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By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk

Malachite Gemstone Information

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About Malachite - History and Introduction

Malachite is a green copper carbonate mineral. Its name could have come from the Greek word, "malache" which means "mallow", because the color of malachite is similar to the color of mallow leaf. Alternatively, the name could have originated in the Greek word, "malakos", which means "soft", due to the fact that malachite is soft compared with other minerals. Malachite is used as a source of copper and as a gemstone. It often occurs with azurite in copper deposits. Malachite often has distinctive concentric bands in varying shades of green, which make it an interesting gemstone. It typically occurs in aggregate form, as botryoidal (grape-shaped) masses. The history of malachite goes back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who used malachite to make jewellery and amulets, and ground it into powder to make eyeshadow. Malachite has also been used as the pigment in green paints. Many years ago, huge blocks of malachite, some weighing an enormous 20 tonnes, were found in Russia and were used by the Tsars to decorate their palaces. However, the most significant contemporary source of malachite is Africa.

Malachite Gemstone

Identifying Malachite

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Malachite is a distinctive material, due to its concentric rings. When the stripes can be seen, it cannot be mistaken for another material. However, when a piece of malachite is so small that it cannot be identified by the banding, it could be mistaken for other opaque green gemstones.

Malachite; Origin and Gemstone Sources

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The largest malachite deposits occurred in Russia, where blocks of over 20 tonnes were found. However, nowadays, most malachite is mined in Zaire, Australia, Chile, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Arizona.

Buying Malachite and Determining Malachite Gemstone Value

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Malachite Color

Malachite is light to very dark green. Its color comes from copper. It is usually banded. Eye-like rings are the most popular bands, and malachite with these markings is known as "peacock's eye".

Malachite Clarity and Lustre

Rough malachite has a weak vitreous or matt lustre, but malachite that is cut or polished has a silky lustre.

Malachite Cut and Shape

Malachite is often cut en cabochon for rings, earrings or into fancy shapes for pendants. It can also be carved into intricate forms such as cameos. Spherical shaped malachite makes attractive beads for necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Malachite is sometimes faceted or tumbled. When cutting malachite, the lapidarist will cut it in order to show off the stripes.

Malachite Treatment

Since malachite is fairly soft, it is sometimes coated with resin or wax, in order to increase its hardness. All reputable gem suppliers declare any treatments or enhancements. Natural, untreated malachite can easily be found.

Malachite Gemmological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: Cu2(CO3)(OH)2 Basic copper carbonate
Crystal Structure: Monoclinic; small, long prismatic; usually aggregate
Color: Light-green to black-green, banded
Hardness: 3.5 - 4 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.655 - 1.909
Density: 3.25 - 4.10
Cleavage: Perfect
Transparency: Translucent, opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: -0.254
Lustre: Weak vitreous, matt
Fluorescence: None

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemmology-related terms.

Malachite: Related or Similar Gemstones

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Blue Azurite
Blue Azurite

Malachite is related to azure-malachite, which consists of azurite and malachite. Since azurite-malachite is a mix of azurite and malachite, it is a mix of blue and green. Malachite is also related to Eilat stone, which is malachite intergrown with turquoise and chrysocolla that comes from Israel.

Malachite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Healing Powers

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Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans made malachite into amulets to provide protection from the evil eye and in the Middle Ages it was used to protect children from witches and black magic. In fact, malachite was believed to warn its wearer of impending danger by breaking into pieces. Malachite is therefore thought to possess protective qualities. Some say that malachite mirrors the feelings of the wearer, so it is best to wear it when feeling positive. However, others say that malachite is a calming mineral that can encourage positive feelings and release feelings of negativity. Physically, malachite is claimed to increase physical energy, reduce swollen joints, facilitate labour, alleviate menstrual disorders, encourage liver detoxification, prevent vertigo and travel sickness, aid peaceful sleep, help respiratory problems, enhance the immune system, stimulate digestion and encourage good circulation. Malachite is a traditional gemstone for the 13th wedding anniversary. It is also believed by some to encourage business success. In traditional Hindu belief systems, malachite is thought to balance the heart chakra, helping us to be in touch with our emotional needs and deal with our emotions effectively.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and does not represent the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Malachite Gemstone and Jewellery Design Ideas

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Malachite pairs well with silver, gold or copper. It can be fashioned into vintage, tribal or contemporary designs. Its bold color makes malachite suitable for both men's and women's jewellery. Malachite is suitable for both subtle, delicate designs or dramatic, chunky styles. Malachite gems are not usually faceted, however, faceted beads and rings are sometimes seen. Malachite gems can be drilled or tumbled.

Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.

Famous Malachite Gemstones

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The most famous malachite is not a gemstone, but constitutes part of the interior decoration of "the Malachite Room" at the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. The room was designed by Alexander Briullov as a reception room of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (wife of Nicholas 1), during the 1830s. The opulent Malachite Room features ornamental columns, vases and fireplace panels made from malachite.

Malachite Gemstone Jewellery Care and Cleaning

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How to clean your gemstonesMalachite is softer than many other gems, so it can be fairly easily scratched. It is not advisable to wear malachite as rings, belt buckles, bracelets, or other items that get constant daily wear. However, malachite can be worn in those ways occasionally. Malachite is best suited for use as earrings, brooches, pendants or tie-pins, since these are not as likely to be scratched or knocked. Since malachite is sensitive to heat, acid, ammonia and hot water, it should be treated with care. Therefore, harsh household chemical cleaners should be avoided. Malachite is softer than common quartz, and since ordinary dust often contains traces of quartz, simply wiping off dust can eventually lead to reduced polish and unwanted surface scratches. To clean your malachite, simply use soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. As with most gemstones, ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended. Always remove any jewellery or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sports. Store malachite away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewellery box.

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