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Appearance, Uses and History
Chalcopyrite was named in 1725, from the Greek words ‘chalkos’ and ‘pyrites’.
It is primarily used as an ore of Copper and is common in hydrothermal veins and sulfide deposits around the world. It is the most important ore of Copper due to its prevalence and has been for hundreds or thousands of years.
Upon weathering, Chalcopyrite loses its metallic luster and brass colour – it becomes a dull grey colour. When treated with acids, Chalcopyrite can develop iridescence.
It is sometimes confused with Pyrite or Gold. To confuse matters, some Chalcopyrite ores may contain Silver or Gold.
In some cases, acid treated Chalcopyrite is missold as ‘peacock ore’. However, peacock ore is a name used for Bornite.
Chalcopyrite occurs all around the world, with particularly fine specimens found in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morrocco, Norway, Peru, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, the UK, and the USA.
Photos of Chalcopyrite
Hazards and Warnings
Chalcopyrite contains Copper and Sulphur, which can be toxic in high doses – however, handling this material should not be an issue; simply wash your hands afterwards.
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.
Mandarin and Traditional Chinese: