Chalcopyrite - Mineral and Healing Properties
Chemistry: CuFeS2, Copper Iron Sulfide
Class: Sulfides, Arsenides, and Tellurides
Uses: Major ore of copper
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- Crystal Cluster
- Chalcopyrite Crystals
- Peacock Ore
Chalcopyrite is a common mineral and is found in almost all sulfide deposits. Fine crystals of chalcopyrite have a unique character and can add to anyone's collection.
As an ore of copper, the yield of chalcopyrite is rather low in terms of atoms per molecule. It is only 25%, compared to other copper minerals such as chalcocite, Cu2S - 67%; cuprite, Cu2O - 67%; covellite, CuS - 50% or bornite Cu5FeS4 - 50%. However the large quantities and widespread distribution of chalcopyrite make it the leading source of copper.
Origin Of The Name
The name Chalcopyrite comes from the Greek word "chalkos" which means "copper" and the word "pyrites" which means to strike fire.
Chalcopyrite (or copper pyrite), looks like, and is easily confused with Pyrite, FeS2. Chalcopyrite is one of the minerals referred to as "Fool's Gold" because of its bright golden color. But real gold is a more buttery yellow and is ductile and malleable.
Chalcopyrite is also often confused with pyrite, although the latter has a cubic and not a tetragonal crystal system. Further, chalcopyrite is often massive, rarely crystalline, and less brittle. Chalcopyrite is also a darker yellow in color, with a greenish tinge and diagnostic greasy luster.
Due to its color and high copper content, chalcopyrite has often been referred to as "yellow copper".
It is believed the Egyptians (as early as 3900 B.C.E.) were the first people to create bronze, a mixture of copper and tin. This marked the beginning of the Bronze Age.
Where Is It Found
Chalcopyrite is present within many ore bearing environments via a variety of ore forming processes.
Chalcopyrite is present in volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposits and sedimentary exhalative deposits, formed by deposition of copper during hydrothermal circulation. Chalcopyrite is concentrated in this environment via fluid transport.
Porphyry copper ore deposits are formed by concentration of copper within a granite stock during the ascent and crystallization of a magma. Chalcopyrite in this environment is produced by concentration within a magma system.
Chalcopyrite is an accessory mineral in Kambalda type komatiitic nickel ore deposits, formed from an immiscible sulfide liquid in sulfur-saturated ultramafic lavas. In this environment chalcopyrite is formed by a sulfide liquid stripping copper from an immiscible silicate liquid.
The largest deposit of nearly pure chalcopyrite ever discovered in Canada was at the southern end of the Temagami greenstone belt where Copperfields Mine extracted the high-grade copper. Of the copper ore mined in the United States, the majority is produced in three western states: Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. Other major copper producing nations include Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Mexico, Russia, Peru, and Indonesia.
Recycled copper, predominantly from scrap metal, supplies approximately one-third of the United States annual copper needs.
What Do We Do With It
In pure form, copper is drawn into wires or cables for power transmission, building wiring, motor and transformer wiring, wiring in commercial and consumer electronics and equipment; telecommunication cables; electronic circuitry; plumbing, heating and air conditioning tubing; roofing, flashing and other construction applications; electroplated coatings and undercoats for nickel, chrome, zinc, etc.; and miscellaneous applications.
As an alloy with tin, zinc, lead, etc. (brass and bronze), it is used in extruded, rolled or cast forms in plumbing fixtures, commercial tubing, electrical contacts, automotive and machine parts, decorative hardware, coinage, ammunition, and miscellaneous consumer and commercial uses. Copper is an essential micronutrient used in animal feeds and fertilizers.
Peacock ore, or Chalcopyrite, pronounced kal-co-pie-right (kal as in "calendar", "co" as in coat), is a copper iron sulfide mineral that crystallizes in the tetragonal system. The name "Chalcopyrite" is derived from the Greek words chalkos, "copper" and pyrites, "strike fire". It is normally brass yellow but may have a purplish blue tarnish. The tarnish can produce a colorful, metallic iridescence and as a result it is often called "peacock ore."
Chalcopyrite is opaque and can be treated with acid to produce a greater tarnish. Chalcopyrite is present in volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposits and sedimentary exhalative deposits, formed by deposition of copper during hydrothermal circulation. It is concentrated in this environment via fluid transport. Chalcopyrite is the most important copper ore, and it occurs in a variety of ore types, from huge masses as at Timmins, Ontario, to irregular veins and disseminations associated with granitic to dioritic intrusives as in the porphyry copper deposits of Broken Hill, the American cordillera and the Andes. Chalcopyrite is present in the supergiant Olympic Dam Cu-Au-U deposit in South Australia. It may also be found in coal seams associated with pyrite nodules, and as disseminations in carbonate sedimentary rocks.
The energy of Peacock ore is power and is associated with the Crown Chakra. This mineral increases your perceptive abilities. It assists you in pulling ethereal energy to bring information to you and others. Peacock ore is useful for crystal healing and energy work. It enhances inner knowing, strengthens perception and helps you trust what you see psychically. It is also good for Tai Chi, acupressure, acupuncture and other practices that move Chi and break up energy blockages. It aligns the body's cellular structure, eliminates toxins, promotes hair growth, heals bronchitis and lung disorders, can help heal and protect from infectious diseases, fevers and inflammation. Peacock ore can be used to break up energy blockages and can open up and cleanse the Crown Chakra. It makes an excellent meditation stone.
Color: Brassy yellow, tarnishes to iridescent blues, greens, yellows and purples.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque.
Crystal System: Tetragonal; bar 4 2m
Crystal Habits: Predominantly the disphenoid which is like two opposing wedges and resembles a tetrahedron. Crystals sometimes twinned. Also commonly massive, and sometimes botroyoidal.
Cleavage: Rather poor in one direction.
Fracture: Conchoidal and brittle.
Hardness: 3.5 - 4
Specific Gravity: Approximately 4.2 (average for metallic minerals)
Streak: Dark green.
Other Characteristics: Some striations on most crystal faces.
Associated Minerals: Quartz, fluorite, barite, dolomite, calcite, pentlandite, pyrite and other sulfides.
Best Field Indicators: Crystal habit, tarnish, softness and brittleness.
Tetrahedrite & Chalcopyrite