Chrysocolla

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Chrysocolla
Chrysocolla-230109.jpg
Chrysocolla, Ray Mine, Scott Mountain area, Mineral Creek District, Pinal County, Arizona, USA
General
CategoryPhyllosilicate mineral mineraloid
Formula
(repeating unit)
Cu
2–x
Al
x
{H
2–x
Si
2
O
5
)(OH)
4
•nH
2
O
 (x<1)[1]
Strunz classification9.ED.20
Crystal systemOrthorhombic
Unknown space group
Unit cella = 5.7 Å, b = 8.9 Å,
c = 6.7 Å; Z = 1
Identification
ColorBlue, cyan (blue-green), green, blackish blue to black, or brown and rarely yellow
Crystal habitMassive, nodular, botryoidal
Cleavagenone
FractureIrregular/uneven, sub-conchoidal
TenacityBrittle to sectile
Mohs scale hardness2.5–3.5 (7 for chrysocolla chalcedony, high-silica content)
LusterVitreous to dull
Streakwhite to a blue-green color
DiaphaneityTranslucent to opaque
Specific gravity1.9–2.4
Optical propertiesBiaxial (-)
Refractive indexnα = 1.575–1.585 nβ = 1.597 nγ = 1.598 - 1.635
Birefringenceδ = 0.023–0.050
References[2][3][1][4]

Chrysocolla (/ˌkrɪs.əˈkɒl.ə/ kris-ə-KOL) is a hydrated copper phyllosilicate mineral and mineraloid with formula Cu
2–x
Al
x
{H
2–x
Si
2
O
5
)(OH)
4
•nH
2
O
(x<1)[1] or (Cu,Al)
2
H
2
Si
2
O
5
(OH)
4
•nH
2
O)
.[3]

The structure of the mineral has been questioned, as a 2006 spectrographic study suggest material identified as chrysocolla may be a mixture of the copper hydroxide spertiniite and chalcedony.[5]

History[edit]

The name comes from the ancient Greek χρυσός (chrysos) and κολλα (kolla), "gold" and "glue,"[6] in allusion to the name of the material used to solder gold and was first used by Theophrastus in 315 BC.

Geology[edit]

Chrysocolla has a cyan (blue-green) color and is a minor ore of copper, having a hardness of 2.5 to 7.0. It is of secondary origin and forms in the oxidation zones of copper ore bodies. Associated minerals are quartz, limonite, azurite, malachite, cuprite, and other secondary copper minerals. It is typically found as botryoidal or rounded masses and crusts, or vein fillings.

A 2006 study has produced evidence that chrysocolla may be a microscopic mixture of the copper hydroxide mineral spertiniite, amorphous silica and water.[5][1]

Jewelry[edit]

Due to being somewhat more common than turquoise, its wide availability, and vivid, beautiful blue and blue-green colors, chrysocolla has been popular for use as a gemstone for carvings and ornamental use since antiquity. It is often used in silversmithing and goldsmithing in place of turquoise and is relatively easy to work and shape. Chrysocolla exhibits a wide range of Mohs hardness ranging from 2 through 7, which is dependent on the amount of silica incorporated into the stone when it is forming. Generally, dark navy blue chrysocolla is too soft to be used in jewelry, while cyan, green, and blue-green chrysocolla can have a hardness approaching 6, similar to turquoise. Chrysocolla chalcedony is a heavily silicified form of chrysocolla that forms in quartz deposits and can be very hard and approach a hardness of 7.[7][8][9]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Chrysocolla". Mindat.org.
  2. ^ "Mineralienatlas - Fossilienatlas".
  3. ^ a b "Handbook of Mineralogy" (PDF).
  4. ^ Barthelmy, Dave. "Chrysocolla Mineral Data". webmineral.com.
  5. ^ a b François Farges, Karim Benzerara, Gordon E. Brown, Jr.; Chrysocolla Redefined as Spertiniite; SLAC-PUB-12232; 13th International Conference On X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS13); July 9-14, 2006; Stanford, California
  6. ^ Spencer, Leonard James (1911). "Chrysocolla" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 320.
  7. ^ "Gem Silica: The blue, most valuable variety of chalcedony". geology.com.
  8. ^ "Chrysocolla: The gemstone chrysocolla information and pictures". www.minerals.net.
  9. ^ "Chrysocolla Value, Price, and Jewelry Information - IGS".