Mohs scale hardness: 4
Malachites are carbonate minerals also known as “copper carbonate”. Some beautiful specimens of malachite contain certain combinations with other minerals such as cuprite, azurite or chrysocolla. It also contains 2 atoms of oxygen and hydrogen - since these elements are the components of water, it is said that malachite is a hydrated carbonate. Crystallized in the monoclinic crystal system, this mineral often forms botryoidal, fibrous or stalagmitic masses. Although individual crystals are rare but they do occur as slender to acicular prisms. Pseudomorphs afterr more tabular or blocky azurite crystals also occur. When malachite is found along with other violet-blue mineral azurite then it is called as Malachite azurite or Azurmalachite.
Chemical Composition of Malachite
Malachites are technically termed as a "secondary" minerals, it means that they are created by a chemical reaction between minerals that have alraedy formed, rather than by a simple one-step process. Malachite is formed when water containing carbon dioxide or disolved carbonate minerals interacts with preexisting coper-containing rocks, or when solutions containing dissolved copper mineralls interact with carbonate rocks. They are commonly occur in "massive" form as micro-crystalline aggregate, in lumps, or as crusts on otther rocks. The typically banded appearance reflects the waning and waxing of the solutions necesary for formation, and the changes in their chemical content. The gems are green with irregular black banding. Its beautiful green colour is due to its high copper content (60% or more).
Malachite Care and Treatments
Because its hardness only 4, the stones are soft and fragile and have to be protected from sharp blows and scratches. Malachites are also sensitive to both acids and heat. Large temperature changes, cleaning it in a home ultrasonic cleaner and washing it in water are not recommended. The stones are normally coated with protective polish and the polish will wash off. Malachite of lower quality may be given a surface polish with wax or stabilized with plastic resins. Synthetic malachite has not been found in the gem market to date although they are manufactured for research purposes.
Although malachite can be found widespread, it is only a minor ore of copper. The reason it is mined is because it tends to occur in asociation with cuprite, the principle ore of coper, and with the native copper itself. Malachite is soluble in hydrochloric acid. As it disolves it gives off a strong effervescent fizz. It should be washed only with distilled water as the impurities contained in tap water may irreparably damage its surface.
Uses of Malachite
The name Malachite comes from the Greek “Malache” and the Romans and Greeks used the stones for jewellery and ground it to use as cosmetics (eye shadow). Although the result might be beautiful, unfortunately it is also dangerous to health as the copper content released from grinding these stones make it toxic to breathe. Many workers who involved in the mining and fashioning of malachite today are advised to wear the protective respiratory gear, and to keep dust to a miinimum by keeping the rought wet.
Malachite is abundant in its typical forms, even the best specimens are also modestly priced. Pieces displaying an unusual crystal habit, chatoyance or distinctive pattern will have higher values. Rocks consisting lovely combinations of malachite and other colorful copper minerals generally command higher prices that pure malachites. When fashioned into jewellery, malachite is cut into beads or cabochons as it is unsuitable for faceting.
Malachite was mined in Egypt as early as 4000 BCE. Malachite can be found in Australia, Russia, England, United States, Namibia and Zaire is said to be the most important mine. Malachite is also used as an anniversary gemstone for those who celebrate their 13th year of marriage.
It is believed malachite has special properties:
• Bring harmony and balance in relationships.
• Brings luck and success in business.
• Stabilize the psyche and improve mental strength.
• Useful for healing illness of liver, stomach, lung, kidney and immune system.
• Useful for healing asthma, swollen joints, arthritis, tumours and torn muscle.
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