Malachite

Big Photo

Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre)
14.71 carats
© gemselect.com

Malachite is named after Greek word for "mallow" because of its resemblance to the leaves of the Mallow plant. It is a green, very common secondary copper mineral with a widely variable habit. Malachite shows a banding of light and dark layers with concentric rings, straight stripes and other figurative shapes caused by its shell-like formation.

Malachite was popular in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and was used for jewelry, amulets, as a powder for eye shadow and colouring pigment. Nowadays it is popular for jewelry and ornaments.

Malachite dust is toxic and must not be inhaled during cutting and polishing.

Azurmalachite is an extremely colourful massive material that combines the rich hues of malachite and azurite.

Malachite Gemstones by Colour

This table shows the variety of hues this gemstone can be found in. Click on a photo for more information.
 

Malachite Gemstones by Size

This table shows distribution of Malachite gemstone sizes that are listed on this site. This can give a good indication as to the general availability of this gemstone in different sizes.
Contributed photos
Lightest:2.87 cts
Heaviest:2590.5 cts
Average:76.46 cts
Total photos:44
Do you have a larger Malachite? Why not upload a photo?
2.87ct to 261.63ct261.63ct to 520.40ct520.40ct to 779.16ct779.16ct to 1,037.92ct1,037.92ct to 1,296.69ct1,296.69ct to 1,555.45ct1,555.45ct to 1,814.21ct1,814.21ct to 2,072.97ct2,072.97ct to 2,331.74ct2,331.74ct to 2,590.50ct
General Information
Chemical Formula
Cu
 
2
(CO
 
3
)(OH)
 
2
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
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Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Malachite Treatments
Malachite often takes a rather poor polish and paraffin wax is used to improve the appearance and hide small cracks; epoxy resins could be similarly used - Nassau (1984)
The surface can be hardened with artificial resin. - Gemstones of the world, Walter Schumann, 2001, p 176
Physical Properties of Malachite
Mohs Hardness3.5 to 4
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Specific Gravity3.25 to 4.10
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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Cleavage QualityPerfect
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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FractureConchoidal,Splintery
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Heat SensitivitySensitive to heat and hot waters.
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Optical Properties of Malachite
Refractive Index1.655 to 1.909
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) BlinkingMore from other references
Optical CharacterBiaxial/-
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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Birefringence0.250 to 0.254
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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PleochroismAbsent
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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DispersionNone
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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Colour
Colour (General)Deep saturated green and show characteristic banding
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
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Causes of ColourGreen, Cu2+ in octahedral coordination
W. William Hanneman, Pragmatic Spectroscopy For Gemologists (2011)
TransparencyOpaque
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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LustreVitreous,Silky,Dull (Earthy)
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Fluorescence & other light emissions
Fluorescence (General)None
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Crystallography of Malachite
Crystal SystemMonoclinic
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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HabitAggregates of radial fibres with botryoidal forms or stalactitic/stalacmitic structure
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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Geological Environment
Where found:Malachite occurs as a common secondary mineral in the oxidation zone of copper ore deposits and can be an ore of copper.
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Inclusions in Malachite
Often intergrown with azurite, turquoise, chrysocolla - Blue Chart Gem Identification, Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, 2010, p 4
Further Information
Mineral information:Malachite information at mindat.org
Significant Gem Localities
Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre)
 
  • Katanga (Shaba)
    • Katanga Copper Crescent
      • Kolwezi District
Namibia
 
  • Otjikoto Region (Oshikoto)
    • Tsumeb
Gems, Sixth Edition, Michael O’Donoghue, 2006, p. 426
Peru
 
  • Arequipa Department
    • Caraveli Province
  • Ica Department
    • Pisco Province
  • Lima Department
    • Huarochiri Province
J.Hyrsl (2012) Gemstones of Peru, p. 55
Russia
 
  • Urals Region
    • Middle Urals
      • Sverdlovskaya Oblast'
Gems, Sixth Edition, Michael O’Donoghue, 2006, p. 426
USA
 
  • Arizona
    • Cochise Co.
      • Mule Mts
        • Warren District
Galbraith, F.W. & D.J. Brennan (1959), Minerals of AZ: 37.
Copyright © Jolyon & Katya Ralph 1993-2014. Site Map. Locality, gem & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. For more information please contact the . Gemdat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free gemmological information to all.