A beautiful but very fragile piece of malachite with chrysocolla from South Africa. This natural mineral makes an exceptional display piece but should be handled as little as possible. Malachite is relatively soft but pure chrysocolla is even softer.
The rich green colour of malachite made it popular as a pigment and as well as being used as a cosmetic particularly for around the eyes, it was also used in wall paintings.
In Europe during the Neolithic Period which was the final period of the Stone Age, copper extracted from ores including malachite is known to have been used. Ötzi also known as the Iceman is Europe's oldest human mummy. He lived between 3400 and 3100 BC and was found in 1991 in the Alps on the border between Austria and Italy. One of his possessions was an axe with an almost pure copper head. Tests confirmed the copper which would have been extracted from an ore came from Tuscany. Most ores only contain a small amount of metal. Samples from his hair confirmed it was contaminated with copper and arsenic which shows he was heavily involved with the smelting of copper. Smelting is the process of heating and melting an ore to extract the metal.
Each piece of malachite featured in our collection has been individually and meticulously chosen during one of our many buying trips to South Africa.