Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Malachite Chemical Properties
Malachite is a popular stone which has dark and light green banded areas, and this pattern gives the stone its unique ornamental look unlike that of any other gemstone. Malachite is a carbonate mineral normally 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 form commonly in kidney-shaped (botryoidal) or radiating masses.
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 one’s spiritual journey. Malachite stimulates one’s 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.