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Formula:   Cu2O   mineral photo

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Crystal:   Isometric  
Hardness:   3.5-4  
Spec. Gr.:   6.1  
Streak:   Bright Brownish-red  
Cleavage:   Poor Octahedral  
Location:   Onganja, Namibia  

The name Cuprite was derived from CUPRUM, meaning copper, in 1845. It originates secondarily by the oxidation of various primary copper ores. It easily pseudomorphs after crystals and wires of native copper particularly sulfides. While a common mineral with a high content of copper, it seldom forms commercially important deposits. Perfect crystals of several centimeters across were found at Chessy, France; Moldova, Romania; Nizhnii, Central Urals, Russia; and at Bisbee, Arizona. Crystals from Onganja are large and frequently form in gem quality red or crimson color, coated green by malachite.

Bibliography: Svenek, Jaroslav, Minerals, 1987, pp. 92-93.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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