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Chrysocolla Information and links to mineral specimens, jewelry and gems
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The Mineral & Gemstone Chrysocolla


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Chrysocolla mineral specimen
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES:

Composition:
Hydrated copper silicate
Color:
green-blue
Class:
Silicates
Subclass:
Phyllosilicates
Crystal System: Orthorhombic or Monoclinic
Fracture: conchoidal
Hardness: 2 to 4
Specific gravity: 2.0 - 2.3
Luster:
vitreous to waxy.
Streak:
white to blue-green
Cleavage:
absent
Transparency: translucent to opaque
Associated Minerals:
azurite, malachite, cuprite, other secondary copper minerals, limonite, quartz

COMPOSITION:
Hydrated copper silicate CuSiO3 - nH2O (45.2% CuO, 34.3% Si03, 20.5%
Sky-blue to greenish blue and green, often streaked with black. Some specimens may have shades of all of these colors. Chrysocolla is mostly in massive forms that can be crusts, stalactites and botryoidal. It is also found as inclusions in other minerals.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS:

Most likely to be confused with turquoise, which is much harder #6, and cannot be scratched by a knife. Also confused with chrysocolla - impregnated chalcedony, or quartz, which is also hard.
 
ENVIRONMENT:
In the oxidized zone of copper deposits, mainly in arid climates.

CRYSTAL DESCRIPTION:
Microcrystalline, usually in solid vein-filling or botryoidal masses, often opal-like in appearance. Slender needles have been described as crystals but were only found at one locality (Mackay, Idaho).

TESTS:
Tongue usually clings to specimen. Blackens and gives water in the closed tube. Practically infusible, but decomposed by hydrochloric acid with a separation of silica.

LOCALITIES:
Chrysocolla occurs very widely in the American Southwest in copper deposits. Blue chrysocolla impregnated quartz, covered by small crystals of white quartz, from the Globe Mine, Gila County, Arizona, are frequent in collections. Fine massive specimens were found, in the early stages, in most of the western United States copper mines. Also found today in Africa and Chile. Russia and England (Cornwall and Cum- berland) once produced good specimens.

USES:
Chrysocolla was used in the West like turquoise for jewelry, but pure chrysocolla free of quartz is rather fragile and likely to crack. However, chrysocolla is often "agatized" in chalcedony quartz. The quartz provides the stone with its polish and durability. A famous form of this came from Mexico many years ago. It was called Parrot Wing. Another nice form is Drusy Chrysocolla. It is composed of agatized chrysocolla with a crust of small sparkling quartz crystals in small cavities. Polished specimens that show the vivid blue-green of chrysocolla and sparkling drusy quartz on top, can be quite pretty. .It is also an ore of copper when it is mixed in with other secondary copper minerals. Chrysocolla's most popular use is as rare mineral specimens.

FACTS & HISTORY:
Named from the Greek chrysos - "gold" and kolla - "glue" in allusion to the name of the material used to solder gold.

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