Altaite - Encyclopedia

    Class : Sulfides and sulfosalts
    Subclass : Tellurides
    Crystal System : Cubic
    Chemistry : PbTe
    Rarity : Rare

Altaite is a rare hydrothermal mineral from auriferous epithermal veins. It owes its name to its site of discovery : the Altai Mountains in Kazakhstan. Its crystals are small and rare, with cubic or octahedral facies. Altaite usually occurs in tin-white masses, very dense (8.2), associated with galena, gold and other tellurides (hessite, sylvanite, calaverite, etc...). It is a tellurium ore generally recovered as a by-product in gold mines.

Photo features altaite on native gold approximately 4 cm from Browns Flat, Bald Mountain, Calaveras Co., California, USA - Harvard University Collection © Rock Currier.

Altaite in the World

Altaite is known as a rarity in quite a few gold deposits, the most classic being Kalgoorlie (Australia), Gold Hill (Colorado) and Carson Hill (California).

Altaite in France

In France, altaite is reported at the mine of Chizeuil (Saône-et-Loire), at the mine of Clausis (Hautes-Alpes) and on several deposits around Corte (Haute-Corse).


No twin known for this mineral species.

Fakes and treatments

No fake reported for this mineral species.

Hardness :  2 to 3
Density : 8.2
Fracture : Sub-conchoidal
Trace : Black

TP : Opaque
RI : Not measurable
Birefringence : None
Optical character : None
Pleochroism : None
Fluorescence : None

Solubility : -

Magnetism : None
Radioactivity : None