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Gems are highly prized minerals that have a common appeal to all cultures, and their legacy extends to prehistoric times. As far back as 20,000 years ago, our ancestors, the Cro-Magnon, ornamented their bodies with lavish strings of beads made from ivory, seashells, and gemstones (Cook). As is the custom today, the use of jewelry was determined by fashion and reflected one's rank in society. Malachite is cut into cabochons or slabs to be used in rings, necklaces, brooches, and in art objects ( Though not a precious stone, its vibrant colour is highly prized.
Possibly the earliest order of copper, malachite is believed to have been mined in a Sinai and eastern deserts of ancient Egypt from was early as 300BCE. Single crystal are uncommon; when found, they are short to long prism. Malachite is usually found as botryoidal or encrusting masses, often with a radiating fibrous structure and banded in various shades of green. The 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 (Bonewitz pg 125). 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. It also occurs as delicate fibrous aggregates and as concentrically banded stalactites (Bonewitz pg 125). Malachite occurs in the altered zones of copper deposits, where it is usually accompanied by lesser amounts of azurite. It is primarily valued as an ornamental material and gemstone. Single masses that weighed up to 51 tons were found in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 19th century (Yee). While doing researcher I was very surprised to learn that” Malachite, which can occur in nature in essentially a pure state, can be easily roasted in a crucible to the metal oxide, copper oxide, without the evolution of toxic gases and at modest temperatures attainable with an ordinary Bunsen burner (Cook). Minerals are generally identified by crystal form, color, luster, hardness, density, cleavage, and fracture. Some minerals also can be recognized by transparency, tarnish, tenacity, iridescence, effervescence, fluorescence, magnetism, radioactivity, taste, or smell. The mineral that I’m writing about is Malachite. Malachite is one of the most common and widespread secondary minerals of copper, occurring in the oxidized portions of copper deposits of all types. Malachite, also known as green copper carbonate, is usually associated with the blue copper carbonate, azurite. Specimens containing the two minerals are frequently out-standing beautiful because of their striking colors ( Here are a few physical characteristics of Malachite: Color is banded light and dark green or (if crystalline), just dark green. Luster is dull in massive forms and silky as crystals.
Transparency is opaque in massive form and translucent in crystalline forms. Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m.
Crystal Habits in its massive forms are botryoidally, stalactite or globular. Crystals are acicular or fibrous and form in tufts and encrustations. Frequently found as pseudomorphs of azurite. Cleavage is good in one direction but rarely seen. Fracture is conchoidal to splintery. Hardness is 3.5-4.
Specific Gravity is 3.9+ (slightly heavy).
Streak is green.
Other Characteristics: Weakly effervesces in acid.

Malachite is one of the most popular and beautiful semi-precious stones available. While it might be owned by millions, most people are not aware that the ornamental jewelry or figurines that own are created for the gemstone Malachite. Although its massive carvable forms are well known, its crystalline forms are much rarer and only recently becoming widely available to the average mineral collector (Lutgens). Malachite is named after the Greek word Mallow, which means green herb (Agosto). Fine specimens have come from the Ural Mountains, Russia; Tsumeb, Namibia; Chessy; France; Broken Hill on New South Wales, Australia, and Katanga, Congo. In the United States the outstanding locality is Bisbee, Arizona (Cook). While Malachite is extremely popular as ornamental jewelry and for making figurines, it is a relatively soft mineral. For instance, Malachite only scores 3.5 to 4 on Moh’s hardness scale. This means that while very stable, impact to the stone can chip it or destroy it. Sometimes a resin is applied to the stone to protect it from chips and scratches. 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 be beautiful, but unfortunately they can also be hazardous to your health as the copper content of the dust released from this stone makes it toxic to breathe ( Also, avoid using salt, soap, acids and heat. Cleaning it under running water or placing it in a bowl of hematite stones overnight are the recommended methods of purification. However, when using water to clean malachite be cautious, since water can affect the coating of some malachite stones (Glimmer dream). The also make a Malachite Jewelry cleaner, it is made by Weiman. Do not expose your malachite to sun rays. You can charge them by keeping them together with rock crystal stones (Agosto).
The chemical composition of Malachite is basic carbonate of cooper, Cu2CO3 (OH) 2, but if double it will appear as this Cu4 CO3)2(OH) 4 (mindat). Malachite has a mineral impostor called pseudomalachite. Pseudomalachite Cu5 (PO4)2(OH) 4 it is a copper phosphate that has a massive crystal habit and color that are very similar to malachite's habit and color, although the two minerals have different structures (gem Pseudomalachite means "false malachite" in Latin and is very rare compared to malachite (gem A good test to see what one is really malachite is it effervescence in HCI. It dissolves with effervescence in cold hydrochloric acid and in this way can be distinguished from other green copper minerals (Hurlbut). Exterior coating of Statue of Liberty is made up of copper metal which protects the statue (
Malachite include such stunningly colorful minerals as dark blue azurite, Chrysocolla, Limonite, Chalcopyrite, Copper, Calcite, and Quartz. Malachite is part of Sedimentary, Metamorphic (minerals net). This is the first stone I have ever really been attracted to. It is a beautiful green. I really love the flow and colour of these crystals. I really wished I would have purchased one on our mine trip. It was so amazing to see the different type of Malachite they had on display. This beautiful gem would be the start of my gem collection. The Malachite is known as opaque gem. The opaque gems include representatives of metallic ores and rock-forming minerals, and with the exception of jade they are used mainly as ornamental stones (Hurlbut). Rock collectors and mineral collectors are two different kinds of rock-hound. Although both seek specimens that are good examples of their type, good rocks and good minerals never occur together. A good rock specimen contains all the right minerals in due proportion, but a good mineral specimen is always out of proportion for its rock type.
Here are a few folklores and legend that I found interesting. Throughout history, some people have come to believe that malachite possesses special powers to bring about peace, love, success in life, and personal protection from harm. Some people even wore them as a means to detect any kind of danger coming their way, thinking that the malachite would break into pieces when danger arrived. It’s been called the guardian stone. Gems were also thought to have mystical powers. Primitive cultures and even some modern people believe that gems and crystals have the ability to heal ( They say that Malachite is a natural birthstone, but not one of the zodiac birthstones that we are familiar with. . The beautiful green color is one of the natural birthstones for those born in mid-spring (20-April-20 May) and my birthday is April 26th. They say that the green crystals bring you renewal, success in the new ventures, and good health. Taurus are known for being “down to Earth,” the doers and the realists. They are affectionate, known for their tempers and very stubborn. That was very surprising to her because it described me all the way. What was interesting was that Malachite is said to have an effective remedy for female problems. Malachite can help regulate the menstrual cycle and cramps, for easing labor. It has been called the Midwife Stone. I wish I knew about it when I giving birth to my two kids.
It is funny how I will never look at rocks and minerals the same anymore. They are more than rocks and minerals now. All of my rocks that I collected for the GNAJ trip are now displayed in my home or my bookshelf. I really enjoy when someone comes in and ask why do you have rocks in your house? With the knowledge that I am now equipped with I explain to them what they are and how important they are. The geologist goes beyond a preoccupation with rocks and minerals. To the geologist these are only the beginning of a larger preoccupation: investigating the Earth's past, Earth's workings, and Earth's useful products.

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