STEPHANITE MINERAL FACTS Nevada Turquoise gem stones
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Stephanite Mineral Facts:

Chemical Formula: Ag5SbS4 Stephanite is 68.5% Silver by weight.

Colors: Dark Gray to black.
Its streak is black.

Hardness: 2
Density: 6.2 to 6.3

Cleavage: The cleavage is perfect parallel to (010) and the fracture uneven.

Crystallography: Orthorhombic
Stephanite crystallizes in hemimorphic orthorhombic crystals. The crystals are highly modified, 125 forms having been identified upon them. They have usually the habit of hexagonal prisms, their predominant planes.
Crystals are usually small.  Also twinned in pseudohexagonal crystals.

Luster:. Sub-metallic to metallic

Optics: (Refractive Index)   Opaque

Composition, Structure and Associated Minerals:
Stephanite, though a comparatively rare mineral, is an important ore of silver in some mining camps. It is found associated with other sulphantimonites of silver, etc.
Crystals usually short prismatic and tabular parallel to the base. It occurs massive, in disseminated grains and as aggregates of small crystals. Analyses indicate a composition very close to the requirements of the formula Ag5SbS4.

Identification and Diagnostics
On charcoal stephanite fuses very easily to a dark gray globule, at the same time yielding the white fumes of antimony oxide and the pungent odor of SO2 . Under the reducing flame the globule is reduced to metallic silver. The mineral dissolves in dilute nitric acid and this solution gives a white precipitate with HCl. Stephanite is easily distinguished from other black minerals by its easy fusibility, its stout hexagonal crystallization, and its reactions for Ag, Sb and S.

Occurrence, Localities and Origins:
The mineral is associated with other silver ores in the primary ores and the secondary zone of enrichment of veins at Freiberg, Saxony; Joachimsthal and Pribram, Bohemia;  at Guanajuato and Arizona, Sonora, etc., at many points in Mexico, Peru and Chile and other mines in the Rocky Mountain region and at many points in Mexico and Peru. It is particularly abundant in the ores of the Comstock Lode, and other silver deposits in Nevada, and of the Las Chispas Mine, Sonora, Mex. It is formed at low to moderate temperatures.

It is mined together with other silver bearing minerals as an ore of silver.

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      Stephanite and Pyrargyrite Silver Ore, Nevada




Please note that the author, Chris Ralph, retains all copyrights to this entire document and it may not be reproduced, quoted or copied without permission.

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