Erythrite on Safflorite


Erythrite from the Bou Azzer Mine in Morocco

1 in stock


Erythrite has a hardness of 1½ – 2½ and a specific gravity of 3.06, and Safflorite has a hardness of ½ – 5 and a specific gravity of 7.2. Erythrite was first described in 1832 for an occurrence in Grube Daniel, Schneeberg, Saxony, and takes its name from the Greek έρυθρος (erythros), for red. Safflorite was named in 1835 by Johann Friedrich August Breithaupt from German “Safflor” or “Zaffer” because it was used in the manufacture of zaffer, an impure oxide of cobalt used as a pigment.

Erythrite and Safflorite have not been an economically important mineral historically, but prospectors often used it as a guide to associated silver! And, who knows, with the rise in electric vehicles, perhaps this mineral may find a new value and be the next Gold!

Erythrite occurs as a secondary mineral in the oxide zone of Co–Ni–As bearing mineral deposits, in association with cobaltite, skutterudite, symplesite, roselite-beta, scorodite, pharmacosiderite, adamite, morenosite, retgersite, and malachite. Meanwhile, Safflorite is most commonly found near moderate temperature hydrothermal veins in association with Silver, Skutterudite, and bismuth.

While there are only four known localities within Colorado where Erythrite has been found, there’s around 900 other locations around the globe, and there’s only one occurrence of Safflorite in Colorado, at the Luona Occurrence in Gunnison County, and a couple hundred worldwide, so no matter where you are, be sure to keep your eye out for something like this the next time you’re out hiking!


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