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Interesting Facts About Malachite

Updated on June 30, 2010

Malachite Chemical Properties

Malachite is a popular stone which has dark and light green banded areas, and this patterns give the stone its unique ornamental look unlike that of any other gemstone. Malachite is a carbonate mineral normaly known as "copper carbonate" with the formula CuCO3.Cu(OH)2. It ranges between 3.5 – 4 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Its specific gravity is 3.74 – 3.95 (average 3.80), the refractive index range is 1.65 – 1.90. Although malachite is sensitive and not very hard, if handled with care it can be very durable. This vivid green gem gets its color from the copper content in its chemical formula. Crystals of malachite are rare, they belong to the monoclinic system of symmetry. They forms commonly in kidney-shaped (botroydal) or radiating masses.

Malachite Stone

Malachite Stone
Malachite Stone

History of Malachite

The Egyptians have been using malachite for amulets and other jewelry since 3000 AD. Often found in massive or botryoidal form, this beautiful green crystal has been used since ancient times in inlay work and in carvings of churches and cathedrals as it is found in huge boulders. It was also used as a pigment for paint during the 15th century in Egyptian tomb paintings and much later in European art. The Victorians were also great admirers of opaque jewelry stones, and malachite was chosen to be one of their favorites, sometimes choosing it to set in gold.

Malachite derives its name from the Greek word ‘mallow’, which means a green herb. The stone is also known by its trade name the peacock stone. Malachite can be found in USSR, Zaire, Germany,   France, Australia, Chile, Arizona and New Mexico/USA. Although malachite is widely distributed but they seldom occur in large quantities. Since malachite mineral is in abundant supply, you will hardly find synthetic materials in the market. There is evidence that Malachite was mined as early as 4000 B C on the Sinai Peninsula.

Malachite Uses and Treatments

Malachite is soft and somewhat brittle, it is sensitive to both acids and heat and requires gentle care, no ultrasonic or steam cleaning should be done. Use in bracelets, rings or other jewelry that gets rough or/and constant wear is not advisable. Use in brooches, earrings, pendants, tie pins is fine. Lower quality malachite may be stabilized with plastic resins or given a wax polishing on its surface. Due to its softness, malachite is easy to carve and shape, but unlike many other soft minerals, it generally takes a good polish.

Malachite is cut into cabochons or beads when fashioned into jewellery, as it is unsuitable for faceting. This mineral is not only used for ornamental stuffs or a gemstone, but it is also used in ground form as a cosmetic (eye shadow). The results may have been beautiful, but unfortunately they were also hazardous to your health as the coper content of the dust released from this stone makes it toxic to breathe. It is also used for carving statues, emblems, specimens, showpieces etc.

Malachite Magical and Healing Properties

In metaphysical terms malachite is considered a stone of balance and transformation, assisting in ones spiritual journey. Malachite stimulates ones insight and intuition whilst helping in recognizing and clearing past negative experiences and influences. Early civilisations wore amulets of malachite to ward off danger and illness. It is worn to detect impending danger, and assumed to break into pieces when danger is near. It is also believed to help unlock the meaning of dreams. Malachite promotes inner peace, prosperity, harmony, love and hope. It provides protection, security and success in business. It is the guardian stone of travelers. It works for improvement of mind and heart. It is also used during pregnancy to protect the mother and child from ill health.

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    • profile image

      desilamb99 

      5 years ago

      wow malachite is a beautiful mineral =)

      this is for a science class thing and it helped

    • flash167 profile image

      Marty Andersen 

      5 years ago from Salina, Utah

      Oh, I forgot to add. For any lapidaries out there that would like to work with Malachite. Don't forget that the dust contains a great deal of copper that can make you feel sick. Make sure you use water as you should working with any stone so you don't inhale any toxic dust or cancer causing particles. You may even wish to use a respirator.

      Many mistakenly think that the sickness is cause by Arsenic but that is not the case. Malachite usually does not contain Arsenic (although trace amounts may be found), it's actually the copper that makes you sick. You should also make sure you wash your hands well to remove any residue after working with it.

    • profile image

      george 

      5 years ago

      I am studying for a test on malachite. this website really helped

    • flash167 profile image

      Marty Andersen 

      5 years ago from Salina, Utah

      Malachite is truly a beautiful stone. As a lapidary, I appreciate it's ability to take a mirror like polish.

      I have been fortunate to get a good supply of Malachite from Africa and Bisbee, Arizona.

      The Bisbee, Arizona Malachite has some wonderful chatoyant properties. Chatoyancy is the same type of affect that is made by Tigereye. It is absolutely gorgeous!

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