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Dark blue hexagonal crystals or black powder composed of sulfide copper sulfide. Covellite was named for Niccolo Covelli after he discovered the mineral at Vesuvius in the early 19th century. Copper sulfide was probably used as a black pigment in antiquity (Orna et al 1980). It is currently used in antifouling paints and in textile dying with black aniline black.

Synonyms and Related Terms

copper sulfide; covelliet (Ned.)



Other Properties

Hexagonal crystals. Cleavage is perfect in one direction. Fracture = uneven. Luster = submetallic. Streak = gray to black

Composition CuS
Mohs Hardness 1.5 - 2.0
Density 4.6-4.8

Hazards and Safety

Unstable in air.

Additional Information

M.V.Orna, M.J.D.Low, N.S.Baer, "Synthetic Blue Pigments: Ninth to Sixteenth Centuries. I. Literature" Studies in Conservation, 25:53-63, 1980. Mineralogy Database: Covellite


  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979

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