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Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla is a type of hydrated copper silicate mineral with the chemical formula (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O. It is noted for its attractive blue / blue-green coloration.[1]

Chrysocolla
Chrysocolla (light blue) together with azurite (dark blue) and malachite (green).
From Arizona, USA. 4.8cm across.
Photo by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com - image lic. under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Chrysocolla is usually found in microcrystalline or amorphous forms (without crystalline structure) - as massive (i.e. a shapeless mass), druzy encrustations, miniature stalactites, or in glassy-looking botryoidal form (globules). It is however occasionally found as gem-quality translucent crystals and these are considered valuable.

Chrysocolla - Associated Minerals

Chrysocolla is often found together with other copper minerals such as malachite, dioptase or azurite. It was mentioned by Theophrastus in 315 BC, and derives its name, curiously, from the Greek words for "Gold" and "Glue". This is an allusion to the solder used in gold working in ancient times. [1]

Owing to its coloration, chrysocolla has some visual resemblance to turquoise and has on occasion been confused with this mineral, or even deliberately substituted for it in a fraudulent manner. Turquoise is much harder. [2]

Chrysocolla is often seen either in its raw state as a collector's mineral, or in the form of a tumbled / polished stone. It may also be seen fashioned into spheres, eggs or other popular shapes. The mineral is soft and fragile when pure (2.5-3.5 Mohs), however it is sometimes found in "agatized" form, mixed with chalcedony - and in this form it is harder. [3] It's rare to see chrysocolla faceted as a gemstone but examples do exist.

Chrysocolla is widespread throughout the world and the Mindat database lists 2,781 diverse locations where it has been found. [4] Notable occurrences are in England, Arizona USA, Chile, Australia, France and Zaire. [5]

Prices for chrysocolla are reasonable and looking online, shaped stones such as cabochons can be found in the range of $50-100 for a 25-carat piece.

Chrysocolla
Chrysocolla
From Democratic Republic of Congo. 8.7cm across.
Photo by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com - image lic. under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Chrysocolla - Sources Referenced:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysocolla
[2] http://geology.about.com/od/minerals/ig/silicates/minpicchrysocolla.htm
[3] http://www.galleries.com/minerals/silicate/chrysoco/chrysoco.htm
[4] http://www.mindat.org/min-1040.html
[5] http://www.bernardine.com/gemstones/chrysocolla.htm

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