Rough Malachite from South Africa
A distinctive malachite mineral specimen from the Kolwezi mine in Democratic Republic of Congo. Carefully chosen by the team at Stone Mania during one of our many trips to South Africa. The turquoise that can be seen within the malachite are inclusions of chrysocolla.
Malachite was one of the first ores of copper but it also contains hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Some of the world's finest material comes from Africa and despite it being a relatively soft and fragile mineral it's widely used for carving purposes and in particular for gemstones. On Mohs scale of mineral hardness which measures the scratch resistance of one mineral against another, malachite grades 3½ to 4.
One of the oldest green pigments known to man, the colour of malachite is caused by the presence of copper which also makes it extremely hazardous to work with. Dust from malachite must not be inhaled so those who cut and polish it must wear protective breathing equipment. The dust is kept to a minimum by ensuring the stone remains wet.
Malachite is safe to handle but care should be taken around newly cut material and very dusty specimens. Being soft and fragile it should really be handled as little as possible.
The name malachite came from the Ancient Greek word for mallow because its colour was believed to resemble the leaves of the Mallow plant. Mallow which comes from the same family as hibiscus and hollyhock often has long stems covered in circular leaves with a crinkly edge. Throughout history they have been used in food and for medicine.
Weight (grams) : 179.8
Size (cms) : 6.4 x 7.2 x 5.4