Chalcanthite

An unnatural, almost alien looking blue Copper based mineral which does occur naturally but is often lab grown for collectors.

Chalcanthite is water soluble, which can cause a few problems – one, that the mineral can only really naturally be found in arid regions, and two, that storage is a concern as the mineral needs to be stored in the correct humidity.

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Appearance

Chalcanthite occurs in a few different shapes, but the most popular is a bright blue-green crystalline formation. The pieces most popular with collectors are generally prismatic or tabular crystals on a stone matrix.


Uses and History

Chalcanthite can be used as an ore of Copper – although, given its solubility, it is only viable as an ore in the driest regions.

It is also prized as a mineral specimen, due to its beautiful colours and unusual growths. Unfortunately, the same applies – they are unlikely to be found outside the driest regions.


Locales

Chalcanthite naturally occurs in several countries, including Australia, Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, the UK, and the USA.

However, lab grown specimens are significantly more common than natural pieces – high quality natural specimens are few and far between!


Mineralogy

Chemistry
CuSO4 · 5H2O – hydrous Copper Sulfate
Colours and Variations
Bright blue, greenish blue, sky blue.
Streak
White
Luster
Vitreous, silky, dull
Fracture
Conchoidal, splintery
Crystal habit
Massive, stalactitic, encrusted – crystalline forms are prismatic or tabular.
Mohs hardness
2.5
Specific Gravity
2.12 – 2.3
Easiest testing method
Visual identification should be relatively easy, especially when combined with a hardness test.
Do not taste test Chalcanthite; it is poisonous.
Common Treatments
Often lab created.

Photos of Chalcanthite

Chalcanthite - streak color

A test showing the streak colour of a piece of lab created Chalcanthite.

Chalkantyt, Almeria, 2Hiszpania

A natural specimen on matrix from Almeria, Spain.

Chalcanthite-284719

A natural specimen from Bisbee, Arizona, USA.


Chalcanthite-202061

A large specimen of natural Chalcanthite from Chile.

Chalcanthite, limonite 1

A natural specimen from Arizona, USA.

Chalcanthite 9

A natural specimen from Canaveilles, France.


Hazards and Warnings

Chalcanthite is poisonous when dissolved in water. It should not be taste tested, and it should never be placed in water – especially a natural water source. It has been used as an insecticide and rat poison. 

Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.

When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.


Translations

Arabic:

Hindi:

Portuguese:

  • Calcantite

Bengali:

Indonesian:

Punjabi:

English:

Italian:

  • Calcantite

Russian:

  • Халькантит

French:

  • Chalcantite

Japanese:

  • 胆礬

Spanish:

  • Chalcantita
  • Calcantita
  • Chalcanthita
  • Chalkanthita

German:

  • Chalkanthit
  • Chalcanthit
  • Chalkantit
  • Kupferchalcanthit

Korean:

Thai:

Gujurati:

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

  • 胆矾

Urdu:


Further Reading / External Links