Dioptase

Dioptase

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Credit: DIRK WIERSMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dioptase is a copper cyclosilicate mineral, chemical formula CuSiO3.H2O, belonging to the trigonal crystal system. It is formed as a secondary mineral by oxidation in deposits rich in copper sulfides. It may occur in amorphous or sub-crystalline form filling up veins in, or as a coating on its host-rock, but also occurs as well developed, void-filling crystals in a variety of green colours, ranging from a soft light green to a beautiful dark-bluish green. This sample is from formerly exploited mines at Tsumeb, Namibia, source of the most attractive specimens known worldwide, but now deserted. The prismatic, rhombohedrally terminated crystals are perched on a matrix of white calcite. Actual width of sample is 130 mm.

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Keywords: calcite, copper sulphide, crystals, dioptase, green, namibia, secondary mineral, tsumeb

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