2.3" Galena, Chalcopyrite and Sphalerite Association - Peru
This beautiful specimen contains an association of galena, chalcopyrite and sphalerite crystals. It comes from the Huanzala Mine in Peru and the entire piece measures 2.3" wide.
Galena is a lead based mineral that is in fact the primary ore of lead, and has been used for its lead content for thousands of years. Galena typically displays a gray metallic luster and forms cubes or octahedral crystals. The chemical composition of galena is PbS.
Chalcopyrite is a brass-yellow colored mineral which is one of the most important ores of copper. When weathered chalcopyrite loses it's metallic luster, turning a gray-green color. When acids are present the tarnish can develop a red to blue to purple iridescence.
Sphalerite is a part of the sulfides group and typically exhibits a grey/black appearance due to high concentrations of impurities. When sphalerite is in it's purest state, the chemical composition is ZnS, and can display a gemmy transparent light tan/yellow color. This is one of the few minerals that can form crystals ranging anywhere between gemmy and transparent to opaque and metallic-like. Opaque or cloudy sphalerite tends to be most abundant, due to the ease of iron replacing zinc in the process of formation.