Bornite Gemstone: Properties, Meanings, Value & More

bornite gemstoneBornite is one of nature’s most colorful gemstones! It’s even nicknamed “peacock ore” after its enchanting, iridescent tarnish — similar to the array of colors a peacock displays in its feathers. 

Is bornite a rare mineral? Not at all. This stone is a copper-bearing mineral and an important copper ore found abundantly in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks.

Bornite is a crystal many believe to be artificial. This notion arose due to the practice of treating chalcopyrite with chemicals to resemble bornite so sellers could advertise them as “peacock ore” (but more on that later). 

Due to the mineral’s softness, bornite jewelry is a rare find. Instead, bornite is mainly used as a specimen for mineral collectors and crystal healers.

As far as healing, what is bornite used for? Bornite is known as a stone of happiness and luck. It’s believed to convert negative energy into positive, benefiting every aspect of one’s being. 

Curious to learn more about this common but underrated stone? Read on to learn about bornite’s properties, meanings, history, worth, and more in our Bornite Gemstone Guide. 

bornite gemstone

About Bornite Stone

Like many gems, “peacock ore” isn't the only pseudonym for bornite. Other nicknames include:

  • Blushing Copper

  • Erubescite

  • Peacock Copper

  • Purple Copper Ore

  • Variegated Copper

For the sake of this guide, we’ll stick to “bornite” when referring to this mineral.

Although bornite isn’t a traditional zodiac stone, the crystal is said to benefit those born under Sagittarius. As a zodiac sign passionate about adventure, exploration, and travel, bornite shields Sagittariuses against negativity on their ventures, helping them make their visualizations a reality.

In numerology, bornite vibrates to the numbers two and four. 

Like goshenite, bornite also appears as a bubbly, genderless gem character with the power to manipulate ice in the popular Japanese anime mini-series Land of the Lustrous. 

So how can you tell if your crystal is bornite? Its mineral traits will tell you everything you need to know. 

Bornite Specifications & Characteristics

Bornite isn’t born an iridescent gem. It starts as brassy yellow (due to the presence of copper) or dull silver (due to higher iron content). The mineral quickly tarnishes with exposure to air and moisture, displaying its brilliant, metallic rainbow iridescence.

Does bornite contain gold? Bornite contains more gold than chalcopyrite, but it’s mostly made of copper and iron. As a copper ore, bornite will have a high content of copper, which is about 63 percent.  

Although bornite typically exhibits orthorhombic symmetry, crystals are often cubic, octahedral, or dodecahedral, usually with curved or rough faces. Additionally, bornite is often compact, granular, or massive and alters readily to chalcocite and other copper minerals as it weathers. 

Bornite also becomes magnetic when heated above 350℃ (662℉).

Here’s an overview of bornite’s mineral data:

  • Chemical formula: Cu5FeS4

  • Mineral Family: Sulfides

  • Composition: Copper iron sulfide

  • Mohs hardness: 3 to 3.5

  • Color: Coppery red to yellowish-brown to gray or grayish-black; Iridescent when tarnished.

  • Crystal structure: Orthorhombic

  • Luster: Metallic

  • Transparency: Opaque

  • Density: 4.9 to 5.3

  • Twinning: {111} Penetration twins

  • Cleavage: {111} Poor/Indistinct

  • Fracture: Uneven to conchoidal

  • Tenacity: Brittle

  • Streak: Dark gray to black

  • Luminescence: Non-fluorescent

  • Pleochroism: Weak but noticeable

Bornite is often confused with other minerals like pyrrhotite, nickeline, and especially chalcopyrite. 

50 GRAMS CHALCOPYRITE (PEACOCK ORE) GG 1241Pictured above: Chalcopyrite stones lab-treated for iridescent tarnish

Bornite vs. Chalcopyrite

Is peacock ore bornite, chalcopyrite, or both?

Bornite and chalcopyrite have almost identical chemical structures, but they are not one and the same. 

For one, unlike bornite, chalcopyrite doesn’t typically tarnish. If it does, it’s a very weak tarnish compared to bornite.

Other apparent physical qualities of chalcopyrite are its light, brassy yellow hues, metallic luster, and specific gravity (4.1 to 4.3). It’s also harder than bornite, defined at 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale

Chalcopyrite better resembles pyrite or gold. It’s not until acid is added to chalcopyrite that it turns bluish-purple, resembling iridescent bornite.

That’s not to say that bornite doesn’t occur in different varieties. 

Types of Bornite

There are three variations of bornite:


A variety from Zechstein copper deposits of the Fore-Sudetic Monocline, Poland, characterized by a 50% deficit in iron. 


A variety from Zechstein copper deposits of the Fore-Sudetic Monocline, Poland, characterized by a 75% deficit in iron.

Silver-bearing Bornite

A silver-bearing variety of bornite.

Now that you’re a pro at identifying bornites, let’s move on to history.

bornite gemstone rough peacock ore

Bornite Meaning & History

Bornite wasn’t included as a distinct mineral in most early lapidary texts. However, its presence as an ore for precious metals — like gold, silver, and especially copper — suggests that humans have been in contact with this mineral for millennia. Plus, they may very well have associated various metaphysical properties that simply weren’t recorded.

The mineral was first described in 1725 from a copper mine in present-day Czech Republic. However, bornite lacked a formal name for over a century. It wasn’t until 1845 that its moniker was officially awarded in honor of Transylvanian mineralogist Ignaz Von Born. 

Born became a prominent member of the Freemasons and several other secret societies during his lifetime. One of those groups was the Vienna Illuminati, composed of intellectuals and progressives who opposed superstition and the abuses of governmental or religious powers. 

History? Check. Next, time to get metaphysical!

Image credit: James St. John | Flickr

Bornite Healing Properties

You can use most crystals as healing stones to support your physical, emotional, or spiritual body. Bornite’s energy works to support all three. 

This mineral is thought to help improve your present and future. Its ability to take what’s bad and convert it to good manifests at every level of your being — providing a solid foundation for whatever journey you take.

First, let’s see how a bornite crystal benefits the physical body.

Physical Healing

Bornite is believed to be an excellent healing crystal for physical ailments, especially concerning the lower body. Crystal healers often use it to strengthen the body and promote healthy growth in children. 

If you suffer from vertigo or often feel out-of-balance physically, bornite can shift you back into a state of equilibrium.

This stone is also said to help with fevers, muscle spasms, and circulation.

Emotional Healing

Bornite’s happy, sensible energy inspires you to take action in improving your present and future state. It allows you to anchor yourself in the positive rather than become weighed down by negative views. 

Ever had dreams so big you felt like they were impossible to achieve? 

This crystal removes emotional obstacles and self-hindering thoughts so you can become the person you’ve always wanted to be. Bornite allows you to think clearly, find clever solutions, and focus on problem-solving rather than dwelling on the presence of the problem itself.

Spiritual Healing 

Bornite’s spiritual meaning is associated with ease of the spirit. This mineral helps you stay grounded, especially when dealing with morality-related issues. It encourages you to integrate long-held personal values with new information, so your actions are guided by both head and heart.

Think of bornite as a totem of your moral compass, helping you find your steady moral center so you can make logical and just decisions from there as your starting point.

Many crystal healers also recommend using bornite as a chakra stone for activating and aligning all the chakras (or energy centers) along your body. 

Moving on, how is bornite graded?

bornite peacock ore gemstone rough specimen

Bornite Gemstone Properties

Every gem has specific characteristics that experts assess when determining value. For bornites, they typically evaluate color, cut, and carat weight. 


Bornite’s color is unique in that it starts as one thing, but ends as another. 

In its freshest, natural form, the mineral is brassy yellow or dull silvery-black, often looking entirely ordinary. However, oxidation unveils its iridescent tarnish. 

The more vibrant a bornite's spectrum of colors are, the more value it carries. 

Price can increase when bornite contains inclusions of other minerals, like chalcopyrite, or pyrite, among others. 


Due to bornite’s brittle nature, faceted cuts are rare. 

The mineral is more suitable for cabochons. However, because of its abundance, they have no significant value beyond the effort of cutting.

You’ll find bornite is usually sold in its rough or uncut form. Price varies depending on the size and uniqueness of the specimen. 

Carat Weight & Size

Bornite typically occurs as massive or disseminated metallic grains and patches in sulfide ore deposits. Specimens range in various sizes, from a few ounces to several pounds.

Cabochons could also be large, several inches long, because the massive material from ore veins is available in large pieces.


In the same way that sellers enhance other gems to make them look like bornite, bornite itself can be treated with acid to enhance its natural, rainbow-like tarnish. 

Due to the mineral’s fragility, cutting it out for extraction is no easy feat. That said, how and where does bornite form to begin with?

bornite gemstone rough specimen

Bornite Origins & Sources

Bornite mainly forms in hydrothermal copper ore deposits alongside minerals like chalcopyrite, pyrite, marcasite, and quartz. It also forms in silica-poor, intrusive igneous rocks, along with pegmatite veins, and contact metamorphic zones.

When found in copper deposits, bornite is used as an ore of copper.

Geographically, where is bornite most commonly found?

Mining Locations

There isn’t necessarily one locality considered the bornite capital of the world. On the contrary, the mineral is widespread and can be found in thousands of localities worldwide.

The largest and most distinct crystals have occurred in Kazakhstan, Congo (Zaire), and Zimbabwe. In the United States, large, massive quantities have come from Arizona and Montana.

Other notable localities include:

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Canada

  • Chile

  • England

  • Germany

  • Italy

  • Madagascar

  • Mexico

  • Morocco

  • Peru

  • Tasmania

…to name a few.

Are you thinking of splurging on your own bornite? Let’s go over what you can expect to spend. 

bornite gemstone rough crystal specimenImage credit: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Bornite Price & Value

Thanks to bornite’s abundance, it’s a relatively affordable semi-precious gemstone. However, larger, more vibrant pieces will garner higher prices. 

Rough bornite generally sells between $0.15-$0.40 per gram. You can find some lower-end specimens for about $0.05-$0.10 per gram.

If you can find them, cabochons and faceted cuts typically vary in price between $10-$20 per carat. 

Similarly, bornite jewelry is rare and can also vary in price. 

  • Rings sell for anywhere between $10 to $100, with some pieces fetching as much as $1300. 

  • Pendants average between $10 to $75 per piece.

  • Bracelets cost anywhere between $15 to $100. 

Preserving bornite’s beauty and energy comes down to gemstone care

Bornite Care and Maintenance

When it comes to preserving bornite, the most important thing to remember is not to submerge your bornite in water. The mineral is too soft to survive extended soaks.

When cleaning your bornite, simply use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or impurities. You can also use a damp cloth and gentle soap. Dry it thoroughly once it’s clean and store it in a cool, dry place away from harder minerals. 

To keep your bornite safe, avoid:

  • Wearing it during impact-prone activities

  • Using ultrasonic or steam cleaners

  • Contact with harsh chemicals and fragrances

  • Extreme or sudden temperature changes

As a delicate mineral, you’ll also want to choose bornite jewelry with protective settings.

Live Your Dream with Bornite!

In the same way that a peacock’s seemingly ordinary appearance transforms once it shows its colorful feathers, bornite’s ordinary appearance transforms into something else entirely as its enchanting, iridescence starts taking over.

Its beauty is paralleled by happy, hopeful energy believed to nudge you fearlessly on the way to attaining your goals. No obstacle is too big with a bornite on your side. Are you ready to harness its splendor and chase the impossible?

Buy bornite and other gemstones today!

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