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Malachite

Malachite often results from weathering of copper ores and is often found together with azurite (Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2), goethite, and calcite. Except for its vibrant green color, the properties of malachite are similar to those of azurite and aggregates of the two minerals occur frequently together.

Malachite is more common than azurite and is typically associated with copper deposits around limestones, the source of the carbonate. Large quantities of malachite have been mined in the Urals. It is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Zambia; Tsumeb; Namibia; Russia; Mexico; Broken Hill, New South Wales; England; Lyon; and in the Southwestern United States especially in Arkansas and Arizona. In Israel, malachite is extensively mined at Timna valley, often called King Solomon's Mines, although research has revealed an interruption in mining activity at the site during the 10th century, the time of Solomo. Archeological evidence indicates that the mineral has been mined and smelted at the site for over 3,000 years.

Most of Timna's current production is also smelted, but the finest pieces are worked into silver jewelry. In Greek mythology, the throne of Demeter, goddess of grain and harvest, was fashioned from malachite and adorned with golden pigs and ears of barley.