CopperNative Copper as an ore mineral is very rare throughout the world, although minor occurrences of the mineral are widespread. The aggregate form of copper is highly variable and a number of distinctive types have been recognized.

Native copper (copper found in a chemically uncombined state) has been mined for centuries and now is all but depleted as an economically viable ore. Other copper minerals are far more economical to mine and purify into metallic copper that is used for wiring, electrical components, pennies and other coins, tubing and many other applications. Native copper is still found in limited quantities in once-active mining regions. These finds are now valuable as mineralogical specimens and ornamental pieces.

Fine specimens only rarely demonstrate crystal faces and these are prized above similar specimens. The greatest Native Copper Ore Deposits ever found anywhere in the world and mined profitably were those of the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Native Copper mineral deposit occurs in a belt about 110 miles long with a average width of around 10 miles. The Copper mineral occurs in amygadaloids, conglomerates and fissures, and has been found in size from microscopic grains to very large masses (Mass Copper) of up to around 1,200,000 pounds.

Float Copper is found in mass throughout the Midwest and was deposited by the glaciers that moved the Copper masses from the Michigan Copper Country. At the turn of the century, the community of Bisbee, located just east of the Mule Mountains in southeastern Arizona, reigned as one of the premiere copper mining towns in the world. In 1877, Bisbee's Copper Queen Mine opened where miners would extract over eight billion pounds of copper, almost 3 million ounces of gold and over 7.5 million ounces of silver before the close of the mine in 1975.

Native Copper sometimes has Silver Inclusions and is locally called a Half breed. Native Copper has been classified into 14 different Copper forms of occurrence and can occur in 6 Copper crystal habits.

14 Different Forms of Copper

1. Grains, Blebs, Pellets,Masses. Anhedral to subhedral.

2 .Masses. The larger pieces commonly are very irregular with hackly appearance.

3. Crystals and crystal groups.

4. Networks. Interconnecting irregular veinlets, sheets, plates and aggregates.

5. Thin sheets. Formed particularly in thin fissures.

6. Filiform or wire.

7. Arborescent. Three dimensional fern like groups. Some variants are called moss copper.

8. Leaf. Dendritic aggregates flattened in one plain.

9. Brick. Massive, replacing red amygadaloids.

10. Shell. Moulds of boulders and cobbles. Also called skull copper

11. Shot. Coarse powder.

12. Spike. Also called copper nails .

13. Pseudo morphs. Replacement of feldspar, Barite, calcite crystals and boulders.

14. Half breed. Irregular inter grown masses of copper and silver.

6 Copper crystal habits

1. Cube

2. Dodecahedronpar

3. Octahedron

4. Tetrahexahedrons (most common)

5. Trisoctahedrons

6. Hex octahedron's

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Item# 1CUChile10195999

Very Rare Copper Crystal Plate Specimen from the El Salvador Mine, Chile



Native Copper from the El Salvador Mine, El Salvador, Atacama Province, Chile

This specimen is from the 1950’s. It was collected by a geologist whose work was home based in Columbia. It is from the El Salvador Mine (The Savior) which is a combined open pit and underground copper mine located in Chile. The mine was originally built by The Anaconda Company in the 1950s. In 1971, with the nationalization of the copper industry in Chile, full ownership of the mine was turned over to the newly formed, state owned copper mining company Codelco (Corporación Nacional del Cobre…which translates to… National Copper Company). The El Salvador Mine operates as Codelco's smallest mine (and also has their highest operating costs). This is a very unique, old and interesting specimen of copper from a very rare locale. Copper specimens from here are uncommon, even in international collections. There are touches of green verdigris on the tops of the arborescent growth with rounded terminations corresponding to deformed crystals.

Specimen weighs 26.6 oz or 1.66 lbs (755g) and Measures 5.9 x 3.8 x 0.9 inches (14.9 x 9.7 x 2.25cm)

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Item# 3AZCU10190053

Native Sheet Copper with Matrix Rock and Minor Malachite from Arizona



This is a specimen from our private collection. It is native sheet copper that formed in thin fissures that occurred in the host rock. It consists of compact, flattened dodecahedral habit copper crystals and arborescent formations that have their natural patina. There is minor Malachite on this piece as well as one end that has host rock intertwined with the copper formation. This is a beautiful large cabinet display piece from the Ray Mine in Gila County…a classic Arizona locale!

Specimen weighs 3.28 oz or 0.2 lbs (93g) Measures 5.6 x 2.9 x 0.6 inches (14.2 x 7.3 x 1.5cm)

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Item# 4AZCU10193591

Native Copper with Malachite and Copper Carbonate from Ajo, Arizona


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This is a specimen of native copper stalactite with arborescent formations at its base. It consists of dodecahedral habit copper crystals and arborescent formations that have their natural patina. There is minor Malachite on this piece as well as copper carbonate. This is a beautiful small cabinet display piece from Ajo (125 miles west of Tucson), Pima County, Arizona. Ajo has one of Arizona’s best-known porphyry copper deposits. (Porphyry copper deposits are copper orebodies that are formed from hydrothermal fluids that originate from a voluminous magma chamber several kilometers below the deposit itself.)

Specimen weighs 0.6 oz (19g) Measures 1.4 x 1.1 x 0.6 inches (3.7 x 2.9 x 1.6cm)