The name for this mineral is thought to have been derived from Ancient Greek words meaning “soft green rock”. But, it could also be for the Spanish mal – chite, a name describing a “bad mineral”, as powder from this and all Copper Carbonate based minerals are poisonous if inhaled. For this reason, these materials must be worked wet to avoid putting any dust into the shop air. The watery, leftover sludge is dangerous as well and must be disposed of very cautiously. Fortunately, Copper minerals are absorbed by the skin very slowly and are not too dangerous unless worn continuously on the bare flesh. To protect the consumer, final polishes at our shop are over coated with wax based polishes which provide our jewellery with an insulating layer. All Malachite is sensitive to dry heat, acids, ammonia and is soluble in very hot water. So, it is foolish for our clients to take these pieces into a sauna, hot tub or public swimming pool.
Opaque Malachite is a layered material varying from in colour from a very dark, almost black green to light pastel green, in discrete and distinctive layers. It is hydro thermally deposited and forms in nodules, spheres, or in botroidal fashion. It is also formed as stalactites and stalagmites. If the material is cut cross grain, the pattern is circular and if it is cut with the grain, striped sections are revealed. Because of the variable density of adulterants inherent in the concretion method of deposit, it is very rare to find a piece of Malachite bigger than your finger tip that is of a single colour. Although Crystals of Malachite exist, transparent Crystals of Malachite are very rare and are collected by mineralogists. They are not usually cut into gems as they are too soft for practical use.
Malachite is often associated with other minerals, such as Turquoise and Chrysocholla. In this combination it is called Eilat stone. It is also common to find Malachite and deep Blue Azurite bonded into some sort of patterns together. All of these materials are derivatives of Copper ore.
Malachite was found in massive deposits in the Urals, where it was mined for the Tsars for use as wall covering in Russian palaces. Today, Zaire, Argentina and Chile provide lesser quantities but excellent quality pieces for the jewellery industry. Historically, it has been used for everything from carvings, makeup, amulets to a pigment for mountain green. Now it is often cut into jewellery or beads. It is also very popular as an inlay in boxes and carved into statues and artworks.
We have a varied selection of finished goods, set in both Sterling and Gold, as well as beads and raw material awaiting your arrival.