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(also ruby copper, red copper ore), a mineral; cuprous oxide, Cu2O (88.8 percent Cu, 11.2 percent O). Cuprite crystallizes in the isometric system. The crystals are octahedral, dodecahedral or, less frequently, acicular or fibrous (chalcotrich-ite). The mineral generally occurs in massive granular, sometimes earthy, aggregates. Cuprite is red in color with a high adamantine luster. Its hardness on Mohs’ scale is 3.5–4 and its density is 5,850–6,200 kg/m3.
Cuprite is a typical supergene mineral formed from primary copper sulfides and secondary chalcocite. It occurs in association with malachite, native copper, and other secondary minerals in the oxidation zone of copper deposits. In the USSR, cuprite deposits are located in the Urals (Gumeshki, Mednaia Ruda, and Turiia mines) and in the Kazakh SSR (Dzhezkazgan). There are also deposits in France (Chessy, near Lyon), Chile, Peru, and the United States (Bisbee, Ariz.).