Bisbeeite is a poorly defined, secondary copper mineral. It
was named after Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona, USA
where it was first discovered in 1915 at
The new mineral was originally described by Dr. W. T.
and he proposed the name Bisbeeite after the discovery locality. He noted that the composition was identical to Dioptase but that Bisbeeite had distinctive optical properties. However, Bisbeeite from the Grandview Mine, Arizona,
as reported by Professor Austin F. Rogers in 1922, was found to be Cyanotrichite by
Samuel G. Gordon in 1923.
studies indicated that Bisbeeite
was not a valid species, but a variety of Plancheite (A.
1930) or a variety of Chrysocolla (V.
Billiet, 1942). In 1962, R. B. Laurent and R. Pierrot studied type material as well as material from an African locality
the conclusion that it was indeed a valid species. Then in 1967 M. C. Van
Oosterwyck-Gastuche studied what was said to be Bisbeeite from an
African source only and she determined that it was a mixture of Chrysocolla
and Plancheite, not a distinct species. Even though Bisbeeite from the type locality was not
used in her studies, Bisbeeite was later discredited in 1977 by the Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names
(CNMMN) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).
the type locality is not particularly rare and is present on many Shattuckite specimens. The difficulty is in acquiring reasonably pure
material for study, as the Shattuckite replaced by Bisbeeite was often impure to
During the early 1990s Sid Williams, Richard Bideaux and Doug
Graeme agreed that discrediting a species based on a study that did not involve the
type material was not sufficient. Based on x-ray
testing they conducted on five samples from the type
locality, they were satisfied that Bisbeeite was viable
as a distinct species. However, efforts to replicate
the reported chemistry were complicated by impure material.
Their "Bisbeeite" project was put on hold
when Michael Fleischer dropped Bisbeeite from his comprehensive
"Glossary of Mineral Species."
their book Mineralogy of Arizona (third edition,
1995), the authors John W. Anthony, Sidney A. Williams,
Richard A. Bideaux and Raymond W. Grant state:
"we believe that the Morenci and Hardshell material
may provide the basis for resurrecting Bisbeeite as
a species." They were referring to mineral samples
from the Morenci-Metcalf district, Greenlee County and
the Hardshell mine, Patagonia district, Santa Cruz County,
Bisbeeite may still be a valid species, but because of the inherent problem of
impurities in the Bisbee material, it may be some time before the question of the validity of Bisbeeite as a
species can be answered. So, depending on where you are reading about Bisbeeite
and the publication date, Bisbeeite may be referred
to as a distinct mineral species, or a synonym or variety
of Chrysocolla or maybe even a synonym or variety of
Plancheite. For now, the name Bisbeeite has been relagated to the
status of a discredited species and merely being a synonym
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