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Cuprite

This page kindly sponsored by Chris Whitney-Smith
Formula:
Cu2O
System:
Isometric
Colour:
Dark red to cochineal ...
Lustre:
Adamantine, Sub-Metallic, Earthy
Hardness:
3½ - 4
Name:
Named in 1845 by Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger from the Latin "cuprum," in allusion to its composition. Haidinger renamed a previously known mineral that had been known by a wide variety of names.
Cuprite is commonly found as an oxidation product of copper sulphides in the upper zones of veins, often associated with Native Copper, Malachite, Azurite, Limonite and Chalcocite. A fibrous form of Cuprite is known as Chalcotrichite.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Cuprite.

Classification of Cuprite

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
4.AA.10

4 : OXIDES (Hydroxides, V[5,6] vanadates, arsenites, antimonites, bismuthites, sulfites, selenites, tellurites, iodates)
A : Metal: Oxygen = 2:1 and 1:1
A : Cation:Anion (M:O) = 2:1 (and 1.8:1)
Dana 7th ed.:
4.1.1.1
4.1.1.1

4 : SIMPLE OXIDES
1 : A2X
7.3.1

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
3 : Oxides of Cu
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Occurrences of Cuprite

Geological Setting:
Found in the oxidised zones of copper deposits.

Physical Properties of Cuprite

Adamantine, Sub-Metallic, Earthy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colour:
Dark red to cochineal red, sometimes almost black.
Streak:
Shining metallic brownish-red.
Hardness (Mohs):
3½ - 4
Hardness (Vickers):
VHN100=183 - 222 kg/mm2
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Brittle
Cleavage:
Imperfect/Fair
Interrupted on {111}, more rarely on {001}.
Fracture:
Conchoidal
Density:
6.14 g/cm3 (Measured)    6.15 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Cuprite

Crystal System:
Isometric
Class (H-M):
m3m (4/m 3 2/m) - Hexoctahedral
Space Group:
Pn3m
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.2685Å
Unit Cell Volume:
V 77.77 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:
2
Morphology:
Crystals octahedral or cubic, rarely dodecahedral, sometimes highly modified. In the variety "chalcotrichite" the crystals are greatly elongated [001] into capillary shapes.
Twinning:
Penetration twins common.

Crystallographic forms of Cuprite

Crystal Atlas:
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Cuprite no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cuprite no.57 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Cuprite no.80 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Transparency
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

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X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
d-spacingIntensity
3.02(10)
2.47(100)
2.14(40)
1.51(30)
1.29(20)
1.23(10)
0.980(10)
0.955(10)

Optical Data of Cuprite

Type:
Isotropic
RI values:
n = 2.849
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.000 - Isotropic minerals have no birefringence
Surface Relief:
Very High
Type:
Anisotropic
Anisotropism:
Anomalous
Colour in reflected light:
Bluish white
Internal Reflections:
Blood-red
Pleochroism:
Visible

Chemical Properties of Cuprite

Formula:
Cu2O
Essential elements:
All elements listed in formula:
CAS Registry number:
1317-39-1

CAS Registry numbers are published by the American Chemical Society

Relationship of Cuprite to other Species

7.3.2TenoriteCuO
7.3.3ParamelaconiteCu2Cu2O3
7.3.4SpertiniiteCu(OH)2
7.3.5CredneriteCuMnO2
7.3.6DelafossiteCuFeO2
7.3.7CuprospinelCu2+Fe23+O4

Other Names for Cuprite

Pronounciation of Cuprite

Pronounciation:
PlayRecorded byFrom
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Other Information

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for Cuprite

Reference List:
Miers (1884), Phil. Magazine: 18: 127.

Bragg and Bragg (1915): 155.

Niggli (1922), Zs. Kr.: 57: 253.

Greenwood (1924), Phil. Mag.: 48: 654.

Neuburger (1931), Zs. Kr.: 77: 169.

Schroeder (1934), Centralblatt für Mineralogie: 353.

Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Seventh edition, Volume I: 629-631.

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig, Vandall T. King (1997), Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 204.

Acta Crystallographica: A46: 271-284.

Internet Links for Cuprite

Specimens:
The following Cuprite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Cuprite

map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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