Minerals & Gemstone 480x104

Advertising Information

Iridescent Bornite Crystal on Calcite

The Mineral bornite

Bornite is an ore mineral of copper, and is known for its iridescent tarnish. "Peacock Ore", which is sold to amateur mineral collectors and tourists, is often labeled as a variety of Bornite. However, most Peacock Ore in reality is Chalcopyrite treated with acid, which produces a strongly-colored iridescent tarnish. Bornite is named for Ignatius von Born, an Austrian mineralogist and paleontologist.
Chemical Formula Cu5FeS4
Composition Copper iron sulfide
Color Copper-red to yellowish brown on fresh surfaces. Quickly tarnishes to a multicolored purple, blue, and red.
Streak Dark gray to black
Hardness 3 - 3.5
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Bornite forms as isometric crystals at high temperatures, but when it cools down to normal temperatures it crystallizes in the orthorhombic system. However, the crystals retain their original isometric crystals. Crystals are rare, and are in cubic or dodecahedral form. Octahedral shaped crystals are extremely rare. Bornite occurs mostly massive, as well as in groups of tiny crystals and globular.
Transparency Opaque
Specific Gravity 4.9 - 5.3
Luster Metallic
Cleavage Indiscernible
Fracture Conchoidal
Tenacity Brittle
Other ID Marks Tarnishes to an iridescent purple, blue, and red.
In Group Sulfides; Simple Sulfides
Striking Features Tarnish, low hardness, and association with copper ores.
Environment In copper ore veins, both as a primary and secondary mineral. Mainly in hydrothermal metamorphic rocks, in mesothermal veins, in hydrothermal replacement deposits, and in igneous intrusions and dikes.
Rock Type Igneous, Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 2
Prevalence (1-3) 1
Demand (1-3) 2

Blushing Copper
Peacock Copper
Purple Copper Ore
Variegated Copper

 -  Term used to describe Chalcopyrite or Bornite with a colorful iridescent tarnish effect, usually artificially enhanced with acid. Most Peacock Ore is sold as Bornite, when in fact it usually produced from acid-treating Chalcopyrite.

Bornite is a common copper bearing mineral, and is used as an ore of copper when found in copper deposits.

The largest and most distinct crystals of Bornite have come from Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Good crystals also come from Shaba, Congo (Zaire); and from the Mangula Mine in Mhangura, Zimbabwe. The province of Cornwall, England has produced many Bornite specimens, including some crystallized examples (especially in the Carn Brea Mine). Nice crystals as well as massive form come from San Martin, Zacatecas, Mexico.

Large quantities of Bornite, mostly in massive form, have been extracted from the Arizona copper mines, particularly the Magma mine in Superior, Pinal Co.; and the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Cochise Co. Rare crystals have come from Butte, Silver Bow Co., Montana, where much massive material is also found. Small crystals were also once found at the copper mine at Bristol, Hartford Co., Connecticut.

Large amounts of Bornite have come from the Evergreen mine near Apex, Gilpin Co., Colorado, and the Flambeau Mine, Ladysmith, Rusk Co., Wisconsin. Bornite has also has been found in the White Pine mine, Ontonagan Co., Michigan; the French Creek mine, St. Peters, Chester Co., Pennsylvania; Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania; and the Chimney Rock Quarry, Bound Brook, New Jersey.

In Canada, Bornite occurrences include the Marble Bay mine, Texada Island, British Columbia, and the Acton mine, Bagot Co., Quebec.

Quartz, Pyrite, Calcite, Barite, Galena, Chalcopyrite, Chalcocite, Magnetite

Chalcopyrite - Different crystal form, usually lighter in color, weaker natural tarnish.
Pyrrhotite - Harder, attracted to magnetic fields, no tarnish.
Nickeline -  Harder, higher specific gravity, lacks tarnish.

bornite PHOTOS
DISCUSSIONView Forum | Post to Forum
Have a question about Bornite? Visit our Q&A Community and ask the experts!

To sponsor this page, click here.

Let us know how we can update this page
(Click for more details)
We strive for accurate content and locality information. If you feel any of the content is incorrect, or if you feel we are missing vital locality information, please fill out the form below so we can update the site. If you are requesting a locality be added, please only include significant locality occurences for the mineral.