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Cuprite mass of crystals


A deep red color mineral that is the primary source for Copper. Cuprite is a fairly common mineral often located with Malachite and Azurite. Major mining areas for cuprite occur in England, Germany, France, Siberia, Australia, China, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and the U.S. (Arizona, California). Cuprite is also formed as a corrosion product on copper and copper alloys. It has been used as a colorant to produce ruby red glass since the first and second millennia BCE.

See also Copper oxide red.

Synonyms and Related Terms

cuprous oxide; copper ore ruby; red copper ore; red oxide of copper; copper oxide red; cuprita (Esp.); cuprite (Fr., Port.); cupriet (Ned.)

Raman (MFA)

Cuprite, ground (HU Mineral Museum 129900).TIF

Other Properties

Isometric crystal system with octahedral shaped crystals. Cleavage is poor.

Fracture = uneven. Luster = adamantine or dull. Streak = brownish red

Composition Cu2O
Mohs Hardness 3.5 - 4.0
Density 5.85-6.15
Refractive Index 2.705

Additional Information

° D.Scott, "Copper Compounds in Metals and Colorants: Oxides and Hydroxides" Studies in Conservation, 42:93-100, 1997.

° Mineralogy Database: Cuprite

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979
  • David Scott, 'Copper Compounds in Metals and Colorants: Oxides and Hydroxides', Studies in Conservation, 42, 93-100, 1997
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index = 2.705