Acanthite, Ag2S, crystallizes in the monoclinic system and is the stable form of silver sulfide
Silver sulfide
Silver sulfide, Ag2S, is the sulfide of silver. This dense black solid constitutes the tarnish that forms over time on silverware and other silver objects. Silver sulfide is insoluble in all solvents, but is degraded by strong acids. Silver sulfide features a covalent bond, as it is made up of...

 below 173 °C. Argentite
Argentite was primarily treated as a mineral belonging to the galena group, cubic silver sulfide , occasionally found as uneven cubes and octahedra, but more often as dendritic or earthy masses, with a blackish lead-grey color and metallic lustre. All these forms are structurally not argentite, but...

 is the stable form above that temperature. As argentite cools below that temperature its cubic form is distorted to the monoclinic form of acanthite. Below 173 °C acanthite forms directly. Acanthite is the only stable form in normal air temperature.


Acanthite is a common silver mineral in moderately low-temperature hydrothermal
Vein (geology)
In geology, a vein is a distinct sheetlike body of crystallized minerals within a rock. Veins form when mineral constituents carried by an aqueous solution within the rock mass are deposited through precipitation...

 and in zones of supergene
Supergene (geology)
In ore deposit geology, supergene processes or enrichment occur relatively near the surface. Supergene processes include the predominance of meteoric water circulation with concomitant oxidation and chemical weathering. The descending meteoric waters oxidize the primary sulfide ore minerals and...

 enrichment. It occurs in association with native silver, pyrargyrite
Pyrargyrite is a sulfosalt mineral consisting of silver sulfantimonide, Ag3SbS3. Known also as dark red silver ore or ruby silver, it is an important source of the metal....

, proustite
Proustite is a sulfosalt mineral consisting of silver sulfarsenide, Ag3AsS3, known also as light red silver or ruby silver ore, and an important source of the metal. It is closely allied to the corresponding sulfantimonide, pyrargyrite, from which it was distinguished by the chemical analyses of...

, polybasite
Polybasite is a sulfosalt mineral of silver, copper, antimony and arsenic. Its chemical formula is [62S7][Ag9CuS4].It forms black monoclinic crystals which can show dark red internal reflections. It has a Mohs hardness of 2.5 to 3. It is found worldwide and is an ore of silver...

, stephanite
Stephanite is a silver antimony sulfosalt mineral with formula: Ag5SbS4 It is composed of 68.8% silver, and sometimes is of importance as an ore of this metal.-History:...

, aguilarite
Aguilarite is a sulfosalt mineral found in the San Carlos mine in Mexico. Its crystal system is orthorhombic.- References :* from* from...

, galena
Galena is the natural mineral form of lead sulfide. It is the most important lead ore mineral.Galena is one of the most abundant and widely distributed sulfide minerals. It crystallizes in the cubic crystal system often showing octahedral forms...

Chalcopyrite is a copper iron sulfide mineral that crystallizes in the tetragonal system. It has the chemical composition CuFeS2. It has a brassy to golden yellow color and a hardness of 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale. Its streak is diagnostic as green tinged black.On exposure to air, chalcopyrite...

, sphalerite
Sphalerite is a mineral that is the chief ore of zinc. It consists largely of zinc sulfide in crystalline form but almost always contains variable iron. When iron content is high it is an opaque black variety, marmatite. It is usually found in association with galena, pyrite, and other sulfides...

, calcite
Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate . The other polymorphs are the minerals aragonite and vaterite. Aragonite will change to calcite at 380-470°C, and vaterite is even less stable.-Properties:...

 and quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...


Acanthite was first described in 1855 for an occurrence in the Jáchymov (St Joachimsthal) District, Krušné Hory Mts (Erzgebirge), Karlovy Vary Region, Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

. The name is from the Greek "akantha" meaning thorn or arrow, in reference to its crystal shape.
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