Rough malachite

Malachite is usually found in opaque green masses; the color is due to the copper content. Crystals are too small for faceting, however the massive material is carved or polished in many ways to reveal the alternating bands of  light and dark green. In the past, malachite was worn to ward off danger and illness.

Malachite occurs in small quantities worldwide, but in larger quantities in copper-mining areas. Zaire is the most important producer.

Malachite Pictures

Raw malachiteTumbled malachite

Cause of Color :


Chemical Composition :

Hydrated copper carbonate – Cu2CO3(OH)2

Crystal System / Forms :

Monoclinic System / Botryoidal masses with radiating fibrous inner structure, frequently banded, acicular crystals.

Cuts & Uses :

Cabochon, beads, carvings, plaques, for inlay purposes. Sometimes cut along with the associated mineral such as azure-malachite, or along with chrysocolla.

Hardness : 4
Lustre : Sub - vitreous
Magnification :

Curved and straight banding.

Optic Character :

Anisotropic, D.R.; Biaxial negative (generally opaque).

Pleochroism : None.
Refractive Index / Birefringence :

1.660 – 1.910 (Spot R.I. 1.85) / 0.250;

Simulants (with separation tests) :

Azure-malachite (structure), Synthetic Malachite (elemental analyses), Green Turquoise (structure, R.I., birefringence)

Sources :

Russia, Australia, South Africa, Zambia, New Mexico.

Specific Tests :

Effervesces with cold hydrochloric acid.

Spectrum :

Not characteristic

Synthesis :

First produced in Russia by the ceramic technique. Identical to the natural malachite and cannot be identified by the routine tests.

Transparency :

Translucent to Opaque.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply