Malachite is a gorgeous green gemstone, named after the Greek word “molochites” for “mallow”, a savoury green herb. Its light and dark green bands are very distinctive, making it one of the most easily recognisable of all gemstones.
Malachite was crushed and used as a green pigment in the Bronze Age and its use in jewellery can be traced back as early as 4000BC when it was worn by Egyptians. In the Middle Ages Malachite was worn to protect from black magic and sorcery. It is said that Malachite can be worn to detect impending danger and it is believed to lend extra energy and bring harmony into one’s life.
The Russian Tsar was fascinated by the mineral and in 1818 deployed miners to the Ural Mountains in order to extract enough material so as to create the beautiful gemstone pillars of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The gem is relatively soft, measuring only 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale and is therefore often cabochon cut and secured into jewellery using a bezel setting.
Malachite is found in several locations around the world including Australia, Mexico, Namibia and the Ural Mountains of Russia.