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Formula:   CuSiO3 •H2O   mineral photo

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Crystal:   Hexagonal  
Hardness:   5  
Spec. Gr.:   3.3-3.5  
Streak:   Green  
Cleavage:   Perfect rhombohedral  
Location:   Tsumeb, Namibia  

Dioptase has a pretty, bright, emerald-green color that occurs in short, prismatic, and rhombohedral crystals up to two inches in length. It is too soft for wear in jewelry. An uncommon mineral, it usually appears crystallized in large druses in cavities near the surface of copper deposits. Its color is the admixtures of copper. It has no use as a copper ore. Exceptional crystals of dioptase are from Altyn Tybe, Kirghizia, USSR; Tiger, Arizona; Copiapoo, Chile; near Mindouli, Congo; and especially at Tsumeb, Namibia. Dioptase found here are fine, bright crystals that form atop sharp white calcite crystals.

Bibliography: Bancroft, Peter, Gem and Crystal Treasures, 1984, pg. 335-343.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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