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Breithauptite on calcite from the Samson Mine, St Andreasberg, Harz Mountains, Lower Saxony, Germany (Field of view 17 mm)
CategoryAntimonide mineral
(repeating unit)
nickel antimonide (NiSb)
Strunz classification2.CC.05
Crystal systemHexagonal
Crystal classDihexagonal dipyramidal (6/mmm)
H-M symbol: (6/m 2/m 2/m)
Space groupP63/mmc
Unit cella = 3.946 Å, c = 5.148 Å, Z = 2
ColorPale copper-red, may be with violet tint
Crystal habitCrystals rare, thin tabular or needlelike, to 1 mm; arborescent, disseminated, massive
TwinningTwin plane {1011}
FractureSubconchoidal to uneven
Mohs scale hardness5.5
StreakReddish brown
Specific gravity7.591–8.23 measured; 8.629 calculated
PleochroismVery distinct

Breithauptite is a nickel antimonide mineral with the simple formula NiSb. Breithauptite is a metallic opaque copper-red mineral crystallizing in the hexagonal - dihexagonal dipyramidal crystal system. It is typically massive to reniform in habit, but is observed as tabular crystals. It has a Mohs hardness of 3.5 to 4 and a specific gravity of 8.23.

It occurs in hydrothermal calcite veins associated with cobaltnickelsilver ores.

It was first described in 1840 from the Harz Mountains, Lower Saxony, Germany and in 1845 for occurrences in the Cobalt and Thunder Bay districts of Ontario, Canada . It was named to honor Saxon mineralogist Johann Friedrich August Breithaupt (1791–1873).


  • Palache, C., H. Berman, and C. Frondel (1944) Dana’s system of mineralogy, (7th edition), v. I, pp. 238–239
Massive breithauptite with orange-brown nickeline and minor quartz from the Cobalt area of Ontario, Canada