Breithauptite - Encyclopedia

    Class : Sulfides and sulfosalts
    Subclass : Antimonides
    Crystal system : Hexagonal
    Chemistry : NiSb
    Rarity : Rare

Breithauptite is a fairly rare nickel antimonide found in nickeliferous deposits, notably calcite-nickel-silver-cobalt hydrothermal veins. It is the antimony equivalent of nickeline with which it is associated almost constantly. Its name was given to it in honor of Johan Friedrich August Breithaupt, professor at the school of mines of Freiberg in Germany. It presents itself in a copper red mass with mauve reflections ; the crystals are extremely rare, hexagonal and flattened or prismatic, sometimes grouped in arborescences. It is an accessory ore of nickel.

Main photo : Breithauptite from Cobalt, Ontario, Canada © Jean-François Carpentier

Breithauptite from St-Andreasberg, Saxony, Germany © Carsten Slotta
Breithauptite from Monte Narba Mine, Sardinia, Italy © Italo Campostrini
Breithauptite from Balcoll Mine, Catalonia, Spain © Agusti Asensi Sabaté
Breithauptite from St-Andreasberg, Saxony, Germany © Joy Desor

Breithauptite in the World

Good breithauptite associations come from Cobalt (Ontario, Canada), Andreasberg (Germany) and Sarrabus (Sardinia, Italy).

Breithauptite in France

In France, breithauptite is present in the Pyrenees at Pierrefitte, near Cauterets, and at Ar, near Eaux-Bonnes, where the ancient "arite" is in fact an association of nickeline and breithauptite.


The {10-11} twin plane is known for this mineral species.

Fakes and treatments

No fake recorded for this mineral species.

Hardness : 5.5
Density : 7.59 to 8.23
Fracture : Irregular
Trace : Reddish brown

TP : Opaque
RI : -
Birefringence : -
Optical character : -
Pleochroism : None
Fluorescence : None

Solubility : Nitric acid and hydrochloric acid

Magnetism : None
Radioactivity : None


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