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Category Sulfosalt minerals
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 2.GA.05
Dana classification
Proustite group
Crystal system Trigonal
Crystal class Hexagonal scalenohedral (3m)
H-M Symbol: (3 2/m)
Space group R3c
Unit cell a = 10.79 Å, c = 8.69 Å; Z = 6
Color Scarlet-vermilion
Crystal habit Crystals prismatic and scalenohedral, massive, compact
Twinning Common
Cleavage Distinct on {1011}
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness 2 – 2.5
Luster Adamantine
Streak Vermilion
Diaphaneity Translucent, darkens when exposed to light
Specific gravity 5.57 measured, 5.625 calculated
Optical properties Uniaxial (-)
Refractive index nω = 3.087 - 3.088 nε = 2.792
Birefringence δ = 0.295 - 0.296
Pleochroism Moderate; cochineal-red to blood-red
References [1][2][3]

Proustite is a sulfosalt mineral consisting of; silver sulfarsenide, Ag3AsS3, known also as light red silver or ruby silver ore, and an important source of the metal. It is closely allied to the corresponding sulfantimonide, pyrargyrite, from which it was distinguished by the chemical analyses of Joseph L. Proust (1754–1826) in 1804, after whom the mineral received its name.

The prismatic crystals are often terminated by the scalenohedron and the obtuse rhombohedron, thus resembling calcite (dog-tooth-spar) in habit. The color is scarlet-vermilion and the luster adamantine; crystals are transparent and very brilliant, but on exposure to light they soon become dull black and opaque. The streak is scarlet, the hardness 2.5, and the specific gravity 5.57.

Proustite occurs in hydrothermal deposits as a phase in the oxidized and supergene zone. It is associated with other silver minerals and sulfides such as native silver, native arsenic, xanthoconite, stephanite, acanthite, tetrahedrite and chlorargyrite.[1]

Magnificent groups of large crystals have been found at Chañarcillo in Chile; other localities which have yielded fine specimens are Freiberg and Marienberg in Saxony, Joachimsthal in Bohemia and Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.


Subunit of the proustite structure, showing the connectivity of Ag, As (violet), S.
The structure of proustite can be viewed as the Ag+ derivative of [AsS3]3−.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. ^
  3. ^ Webmineral
  4. ^ Engel, P.; Nowacki, W."Die Verfeinerung der Kristallstruktur von Proustit, Ag3As S3 und Pyrargyrit, Ag3SbS3" Neues Jahrbuch fuer Mineralogie. Monatshefte 1966, p181-p184

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Proustite". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 490.