HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Chalcopyrite, pronounced kal-coe-PIE-rite, has been known since antiquity and has variously served as an ore of copper, iron, and sulfur. Its name is derived from the Greek words chalco, meaning “copper,” and pyr, “fire,” alluding to its copper content and tendency to spark when struck with iron or flint. Chalcopyrite is abundant and widely distributed. Notable collecting localities are found in Peru, England, Mexico, Australia, Bolivia, and the United States (Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Montana).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Chalcopyrite [copper iron sulfide, CuFeS2] crystallizes in the tetragonal system as sharp, distinct, equant or wedge-shaped crystals. Chalcopyrite is opaque and has a bright metallic luster. Its color is brass-yellow to golden yellow; oxidation creates a dark tarnish that is often iridescent with hues of green, gold, and magenta. Chalcopyrite has a Mohs hardness of 3.5-4.0, poor cleavage in one direction, and a specific gravity of 4.1-4.3. It occurs in many mineralogical environments and reaches its highest levels of crystal development in hydrothermal-vein deposits where it is often associated with quartz.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Medieval physicians believed that when ingested, powdered chalcopyrite alleviated the symptoms of fevers, infections, and inflammations. According to modern metaphysical lore, chalcopyrite enhances perception, acts as a connective force in interactions with other cultures, and helps to remove energy blockages that interfere with meditation. Chalcopyrite is a major ore of copper.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Chalcopyrite is widely collected for its well-formed crystals, brassy-yellow color, metallic luster, and frequent associations with such other minerals as quartz.
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Dolomite was described as a mineral species in 1791 and named for the French geologist Déodat de Dolomieu. Dolomite is abundant and widely distributed, but good specimens are uncommon. Notable sources are found in China, Austria, France, Germany, Morocco, South Africa, and the United States (Missouri, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, New York).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Dolomite [calcium magnesium carbonate, CaMg(CO3)2], pronounced DOUGH-low-mite, crystallizes in the hexagonal system (trigonal subsystem) as blocky, often twinned, rhombohedral crystals with slightly curved faces. Dolomite also occurs in compact, granular, and massive forms and is the primary component of dolomite rock, which is similar to limestone. It has a Mohs hardness of 3.5-4.0, pearly to vitreous luster, perfect cleavage in three directions to form rhombohedrons, and a specific gravity of 2.8-2.9. Crystals, which are rarely well-developed, are transparent to translucent and usually white or colorless, although impurities can impart a range of subtle hues. It occurs primarily in chemical sedimentary rocks (dolomite rock) and in metamorphosed dolomitic marbles. It also is found in metamorphic skarns and hydrothermal veins.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: According to modern metaphysical practitioners, dolomite relieves sorrow and the symptoms of depression, aligns and balances mental and emotional energies, and encourages charitable actions and generosity. Dolomite is an important ore of magnesium and magnesium compounds; dolomite rock is quarried as a dimensional stone, cement aggregate, and road-fill material.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Collectors acquire dolomite because of the rarity of well-developed crystals; interesting mineralogical associations; and unusual, curved crystal faces.