ARGYRODITE, a mineral which is of interest as being that in which the element germanium was discovered by C. Winkler in 1886. It is a silver sulpho-germanate, Ag8GeS6, and crystallizes in the cubic system. The crystals have the form of the octahedron or rhombic dodecahedron, and are frequently twinned. The botryoidal crusts of small indistinct crystals first found in a silver mine at Freiberg in Saxony were originally thought to be monoclinic, but were afterwards proved to be identical with the more distinctly developed crystals recently found in Bolivia. The colour is iron-black with a purplish tinge, and the lustre metallic. There is no cleavage; hardness 2, specific gravity 6.2. It is of interest to note that the Freiberg mineral was long ago imperfectly described by A. Breithaupt under the name Plusinglanz, and that the Bolivian crystals were incorrectly described in 1849 as crystallized brongniardite. The name argyrodite is from the Greek , rich in silver.
Isomorphous with argyrodite is the corresponding tin compound Ag8SnS6, also found in Bolivia as cubic crystals, and known by the name canfieldite. Other Bolivian crystals are intermediate in composition between argyrodite and canfieldite.
(L. J. S.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)