Green malachite is one of the most beautiful minerals in the world. It has been used for decorative purposes for hundreds of years. Its color has also been used as a pigment across multiple cultures. Malachite is a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral. It is opaque and green banded. Most often it forms in underground spaces in the fractures between rocks. These spaces create the growing conditions malachite needs to form. We will discuss all this and more in our article, going through the history of green malachite, properties and uses.
History of Green Malachite
Malachite has been in use for thousands of years. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that malachite was mined for its copper properties in Israel three millenniums ago. Malachite has also been used as a gemstone and a decoration, rather than being mined for practical uses. Ancient Romans and Greeks used powdered malachite as eye makeup as well as using the stone for jewelry.
The name “malachite” comes from the Greek word “molochitis lithos”, which translates to “mallow-green stone.” The mallow plant is a plant which grows in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Malachite’s color is similar to the mallow plant. Ancient Egyptians referred to their afterlife as the “field of malachite” because the color green was associated so strongly with death and new beginnings.
In some cultures, malachite has been used as a protection stone. Because the bands look like eyes, malachite was considered helpful in visionary endeavors. Green malachite was used as a protection stone for children. Today, some people believe green malachite can warn of coming danger by breaking into pieces.
Properties of Green Malachite
Malachite is a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral. The formula for this mineral is Cu2CO3(OH)2. Usually, malachite is found in botryoidal masses, which means that it has a rounded external form visually similar to a bunch of grapes; or stalagmitic masses, which are masses that rise from the ground due to water dripping from above. Malachite can also be found in fibrous form. Malachite forms deep underground due to the water conditions necessary to precipitate its formation. On the rare occasion that green malachite forms a singular crystal, it takes the shape of a needle-like acicular prism.
Malachite is usually green, but the precise shade of green varies widely. Sometimes the mineral comes in a green so dark it’s nearly black, and sometimes the bands are nearly yellow. When it is smooth, green malachite has banded rings around it. These rings can be dozens of different hues. When not smooth, malachite can have a rough outer texture which looks similar to a coral reef.
Malachite is often created when copper ores weather deep underground. Areas with an abundance of malachite usually have goethite, calcite, and azurite stones as well. However malachite is more common than azurite. Malachite can be found in copper deposits around limestones, because the limestone provides the carbonate needed for the mineral to form.
Metaphysical Details About Green Malachite
Malachite is considered a personification of nature due to its varied shades of green. Most greens found in nature can be found in samples of malachite. Because of its association with nature, many individuals use malachite as a protection stone. People use it to ward off negative energies and dispel radiation. As malachite is considered in tune with the earth, people also use it to restore earth energies. Malachite is thought to absorb energy rather than reflecting it. This is why people use the mineral for cleansing toxic energy from the air.
Malachite’s protection continues when people are flying in airplanes. One can consider it a protection stone if a person holds it before a flight and thinks about themselves safe in the wings of an angel. This will charge the stone with positive energy. People at work can use the stone to protect them from harm at their job. For example, miners may use it to ward off danger in the mines. Secretaries might use it for clarity of mind.
Some people use malachite as a grounding stone in meditation. They hold it while sitting and quietly breathing. The stone helps them to connect to nature. Other people use malachite for divination and scrying, though the opaque nature of the stone presents a challenge.
Examples of Famous Jewelry Containing Green Malachite
Malachite has been used for decoration more often than it has been used as a jewelry. The Hermitage Museum has an entire room dedicated to malachite – the Malachite Room. Inside are decorative and fashionable pieces of malachite from all over the world. It was created to replace the Jasper Room, which was destroyed in a fire. The Malachite Room has several pieces of furniture created from malachite as well as a decorative urn. The “Tazza” is a large malachite vase displayed in the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri.
Malachite has also been used as a green pigment for thousands of years. Powdered malachite was used as an eye makeup in ancient cultures. People stopped using malachite as a pigment around 1800 and instead switched to verditer, which is malachite’s synthetic form. Malachite pigment is very sensitive to acids, so the intended use of the pigmented object should be considered when deciding whether or not to use malachite.
Malachite was popular as jewelry in czarist Russia, with some people believing malachite jewelry is an effective protection against evil. The columns of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in Leningrad are made of malachite.
Where Do We Find Green Malachite Today?
Malachite can still be found in several countries today: South Africa, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Chile, Romania, Russia, and Namibia. We can also find malachite in parts of the United States, including Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. These are places that contain the optimal conditions for malachite to form.
Malachite is a beautiful banded mineral that has found purpose in cultures all over the world. From jewelry to furniture to makeup to spiritualism, we can use malachite in a myriad of ways. In today’s world, malachite can ground yourself or help you feel closer to nature. Every shade of green reflects one you might see if you took a cleansing walk in the woods.