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Chrysocolla

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Chrysocolla

Chemical Composition : (Cu;Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4 • nH2O Hydrated Copper Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide
Hardness : 2.5 – 3.5
Specific Gravity (Density) : 1.93 – 2.40 (g/cm3)
Refractive Index : 1.460 – 1.57 Uniaxial ( + )

Chrysocolla is a mineral of secondary origin, commonly associated with other secondary copper minerals. It is typically found as glassy botryoidal or rounded masses or bubbly crusts and as jackstraw mats of tiny acicular crystals or tufts of fibrous crystals. The name Chrysocolla was first used by Theophrastus in 315 BC and comes from the Greek chrysos, meaning gold, and kolla, meaning glue, in allusion to the name of the material used to solder gold.

Chrysocolla is often found as a gel mixed with Quartz or is “agatized” in chalcedony quartz. Pure Chrysocolla is very soft and fragile and not suitable for faceted gems or cabochons. Agatized Chrysocolla however, is hard (Mohs hardness of about 7) and durable and able to be polished as cabochons often containing very attractive mixtures of Chrysocolla, Azurite and Malachite. Agatized Chrysocolla is rarely translucent enough for faceting but makes for beautiful gems with a unique color in the gem world.

Chrysocolla is found in several locations worldwide. Some of the better known locations are Nizhni Tagil, Ural Mountains, Russia; the Timna (King Solomon’s) mine, Israel; the Star of the Congo mine, Lubumbashi, and at Likasi and Kakanda, Katanga Province, Congo (Shaba Province, Zaire); Cananea, Sonora, Mexico; Chuquicamata and Exotica deposits; around Copiapo and Coquimbo, Chile; Chillagoe district, Queensland, Australia. In the USA, in Arizona, Globe-Miami district, Gila County, Morenci, Greenlee County, San Manuel and Ray mines, Pinal County; in New Mexico, at Santa Rita, Grant County; from Utah, in the Tintic district, Juab County.

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