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Fact sheet


Copper was the second most important metal sourced in Cornwall and was found in a variety of ore minerals. The most common of these was chalcopyrite (copper iron sulphide). Although abundant in Cornwall and the main ore of copper worldwide, chalcopyrite yields relatively low amounts of copper compared to some of the other, less common, copper ore minerals. In Cornwall, chalcopyrite was found in veins associated with granite. 

This specimen of chalcopyrite has a distinctive form or growth habit.  The technical name for this habit is botryoidal, which comes from the Greek meaning bunch of grapes. Locally, chalcopyrite in this form is called blister copper

The specimen is from Dolcoath, a mine on the northern slopes of the Carn Brea granite ridge.

Chemical Formula: CuFeS2

Specimen no. TRURI: 801-976
Location: Dolcoath mine
Grid Reference: SW 662 405


Additional images
  • Chalcopyrite 5.5 cm across
  • Chalcopyrite 17 cm across
  • Chalcopyrite 17 cm across
  • Chalcopyrite 6.5 cm across
50.218196, -5.278738
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: