Abstract

A reappraisal of Hermann’s ‘irite’, described in 1836 and 1841, has been attempted by examining and analysing three museum samples, accessioned before 1865. The three samples were determined to be mixtures of chromite, native Os and Ir, rutheniridosmine, platinum, laurite, hongshiite, irarsite, cuprorhodsite, iridsite, prassoite, hollingworthite, erlichmannite, several Ru-Ir-Pt-Ti-Cr-Fe oxide/hydroxide compounds (sometimes well crystallized), Pt-Ir-K chlorocompounds, and Pt-Ir-Ru-K-Cl-containing opal. The latter two are considered as artifacts generated by the hydrometallurgical processes applied to the crude platinum ores. Individual particles of native iridium and osmium display baroque crystal habits (filaments, leafs, blades, hollow crystals) that could be their natural, although rarely observed, states. There is still doubt about the origin (either natural or artificial) of all Ru-Ir-Pt-Ti-Cr-Fe oxides, but they can be compared with those found in several pristine placer and hard-rock deposits worldwide and in the Urals.

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