Locality: Itauz Mine, Zhilandy group, Karagandy Province (Qaragandy Oblysy; Karaganda Oblast’), Kazakhstan Dimensions: 26 mm x 14 mm x 3 mm Copyright © Michael C. Roarke

Chemical Formula: Cu
Locality: Northern Michigan, USA, Cyprus island, Greece.
Name Origin: From the Greek, Kyprios, the name of the island of Cyprus, once producing this metal.

Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a reddish-orange color. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys.

The metal and its alloys have been used for thousands of years. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, the origin of the name of the metal from aes сyprium (metal of Cyprus), later corrupted to сuprum, from which the words copper (English), cuivre (French), Koper (Dutch) and Kupfer (German) are all derived. Its compounds are commonly encountered as copper(II) salts, which often impart blue or green colors to minerals such as azurite, malachite and turquoise and have been widely used historically as pigments. Architectural structures built with copper corrode to give green verdigris (or patina). Decorative art prominently features copper, both by itself and in the form of pigments.

Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase. In molluscs and crustacea copper is a constituent of the blood pigment hemocyanin, which is replaced by the iron-complexed hemoglobin in fish and other vertebrates. The main areas where copper is found in humans are liver, muscle and bone. Copper compounds are used as bacteriostatic substances, fungicides, and wood preservatives.

Physical Properties of Copper

Cleavage: None
Color: Brown, Copper red, Light pink, Red.
Density: 8.94 – 8.95, Average = 8.94
Diaphaneity: Opaque
Fracture: Hackly – Jagged, torn surfaces, (e.g. fractured metals).
Hardness: 2.5-3 – Finger Nail-Calcite
Luminescence: Non-fluorescent.
Luster: Metallic
Magnetism: Nonmagnetic
Streak: rose


Locality: Tsumeb Mine (Tsumcorp Mine), Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region (Oshikoto), Namibia Dimensions: 16 cm x 10 cm x 9 cm Copyright © Rob Lavinsky &
Locality: Ogonja Mine (Onganja Mine), Ogonja (Onganja), Seeis, Windhoek District, Khomas Region, Namibia Specimen is 1.7 cm tall Copyright © Tony Peterson
Locality: Tsumeb Mine (Tsumcorp Mine), Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region (Oshikoto), Namibia Field of view: 4×6 mm Copyright © Volker Betz
Locality: Andrássy I. Mine, Rudabánya, Rudabányai Mts, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén Co., Hungary Picture size 70mm Copyright © Tibor Horváth
Locality: White Pine Mine, White Pine, Ontonagon Co., Michigan, USA Measures 3″ x 2 3/8″ Copyright © David Johnson
Locality: Quincy Mine, Hancock, Houghton Co., Michigan, USA Copyright © John A. Jaszczak.