Click the microscope button to view a thin section for this sample.
Click the object button to view an object rotation for this sample.

Fact sheet


Azurite is a hydrated copper carbonate mineral. It is a so-called secondary mineral, formed by the near-surface weathering of primary sulphide minerals. It is not an important copper ore mineral in itself, but can be a good indicator of copper sulphide minerals at depth.

This specimen of blue azurite on quartz is from Wheal Gorland, a locality famous among mineral collectors for the fine specimens of copper secondary minerals that were found there.

An illustration of this specimen appears in James Sowerby's British Mineralogy, one of the earliest and most important illustrated books on British minerals. Sowerby (1757 - 1822), who was a natural historian and illustrator, borrowed specimens from fellow collectors and dealers in order to illustrate his work. This specimen, borrowed by Sowerby from Philip Rashleigh, appears in Plate XCIV and has the description:

"The present specimen is a very rare and curious modification of carbonate of copper. At present I know of only two specimens, one belonging to P. Rashleigh, Esq., and the other in the possession of Mr. R. Phillips. The upper figure, which belongs to the former gentleman, is, as he observes, remarkable for being on the broken end of a large milky rock crystal...."

Chemical formula: Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2

Specimen no. TRURI: 1903.1.890
Location: Wheal Gorland
Grid Reference: SW 730 427


Additional images
  • Azurite 3 cm across
  • Azurite on quartz 4 cm across
  • Azurite on quartz 4 cm across
  • Illustration in Sowerby's British Mineralogy (1804-1817)
50.240601, -5.184892
About this collection

This Collection focuses on Cornwall and West Devon’s mineralogical and mining heritage.  The specimens it features are drawn from the collection of the Royal Institution of Cornwall (RIC) held at the Royal Cornwall Museum (RCM). 

This collaborative project involving the RCM, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and The Open University explores how access to the RIC’s mineral collection and the stories it can tell can be widened using digital technology.  It includes radioactive minerals from Cornwall that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public for health and safety reasons.

Sample details

Category guide  
Category Guide
Refers to any word or phrase that appears in the individual rock names. Names are generally descriptive; they allow users to search for broad terms like ‘granite’ as well as more specific names such as ‘breccia’. However, the adjacent descriptions of the specimens captures a wider range of general words and phrases and is a more powerful search tool.
Refers to any word or phrase that appears anywhere in the descriptions of the specimens
Accessory minerals
Minerals that occur in very low abundance in a rock. They are usually not visible with the naked eye and contribute perhapssver, they often dominate the rare elements such as platinum group metals.
Rock-forming minerals
Minerals that make up the bulk of all rock samples and are also the ones used in rock classi?cation.
Selecting one or more period, for example 'Jurassic'.
A term used to group together related samples that are not already gathered into a single Collection. For instance, there is a ‘SW England granites’ theme that includes such rock types as granite, hydrothermal breccia, skarn and vein samples.
A general term used to label a rock sample. It is a useful way of grouping similar samples throughout a collection. Category names are often, but not exclusively, common rock names (e.g. granite, basalt, dolerite, gabbro, greisen, skarn, gneiss, amphibolite, limestone, sandstone).
The owner of the sample that appears in the collection. For example, NASA owns all the samples that appear in the Moon Rocks collection
We would like to thank the following for the use of this sample: