Polished Crystal & Stone Eggs
Polished crystal and stone eggs for sale including Septarian "Dragon Eggs", malachite, carnelian agate, and much more.
3 Items ($395 to $795)
Malachite was one of the first ores mined to produce copper. It was mined extensively at the Great Orme mines in Britain as far back as 3,800 years ago using stone and bone tools. Mining at the location lasted over one thousand years with an estimated 1,760 tonnes of copper produced from the mined malachite. Today, malachite is of minor importance as a copper ore because it is usually found in small quantities and can be sold for higher prices for other uses.
Malachite has been used as a green paint pigment for thousands of years. It is easily ground into powder, does not fade over time or when exposed to light and is easily mixed. These properties made it ideal as a coloring agent for thousands of years. Around 1800 it was replaced by less expensive synthetic forms, so today it’s only used as a specialty pigment by painters who want to practice historically accurate techniques.
Another historical use, and the primary use of malachite today is for ornamental and decorative purposes. It is frequently used as a gemstone and polished into cabochons or beads for use in jewelry. Larger pieces of malachite can be cut and polished into decorative items such as small jewelry boxes. Malachite is a fairly soft material with a hardness of only around 4 on the Mohs scale so it’s use is limited to items that are unlikely to suffer abrasions or impacts.
Malachite forms as a result of the weathering/oxidation of copper. In most locations, crystal formation begins when copper-rich water (water containing dissolved copper) seeps through small cracks in rocks. The ideal rocks being limestone, for the breakdown of the limestone by the water provides the carbonate necessary for malachite formation.
These crystals will form in available cavities as botryoidal masses, stalactites, dense aggregations of fibrous crystals and even as pseudomorphs after azurite. It rarely forms as large individual crystals, though when found they are typically tabular or acicular in shape. However, most of the time when large "malachite" crystals are found, they're actually a pseudomorph after azurite that retained the shape of the azurite crystal.
Malachite has been mined for thousands of years, with many notable locations all over the world. The first documented malachite mines were located near Egypt, where it was mined for both its pigment application and its copper content. Since then it has been mined from the Ural Mountains of Russia, the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from the Onganja mine in Tsumeb, Namibia, the Burra Burra Copper Mine in Australia and both Arizona and New Mexico of the United States. There are many other malachite deposits throughout the world, many of which surely haven't even been discovered yet.
Malachite is often found in association with another mineral, typically being copper, chalcopyrite, azurite, cuprite, cerussite, chrysocolla and a variety of other copper and iron oxides. In most cases, it will be found associated with azurite which is very similar in chemical composition. Often when azurite and malachite are found to have formed in close proximity, it can be deduced that during formation, the environment was relatively unstable, alternating between providing conditions that promoted the formation of malachite, back to providing an atmosphere stable for the formation of azurite.
Malachite due to its high copper content is toxic if it’s dust is inhaled or ingested. This would pose a health risk for people mining, cutting or hand polishing malachite where there are dust particles in the air. There is no health risk posed by normal handling of Malachite.