Chrysocolla is a hydrated copper phyllosilicate mineral with formula: Cu2−xAlx(H2−xSi2O5)(OH)4·nH2O (x<1)[1] or (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O.[3] The structure of the mineral has been questioned, as spectrographic studies suggest material identified as chrysocolla may be a mixture of the copper hydroxide spertiniite and chalcedony.

Chrysocolla, Ray Mine, Scott Mountain area, Mineral Creek District, Pinal County, Arizona, USA
CategoryPhyllosilicate mineral
(repeating unit)
Cu2−xAlx(H2−xSi2O5)(OH)4·nH2O (x<1)[1]
Strunz classification9.ED.20
Crystal systemOrthorhombic
Unknown space group
Unit cella = 5.7 Å, b = 8.9 Å,
c = 6.7 Å; Z = 1
ColorBlue, cyan or blue-green, green
Crystal habitMassive, nodular, botryoidal
FractureIrregular/uneven, sub-conchoidal
TenacityBrittle to sectile
Mohs scale hardness2.5 - 3.5 ( or 7 - chrysocolla chalcedony, high silica content )
LusterVitreous to dull
Streakwhite to a blue-green color
DiaphaneityTranslucent to opaque
Specific gravity1.9 - 2.4
Optical propertiesBiaxial (-)
Refractive indexnα = 1.575 - 1.585 nβ = 1.597 nγ = 1.598 - 1.635
Birefringenceδ = 0.023 - 0.050


The name comes from the ancient Greek χρυσός (chrysos) and κολλα (kolla), "gold" and "glue",[5] in allusion to the name of the material used to solder gold, and was first used by Theophrastus in 315 BC.


Chrysocolla has a cyan (blue-green) color and is a minor ore of copper, having a hardness of 2.5 to 7.0. It is of secondary origin and forms in the oxidation zones of copper ore bodies. Associated minerals are quartz, limonite, azurite, malachite, cuprite, and other secondary copper minerals. It is typically found as botryoidal or rounded masses and crusts, or vein fillings. Because of its light color, it is sometimes confused with turquoise.

Notable occurrences include Bacan Islands, Indonesia, Israel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, Cornwall in England, and Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in the United States.

A 2006 study has produced evidence that chrysocolla may be a microscopic mixture of the copper hydroxide mineral spertiniite, amorphous silica and water.[6][1]


Due to being somewhat more common than turquoise, its wide availability, and vivid, beautiful blue and blue-green colors, chrysocolla has been popular for use as a gemstone for carvings and ornamental use since antiquity. It is often used in silversmithing and goldsmithing in place of turquoise and is relatively easy to work and shape. Chrysocolla exhibits a wide range of Mohs hardness ranging from 2 through 7, which is dependent on the amount of silica incorporated into the stone when it is forming. Generally, dark navy blue chrysocolla is too soft to be used in jewelry, while cyan, green, and blue green chrysocolla can have a hardness approaching 6, which is similar to turquoise. Chrysocolla Chalcedony is a heavily silicified form of chrysocolla that forms in quartz deposits and can be very hard and approach a hardness of 7.[7] [8] [9] [10]

See also


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