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Stephanite Crystal Clusters

The Mineral stephanite

Stephanite is an uncommon mineral that is composed with a significant portion of silver in its structure. It is an important ore mineral and mined for its silver content, and is almost always found in in known silver deposits. Stephanite mostly forms in massive ore habit that is uninteresting to collectors, but it is important as an economic commodity for its silver content. However, it does occasionally form in highly aesthetic and lustrous crystals that are highly valued among collections. Stephanite is named after Archduke Stephen Francis Victor of Austria (1817-1867).
Chemical Formula Ag5SbS4
Composition Silver antimony sulfide
Color Dark gray to nearly black. Occasionally iridescent. May tarnish dull black.
Streak Black
Hardness 2 - 2.5
Crystal System Orthorhombic
3D Crystal Atlas
(Click for animated model) 
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Forms as prismatic and tabular crystal, which are often vertically striated. Sometimes hexagonal in shape, due to twinning on the prism-planes, forming a trilling. Crystals may be hemimorphic, with six-sided prisms terminated by larger basal planes. Other habits include columnar, platy, in rosettes, in parallel groups, grainy, and massive.
Transparency Opaque
Specific Gravity 6.2 - 6.5
Luster Metallic
Cleavage 2,2
Fracture Uneven
Tenacity Brittle
In Group Sulfides; Sulfosalts
Striking Features Crystal habits, streak, and mode of occurrence.
Environment Low temperature epithermal veins in silver ore deposits.
Rock Type Sedimentary
Popularity (1-4) 3
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 1

Stephanite AUCTIONS

Stephanite is an ore of silver. Well-formed crystals are hard to come across and are therefore highly valued among collectors.

Stephanite has been found in many of the classic silver deposits. Some of the best crystals of Stephanite were found at the Freiberg District, Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany. Well-formed hexagonal crystals have come from St Andreasberg, Harz Mountains, Saxony, Germany; and another classic European locality is the Příbram region, Bohemia, Czech Republic.

The silver deposits in Potosí Department, Bolivia, have produced fine examples of Stephanite, especially at Porco where it was found in excellent parallel crystal groups. In Mexico, sharp crystal groups have come from Mexico at the Chispas (Pedrazzini) Mine, Arizpe, Sonora; Fresnillo, Zacatecas.

In the U.S., Stephanite was one of the important silver ores at the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Storey Co., Nevada. In Canada, iridescent columnar crystals of Stephanite came from a one time find in the Husky Mine, Mayo Mining District, Yukon Territory.

Pyrite, Quartz, Galena, Fluorite, Sphalerite, Silver, Polybasite

Polybasite - Difficult to distinguish, although crystal plates are usually more platy and thinner.
Acanthite - Forms in different crystal habits, is sectile.
Galena - Has better cleavage, heavier.
Tetrahedrite - Not as heavy.

stephanite PHOTOS
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