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Incosahedral Floater Crystal

The Mineral cobaltite




Cobaltite is an important ore of the element cobalt. It forms very interesting and unusual crystals rarely seen in the mineral kingdom, especially the icosahedral type. The name of Cobaltite, and its namesake cobalt, is derived from the German equivalent of the leprechaun or goblin, called "kobold". Legend has it that the metal cobalt was haunted by an underground "kobold", due to its failure to properly smelt like other metals.

Chemical Formula CoAsS
Composition Cobalt sulfoarsenide, usually with some iron
Variable Formula (Co,Fe)AsS
Color Silver white to gray, sometimes with a pink or red tint from Erythrite coatings
Streak Dark gray to black
Hardness 5.5
Crystal System Orthorhombic
3D Crystal Atlas
(Click for animated model) 
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
There is a debate regarding the exact crystal structure of Cobaltite. It visually and structurally fits into the isometric system, but x-ray spectroscope studies reveal a lack of full crystal symmetry, thereby classifying it in the orthorhombic system according to most sources. 

Cobaltite forms in cubic crystals, as well as rare icosahedral, pyritohedral, and octahedral crystals. It also forms in combinations of pyritohedral and cubic crystals and in complex crystals. Rarely twinned. Crystals are typically striated. Most commonly grainy and massive.
Transparency Opaque
Specific Gravity 6.3
Luster Metallic
Cleavage 1,1
Fracture Uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Complex Tests Becomes magnetic upon heating
In Group Sulfides; Simple Sulfides
Striking Features Crystal habits, lack of yellow color, and mode of occurrence.
Environment In mesothermal veins of sulfide deposits, and in hornfels.
Rock Type Sedimentary, Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 3
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 2


Cobaltite AUCTIONS



USES
Cobaltite is mined for its cobalt content. Well-formed crystals, especially those from Sweden, are highly valued classics among collectors.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
Cobaltite is not a common mineral. Perhaps the best examples of this mineral come from Sweden. Sharp, interesting crystals of various different crystal habits have come from Tunaberg, Nyköping, Södermanland; and well formed, pyritohedral crystals were found at Västmanland, at Håkansboda and in the Pelle mine, Riddarhyttan. In Norway, crystals of Cobaltite were found in the Skuterud Mines, Modum, Buskerud.

Cobaltite is very rare in the U.S. Small complex crystals, as well as massive Cobaltite, came from the Kibblehouse Quarry, Perkiomenville, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania; and Cobaltite with a coating of Erythrite has been found at the U.S. Mine, Gold Hill, Tooele Co., Utah.

In Canada, cubic crystals of Cobaltite come from the Brazil Lake occurrence, near Espanola, Sudbury District, Ontario; and large, massive and grainy masses come from the orefields at Cobalt, Timiskaming District, Ontario.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Pyrite, Chalcopyrite, Dolomite Erythrite, Skutterudite

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
Arsenopyrite - Forms in different crystal habits, slightly harder.
Pyrite - Greater hardness, and usually has a yellowish color that is lacking in Cobaltite.
Marcasite - Greater hardness, forms in different crystal habits.
Galena - Lower hardness, higher specific gravity.
Skutterudite - Lacks perfect cleavage of Cobaltite; otherwise difficult to distinguish.


cobaltite PHOTOS
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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