Malachite: African

Ranked as one of the most important mineral discoveries in history, African Malachite is one of nature's wonders. This distinct green stone is a one-of-a-kind treat with its vivid green color and beautiful natural patterns. Used by various ancient cultures and famous structures, this popular stone has been highly pursued for thousands of years.

Malachite's name is derived from the Greek molochitis lithos, meaning "mallow-green stone" or mahle meaning "green mallow plant," after its resemblance to the leaves of the mallow plant. Malachite was used as a mineral pigment in green paints, glazes and glass until the 1800s. African malachite is a semiprecious stone also known as a copper carbonate. This stone is usually found in opaque green masses or bands that alternate light and dark layers with concentric circles. The deep green color is the resultant of copper deposits in the stone. Malachite is a secondary mineral, which means that it is created by a chemical reaction between minerals that have already formed, rather than by a simple one-step process. When water containing carbon dioxide or dissolved carbonate minerals interacts with preexisting copper-containing rocks, or when solutions containing dissolved copper minerals interact with carbonate rocks, malachite may form. When heated, malachite reduces to its native copper. This discovery led to the development of the field of metallurgy. In 1835, a malachite boulder of the highest quality was discovered. It took miners 21 years to unearth and bring the stone to the surface.

  • Malachite décor and jewelry dating back to 4000 BCE was found in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians attained their malachite from the Sinai Peninsula and used it in amulets and statues. The Papyrus of Ani, also known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, says that the "Queen of Heaven" drops stars on the earth in the form of green stones. The gemstones were ground into paint and used to decorate the walls of tombs. Vivid green malachite kohl eyeliner, thought to be Cleopatra's favorite cosmetic, was buried with the pharaoh for use in her afterlife. Pharaoh headdresses were frequently lined with malachite to grant the ruler with wisdom.
  • Archeological evidence suggests that the mineral was mined and smelted at King Solomon's Mines in the Timna Valley of Israel more than 3,000 years ago.
  • In Greek mythology, the throne of Demeter, the goddess of grain and harvest, was carved from malachite and decorated with golden pigs and ears of barley.
  • In ancient China, malachite was a valuable commodity called Shilu, named for its source near Shilu, Guandong Province. The prized stone was thought to be a form of jade which symbolized wealth and rank.
  • Czar Nicholas I of Russia decorated am entire room in the Winter Palace in malachite. Designed in the late 1830s, the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna used it as her drawing-room. The room includes columns, pilasters, fire-place trimmings and decorative vases made completely of malachite.
  • High quality malachite was discovered in 1635 in the foothills of the Ural Mountains. One Russian legend, originating from that region, says that drinking from a goblet made of malachite gives one the ability to understand the language of the animals.
  • Malachite is worn in Italy to defend against the "evil eye."
  • African Malachite is said to increase one's concentration and psychic vision. It is also considered a powerful emotional healer and may be used as a protection stone, absorbing undesirable energies and pollutants from the atmosphere and from the body.

LOCATION: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Large malachite deposits can be found throughout the world; however Africa has the finest quality of rough malachite. We are proud to bring you the value and beauty of African malachite.
The richest deposits found are in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The mine is located in the Ruashi district of Lubumbashi, the province's capital. Lubumbashi is Congo's second largest town, following Kinshasa. Belgians founded the region in 1910 as a mining settlement, which quickly became the center of the copper belt. Malachite carvers in the Ruashi district irrigate their lapidary machines to keep blades and grinding stones working well. Their houses are easily recognized by the streams of green water seeping out.

  • Ranks 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs hardness scale.
  • Color bands contain vivid green mottled with streaks ranging from pale or light green to dark green or nearly black.
  • Sourced from the Ruashi mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Close relative of the Rosasite group, malachite is a copper ore.
  • African malachite is a translucent gemstone that ranges from an adamantine, or diamond-like, luster to a silky luster.
  • Traditional gift for 13th anniversaries.