystallizing in the hexagonal - dihexagonal dipyramidal crystal system. It is typically massive to reniform in habit, but is observed as tabular crystals. It has a Mohs hardness of 3.5 to 4 and a specific gravity of 8.23.

It occurs in hydrothermal calcite veins associated with cobaltnickelsilver ores.

It was first described in 1840 from the Harz Mountains, Lower Saxony, Germany and in 1845 for occurrences in the Cobalt and Thunder Bay districts of Ontario, Canada. It was named to honor Saxon mineralogist Johann Friedrich August Breithaupt (1791–1873).


  • Palache, C., H. Berman, and C. Frondel (1944) Dana’s system of mineralogy, (7th edition), v. I, pp. 238–239
Massive breithauptite with orange-brown nickeline and minor quartz from the Cobalt area of Ontario, Canada
Nickel antimonide NiSb, an 11.5 g sample, grid size 1 cm