Rocks and Minerals Information Sheet R006
The varying green shades of Malachite are very distinctive and in polished form provide very attractive ornaments. It is probably one of the better known copper carbonate minerals.
Other than its' vibrant green colour it has similar properties to Azurite and the two minerals are frequently found together.
The stone name comes via Latin and French from Molochitis meaning "mallow-green stone ". Malachite was extensively used as a mineral pigment since antiquity until around 1800.
Large quantities of Malachite have been mined in the Ural mountains, it is also found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Russia, Mexico, Argentina, and New South Wales.
In the Timna valley (Israel) it has been mined for over 3,000 years in an area known as King Solomon's mines.
Much of this is now used for smelting but the finer pieces are used for ornaments and worked into jewellery.
The unusual colour banding represents successive growth from hydrothermal fluids in veins and in the oxidised zone of copper deposits.