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Cuprite is a secondary mineral formed by the oxidation of copper sulfide veins. It is commonly found with native copper and malachite, and forms as both transparent red and lustrous, submetallic crystals. Transparent crystals may be faceted if large enough, but specimens are also commonly displayed as a glittering bed of crystals.

Cuprite Polished
Cuprite Classification
Common Name Cuprite
Species Cuprite
Cuprite Optical Properties
Transparency Opaque-Transparent
Refractive Index Over The Limit 2.849 Tolerance: (+0.001/-0.0010)
Optic Character NA
Polariscope Reaction Singly Refractive (SR)
Fluorescence SWUV: inert
LWUV: inert
Pleochroism None
Cuprite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 3.5-4
Streak Brownish Red
Specific Gravity 5.850-6.150 Typical:6.140
Toughness Poor
Luster SubAdamantine, Dull, Metallic
Fracture Conchoidal, Uneven
Cleavage Poor, in two directions
Cuprite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name Copper Oxide
Chemical Formula Cu2O
Crystal System Cubic
Chemistry Classification Oxide

Cuprite Colors

  • Black Cuprite Black
  • Red Cuprite Red
  • Multi-color Cuprite Multi-color

Cuprite Spectra

Cuprite Spectra

Color due to copper. Very broad absorption down to 630nm.

Jewelry Television acknowledges the significant scientific contributions of John S Harris, FGA to the study of gemstone spectra and with deep appreciation to him, acknowledges the use of his images and related notes about gemstones and their spectra in the educational materials on this website.

Countries of Origin

United States of America (the); Unknown; Namibia; Mexico

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.