Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Marvelous Malachite is the gemstone of the week

Malachite is that beautiful banded green stone that is very popular in jewelry and had been for centuries.

Malachite is a form of oxidized copper which is where the green color comes from. The prescence of water also affects the coloring of Malachite. More water in the copper makes it lighter and less makes it darker.  The green patina found on outdoor  copper objects is a form of Malachite.  Malachite is the chemical twin of Azurite and can form Azurite as it oxidizes.

This is a fairly soft stone. On the Moh scale it is only a 3.5 to 4. It is easily scratched and care should be taken when cleaning it. Washing it with water will remove the protective the protective polish causing it to become dull. Never use a product with ammonia to clean it, either.

The Ural Mountains in Russia used to be ta major source of Malachite. Today, most Malachite comes from Zaire. It is also found in Germany, Zambia, Australia, Arizona and Chile. France and England also have deposits of the gemstone.
Nobody is sure where the name Malachite originated, but it seems to come down to two choices.  One is the Greek word for" herb" or "green" which is "malache". The other is the Greek word "malakos" which translates as "soft" due to the softness of the stone.
This gemstone was popular with ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans for amulets and jewelry. They would also mix it with galena, grind it and make eyeshadow out of it. It was being mined in the Sinai peninsula around 4000 B.C.. It was also a popular ornamental stone in Czarist Russia where it was used to make the columns in St. Isacc's Cathedral in Leningrad.
When it comes to the metaphysical aspects of Malachite, it is said to be a protective stone. In the Middle Ages, Malachite amulets were hung over cribs to protect infants from evil. Malachite is also believed to promote inner peace, success in business and hope. It also relaxes the nervous system and calms stormy emotions. It is said that Malachite can also bring harmony into your life.

The Malachite pictured here is from my collection. Be sure to check out the Marvelous Malachite Collection I created with handcrafted jewelry by the talented artisans of ArtFire.

No comments: