By Sonia Acone
There are approximately 140 minerals that contain the element Copper, but this article is going to focus on some of the most common that one might find along his/her crystal journey. In all honesty, when I was approached to write this article, and started my own research, I was so overwhelmed that I had to walk away from it for a couple of days. The greatest concern I had was that the article would sound like a “monotone science lecture”. Yikes! So, I sincerely hope that I can give you a better understanding of these crystals/minerals without causing too much hair-pulling on your part (or mine).
The crystals we’re going to look at here are (in alphabetical order): Ajoite, Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Chrysocolla, Cuprite, Dioptase, Malachite, Plancheite, and Shattuckite. Some of these are Copper Silicates, while others are considered Copper Carbonates, with a couple constituting the Oxide and Sulfide groups.
A few words about Copper - it is an element, with the chemical symbol of Cu. Its most distinguishing feature is its color, a rich reddish-brown. Copper is quite soft, only 2.5 - 3 on the Mohs scale. Because finding native Copper is quite rare these days, it is most often mined from ores that are rich in Copper, which are minerals that are found with Copper in, on or around them. Copper ores that contain the highest concentrations of Copper are Azurite, Malachite, Chrysocolla, Chalcopyrite and Cuprite.
Ajoite- (K,Na)3Cu20Al3Si29O76(OH)16•~8(H2O) - Pronounced “Ah-hoe-ite”, this Copper Silicate is bluish-green (think sea-green) in color and is most often found as phantoms in Clear Quartz crystals. It is quite rare and has a hardness of 3.5 on the Mohs scale. Ajoite is a Heart chakra crystal and helps to release anger, hostility, jealousy and prejudice. It can be a calming stone and enables one to speak from the heart.
Azurite - Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2 - This deep, azure blue crystal is a Hydrated Copper Carbonate and is found as an ore of copper. The spectacular coloring is caused by copper. Its hardness is 3.5 - 4 on the Mohs scale. Azurite is a Throat and Third Eye chakra stone, enabling one to break through communication barriers and increase psychic awareness as well as creative solutions to nagging problems. Azurite is wonderful for older students to help them concentrate and remember what they’re studying. Healers will find Azurite a great companion in their healing practices, as it will increase intuition and enhances life energy throughout the body. Azurite is often found in conjunction with Malachite.
Chalcopyrite - CuFeS2 - Another ore of copper, Chalcopyrite is a Copper Iron Sulfide. It has a hardness of 3.5 - 4 and is a brassy yellow color. It so closely resembles gold that it is often called “Fools Gold”, along with its cousin, Pyrite. When the surface becomes oxidized, the coloring turns iridescent with blues, purples and greens, giving it the name of “Peacock Ore”. Chalcopyrite is a Crown chakra stone that removes energy blockages and increases physical stamina as well as self-esteem. Chalcopyrite is also beneficial as a meditation stone. Use it to increase business and abundance in general.
Chrysocolla- (Cu,Al)2 H2Si2 O5(OH)4·nH2O - Chrysocolla is another Copper Silicate, but it isn’t actually a mineral; because it has amorphous structure, it is listed as a mineraloid. This ore of copper is greenish-blue in color and is often mistaken for Turquoise. Its hardness is 2 - 4 on the Mohs scale. Chrysocolla can be used on the Heart and Throat chakras to increase communication from the heart, enhance creativity and relieve stress.
Cuprite- Cu2O - Cuprite is a Copper Oxide and if often found with Chrysocolla. It is reddish-brown in color that can sometimes, if it is a very deep red, appear black. Cuprite is often called “Ruby Copper” because of its red coloring. It has a hardness of 3.5 - 4. Cuprite is a Root chakra stone that increases willpower and helps one to conquer fears over things you may not have control over.
Dioptase- CuSiO3H2O - This Hydrated Copper Silicate is a deep green to emerald green in color and has a hardness of 5 on the Mohs scale. It is very fragile and forms such small crystals and, as such, is not normally common as a gemstone, although quite popular if one can find it as clusters. Dioptase works with the Heart chakra to let you live life in the moment and gives insight into new ideas and ways of thinking. Use Dioptase to increase growth and abundance and to bring about change in your life.
Malachite- Cu2(CO3)(OH)2 - Malachite is often found with Azurite and, “left to its own devices” so to speak, will actually turn into, or pseudomorph, into Azurite over time. Like Azurite, Malachite is a Hydrated Copper Carbonate with a hardness of 3.5 - 4 on the Mohs scale. It has some of the brightest and most striking green coloring in the entire crystal kingdom. Malachite is a stone of abundance, renewal and balance and can be beneficial to the Heart and Throat chakras to draw out negativity and get rid of old patterns. It is often used to balance the system and rid the atmosphere of pollution and electromagnetic energy.
Plancheite and Shattuckite- - Plancheite (Cu8Si8O22(OH)4•(H2O)) and Shattuckite (Cu5(Si2O6)2(OH)2) are so similar in appearance to each other that I have listed them together. Plancheite is a light blue-to-turquoise, much like Shattuckite, but Plancheite is a bit harder on the Mohs scale (5.5-6) than Shattuckite (3.5-4). Fundamentally, Plancheite is a hydrated version of Shattuckite and the only real way to distinguish between the two is by X-ray diffraction and microscopic analysis. Metaphysically speaking, Plancheite works with the Throat, Third Eye and Crown chakras to protect (and give courage) during times of stress or hostile, negative energies. It is helpful in retaining large quantities of information, especially when engaged in a “battle of wills”. Plancheite can increase psychic abilities, divination, automatic writing and astrological knowledge.
Shattuckite amplifies our thoughts and vibrations to higher knowledge and assimilates information into easier understanding, much like Plancheite. It is especially helpful for those who are mediums, tarot/rune readers to increase awareness.