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Algodonite Value, Price, and Jewelry Informa on

Domeykite cabochons. © 49erMinerals. Used with permission.

Bright, silvery metallic cabochons of algodonite and domeykite are a rac ve and unusual. Faceted pieces are rarely seen but very beau ful when polished t

Algodonite Value
The Interna onal Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

Algodonite Informa on

Name Algodonite

Crystallography  Hexagonal crystals rare; usually massive, granular, reniforn. Domeykite is isometric.

Colors  Silver white to steel gray; tarnishes rapidly to a dull brown.


Luster  Metallic.

Fracture  Fracture uneven in domeykite, Subconchoidal in algodonite

Hardness  3-4 (Domeykite: 3-3.5).

Specific Gravity  8.38 (Domeykite: 7.92-8.10).

Cleavage  None

Transparency  Opaque.

Formula Cu6As (Domeykite = Cu3As).

Etymology Algodonite, a er Los Algodones Mine, Coquimbo, Chile. Domeykite, a er the Polish mineralogist Ignacy Domeyko. Mohawkite, a er the Mohawk Mine,
Keweenaw Co., Michigan.

Occurrence Locali es that produce copper arsenide minerals.

Algodonite: Mohawk Mine, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan (each – 1 inch across). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with

Algodonite and domeykite are both copper arsenides. However, algodonite forms in the hexagonal crystal system while domeykite forms in the isometric sy
Both can occur mixed together as well as with other minerals.

Mohawkite — a mixture of algodonite, domeykite, copper, silver, and other minerals — also yields very striking cabochons.
“Story in History,” mohawkite, silver, and bronze pendant. © Lauren Tripp,
photo and jewelry, Brighter Shade of Blue. Used with permission.

Iden fying Characteris cs

With a specific gravity (SG) of 8.38, algodonite is one of the densest gemstones used as jewelry. (Domeykites range from 7.92 to 8.10). This property usual
dis nguishes it from gems of similar appearance. However, a few gem materials have SG ranges and colors that approximate algodonite’s.

Bismutotantalite and stolzite are very rarely encountered in cut forms. They also lack algodonite’s metallic luster. Natural cinnabar is rarely cut and usually,
always, has a bright red color. (Be aware that some so-called “cinnabar” jewelry may just be red lacquer-coated wood, which is much lighter than actual cinn
well as algodonite).

Niccolite (nickel arsenide) comes close to algodonite in colors and luster and also makes beau ful cabochons. However, it has a somewhat lower SG (7.78).

Synthe cs
Scien sts have synthesized algodonites and domeykites in crystal form for research purposes. However, there’s no known jewelry use for this lab-created m
Algodonites tarnish rather quickly. Their surfaces turn a drab brown and lose their metallic luster. To prevent this, they must be sprayed with lacquer.

Naturally tarnished algodonite mass, 3.2 x 2.7 cm, Mohawk Mine, Mohawk, Keweenaw County, Michigan, USA. Photo by John
Sobolewski. Licensed under CC By 3.0.

As fine crystals, algodonites occur in Painsdale, Michigan. As masses, they occur in Chile at Los Algodones Mine, Coquimbo and Cerro de Los Aeguas, Rancagua.

Domeykite occurs in the following loca ons:

Mohawk Mine, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan.

Lake Superior district, Ontario, Canada.

Chile; Germany; Guererro, Mexico; Sweden; Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.

Related minerals are found at Beloves, Czech Republic and Mesanki, Iran.

Mohawkite occurs only in the Mohawk Mine, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan.

Mohawkite, 4.6 x 3.1 x 2.5 cm, Mohawk Mine, Mohawk, Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA. © Rob
Lavinsky, Used with permission.

Stone Sizes
Lapidaries could cut these copper arsenide materials into cabochons of almost any size, depending on the availability of large masses of rough with metallic

Algodonites, domeykites, and mohawkites are heat sensi ve. Lapidaries should take care when cu ng these materials.

Of course, copper arsenides contain copper and arsenic, and both pose health risks. Therefore, gem cu ers should take precau ons when working with the
materials. Consult our lapidary safety guide and ps for handling toxic gem materials for more informa on.

Wearing finished algodonites and other copper arsenides as jewelry should pose no health risks. Since these materials are somewhat so (hardness 3-4), pe
and earrings make good jewelry op ons. Rings would require protec ve se ngs.

For cleaning recommenda ons, consult our gemstone jewelry care guide.

Domeykite cabochons. © 49erMinerals. Used with permission.

by Joel E. Arem, Ph.D., FGA, Interna onal Gem Society

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