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Beithauptite & Silver

Posted by Reiner Mielke  
Reiner Mielke May 25, 2012 10:52PM I see no silver in this photo, however I see lots of Ni-Co arsenides on the breithauptite.
Rob Woodside May 26, 2012 05:39PM
message sent
Kelly Nash May 26, 2012 09:01PM
I'll try to post some better pictures later. The dark layer that is on the inside of the void is what I believe to be silver. Contiguous with that layer on one side of the specimen is a hackly mass with some "ropiness" that looks like silver to me, and also a few very small lustrous silver-colored cubes (~0.1 mm.) that look like silver crystals. So far I haven't been able to get decent photos of those.

I only have the label to go on, but comparing the specimens to similar ones here and elsewhere on the internet, it seemed like a credible ID. That said, I don't know the associations here that well, so I would certainly consider other possibilities. Curious about the visual ID of arsenides.
Reiner Mielke May 26, 2012 11:43PM
The cubes would be skutterudite, silver crystals are never found in that association and never in cubes. Also if it is silver it should be malleable, test it with a needle under the scope.
Kelly Nash May 27, 2012 04:13PM
You are right, Reiner. The gray mineral is brittle, not malleable. I'll remove the silver ID in a minute. Here is a photo of the part that had me agreeing with the label, a 6 mm. hackly mass that sticks out to the side and that is perhaps a pseudomorph of arsenides after silver(?). Also can kind of see on the lower left, reflections off the cubic crystals I referred to. I had thought they were awfully bright for silver xls, but had not considered skutterudite, which makes more sense. Thanks for the catch!,7,file=38639,filename=Breithauptite_Cobalt_ONTsml.jpg

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2012 04:16PM by Kelly Nash.
Reiner Mielke May 28, 2012 12:49AM
Hello Kelly,

That sponge like mass sure looks like silver. If it is brittle then it may be allargentum, which is not uncommon in that area. If you dissolve a small piece in a drop of nitric acid under the scope and then add a tiny grain of salt after it dissolves,you will get a white precipitate if it contains silver.
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