DIOPTASE Onderra Mine Kaokoveld Plateau, Kuene Region Namibia, Africa
1.2 x .80 x .66 Inches 3 x 2 x 1.7 Centimeters
Additional information and photos available upon request
Dioptase was named in 1797. Its name is derived from a combination of the Greek words Dia, which means "through" and Optasia, which means "to see". This is regarding the ability to see internal cleavage planes within transparent to translucent crystals of Dioptase.
Dioptase is an uncommon mineral found mostly in desert regions where it forms as a secondary mineral in the oxidized zone of copper sulfide mineral deposits. However, the process of its formation is not simple, the oxidation of copper sulfides should be insufficient to crystallize dioptase as silica is normally minutely soluble in water except at highly alkaline pH. The oxidation of sulfides will generate highly acidic fluids rich in sulfuric acid that should suppress silica solubility. However, in dry climates and with enough time, especially in areas of a mineral deposit where acids are buffered by carbonate, minute quantities of silica may react with dissolved copper forming dioptase and chrysocolla.
The Altyn Tube mine in Kazakhstan still provides handsome specimens; a brownish quartzite host distinguishes its specimens from other localities. The finest specimens of all were found at the Tsumeb Mine in Tsumeb, Namibia. Tsumeb dioptase is transparent and often highly sought after by collectors. Dioptase is also found in the deserts of the southwestern US. A notable occurrence is the old Mammoth-Saint Anthony Mine near Mammoth, Arizona where small crystals that make fine micromount specimens are found. In addition, many small, pale-green colored crystals of dioptase have come from the Christmas Mine near Hayden, Arizona. Another classic locality for fine specimens is Renéville, Congo-Brazzaville. Finally, an interesting occurrence is the Malpaso Quarry in and near Agua de Oro Argentina. Here, tiny bluish-green dioptase is found on and in quartz. It appears at this occurrence, dioptase is primary and has crystallized with quartz, native copper, and malachite.
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Measurement Descriptions: Thumbnail: 0.2 to 3 Centimeters / .0625 - 1.118 Inches Miniature: 3+ to 5 Centimeters / 1.125 - 1.96 Inches Cabinet: 5+ to 9.5 Centimeters / 2.0 - 3.7 Inches Large Cabinet: Greater than 10 Centimeters / Greater than 4 Inches
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