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Malachite  was named in antiquity (see Pliny the Elder, 79 CE) molochitus after the Greek μαλαχή, "mallows," in allusion to the green color of the leaves - known in the new spelling, malachites, at least by 1661.


ï  Mineral: Malachite

ï  Chemistry: Cu3(CO3)(OH)

ï  Class: Carbonate

ï  Crystal system: Monoclinic

ï  Color Bright green, with crystals deeper shades of green, even very dark to nearly black; 

green to yellowish green in transmitted light

ï  Refractive index:  1.655 to 1.909

ï  Luster: Adamantine, Vitreous, Silky, Dull, Earthy

ï  Specific gravity: 3.6-4.05

ï  Mohs Hardness: 3.5-4

ï  Streak: Paler green

ï  Cleavage: Perfect

ï  Fracture: Conchoidal, Splintery


Malachite crystallizes in the forms of masses (normally with swirling patterns), tufts, rosettes, crusts, botryoidal configurations, compact and layered structures, aggregates, and rarely, as stalactities, needle-like crystals, and prismatic crystals with wedge-shaped terminations.   Single crystals and clusters of distinguishable crystals are uncommon, but when found they are typically acicular to prismatic.

The optical properties (color, intensity) of this mineral is characteristic of copper(II). . 

 Azurite is usually found in association with malachite, producing a striking color combination of deep blue and bright green that is strongly indicative of the presence of copper ores.  Malachite is more common than azurite. 

Both of these copper carbonates occur as common secondary minerals in the oxidation zone of copper ore deposits, where the water table and hydrothermal fluids provide the means for chemical precipitation, especially with copper deposits around limestones, the source of the carbonate.

Azurite and Malachite are often intergrown with each other along with turquoise and  chrysocolla.

Azurite and Malachite have been used as ornamental stones and in jewelry. Both minerals were used as mineral pigment in the past.  Heating destroys azurite easily, so all mounting of azurite specimens must be done at room temperature.   Azurite and Malachite dust is toxic and must not be inhaled when cutting and polishing.

Some of the locales from which specimens of Azurite & Malachite are available at Taos Rockers are:


New Mexico





Melody, in her book Love Is In The Earth, says "Malachite is a "stone of transformation", assisting one in changing situations, and providing for the transfer of sacred information leading to spiritual evolution."



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