MALACHITE POLISHED 04
A specimen piece of Malachite Polished 04 to great effect, with banded circular patterning. Deep forest green in colour and a good solid piece. It is obvious why Malachite is so popular when you see pieces like this. The heavy weight reflects its copper content, another interesting aspect of this popular mineral.
5.9cm x 6cm x 3.3cm, 151g.
Copper Carbonate Hydroxide.
Malachite is a famous and very popular semi-precious stone. Named for the Greek word for “mallow”, a green herb. Its banded light and dark green designs give it a unique ornamental quality unlike that of any other stone. The light and dark green bands are so distinctive that they make malachite easily recognisable.
Malachite is popular in jewellery, Native American Southwestern jewellery especially. The stones inlayed in silver make a nice variance from the traditional turquoise jewelry. Instead of competing, the two green stones tend to compliment each other when placed together in the same settings. Stones like coral, mother-of-pearl, azurite, jasper and onyx used for handcrafted jewellery also compliment malachite’s green colours.
Massive carvable forms are well known. Crystalline forms are much rarer and only recently becoming widely available to the average mineral collector. One of its more unique habits is its fine acicular crusts and tufts. At times appearing as a mat of thin hairs or as a carpet of green velvet. Another unusual habit is its stalactitic habits such as pictured above.
Many beautiful specimens of malachite contain special combinations with other minerals. Such combinations are some of the most colourful mineral assortments in the mineral world. They include such stunningly colourful minerals as dark blue azurite, sparkling black mottramite, baby blue chrysocolla, or rusty red limonite. Malachite is found with almost every secondary copper ore mineral. Associated with many rare copper silicates, halides, phosphates, sulfates and carbonates. Including duftite, libethenite, aurichalcite, sphaerocobaltite, kolwezite, shattuckite, atacamite, chalcophyllite, antlerite. Take a breath, conichalcite, rosasite, chalcosiderite, clinoclase, brochantite, graemite, liroconite, mixite and cornetite, to name a few.
Malachite has a mineral impostor called pseudomalachite. Pseudomalachite is a copper phosphate that has a massive crystal habit and colour that are very similar to malachite. The two minerals have different structures. Pseudomalachite means “false malachite” in latin and is very rare.
Malachite is an impostor of its own. It frequently pseudomorphs the closely associated mineral azurite. A pseudomorph is a mineral specimen where the original mineral has been chemically replaced by another mineral, but the outward appearance is still retained. Pseudomorph means “false shape” in latin parlance. The transformation is fascinating and sometimes leaves a nearly perfect azurite crystal shape that is actually malachite. Often the transformation is incomplete and leaves a blue/green mineral specimen unlike any other. A gem trade name is used for ornamental stones with this combination called azur-malachite. See the azurite static page for a more detailed discussion of the transformation.
Properties of Malachite.
Colour is banded light and dark green. When crystalline it is 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 Habitsin its massive forms are botryoidal, stalactitic 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.
Associated Minerals include limonite, chalcopyrite, bornite, native copper, calcite, cuprite, azurite, chrysocolla and many rare copper minerals such as kolwezite. Take a breath, shattuckite, antlerite, brochantite, graemite, aurichalcite, sphaerocobaltite, atacamite, chalcophyllite, conichalcite. Another breath rosasite, chalcosiderite, clinoclase, cornetite, duftite, libethenite, liroconite, mixite and mottramite among others.
Notable Occurrences include many classic mineral localities such as Shaba, Congo; Tsumeb, Nambia; Ural mountains, Russia; Mexico. Also in Australia; England and several localities in the Southwestern United States especially in Arizona, USA.
Best Field Indicators are colour banding, softness, associations and reaction to acid.
Malachite is known as a stone of Transformation, to assist in times of change and to transfer sacred information. Helps clear and activates the chakras, clarifies emotions and releases negative experiences. Grounding and protective.