Posted on by Nevil Agrawal

One of the oldest found green-colored semi-precious gemstones, malachite, is named after the Greek word “malache,” meaning “mallow.” That’s because the color of malachite resembles the green color of the mallow leaves. It is probably one of the most recognizable minerals around. Its bright, vivid green color stands out against other gemstones. Its smooth feel, vibrant green color, and gorgeous silky luster make malachite jewelry very attractive. Whether it’s a pair of malachite earrings, a cuff bracelet, or a cocktail ring mounted with malachite, this gemstone will surely help you make a mark in the jewelry market.

Although it is one of the most widely found and extracted minerals on the earth’s crust, purchasing malachite is not as simple as it may seem. When it comes to buying such semi-precious stones, it is important for the buyer to acquire some knowledge of its properties and certain facts about the gemstone. Our comprehensive guide helps you with all the necessary information about this distinctive gemstone and will help you buy the right malachite stone.


What is malachite?


In chemistry, malachite is defined as a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral with the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. Derived from the Greek words “molochitis lithios” wherein ‘molochitis’ means ‘mallow,’ which is the name of a plant with a distinctive green color, malachite basically means “mallow-green” stone. A beautiful decorative stone with rich patterned coloration in shades of green, malachite is unique among all gems.

Malachite is green because of copper. But another distinctive sign of malachite is its texture, which features concentric circles on its surface. These circles can be green, white, or even black. These patterns make malachite unique and provide a smooth look. Despite its low hardness, malachite’s relative softness makes it easy to work on, facet, and polish as well.  All these qualities, combined with high availability, make malachite stone a popular choice. This stone is used extensively to make beads, inlays, cabochons, boxes, and carvings of all types.


Where is malachite found?


Green malachite stones are widely found and extracted from various sources around the world. However, some noteworthy sources of malachite are Arizona, Australia, Brazil, China, Namibia, and Russia . In Russia, the malachite stone is obtained in huge quantities from the Ural Mountains. Other countries to produce this varied lustrous gemstone are Chile, Germany, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, United Kingdom, Zambia, and Zaire. The mine in Zaire is considered to be very important by the gemstone miners.


The Three C’s of Malachite:


Color: The malachite stone owes its green color entirely to copper.  Although malachite stone is mostly available in green, there are several shades of green to choose from. While light green malachite with whitish circles is a subtle option, dark green malachite with black circles can help bring out a dramatic side to your jewelry.


Malachite is an opaque gemstone. When polished, green malachite stones display an attractive vitreous or silky luster. Its beautiful silky luster makes it look gorgeous, especially in a bezel setting.

Cut: Malachite’s unique pattern is often taken into consideration by jewelry makers before cutting it. This clearly indicates that makers emphasize more on the gemstone’s natural pattern. They take into account its stripes and accordingly cut it.  Malachite is typically into cabochons, but it can also be used in carvings. Green malachite is also sliced into discs, but some jewelers love to celebrate its natural look by working with its free form to create one-off pieces. Malachite is around 3.5 - 4 hardness on the Mohs scale and hence is hardly ever faceted. Due to its softness factor and distinct cleavage, the gemstone doesn’t lend itself well to being cut into fancy shapes.


Treatments of malachite:


Naturally vivid, the malachite stone doesn’t require additional treatment to enhance its color. However, to increase the durability of the gemstone, some malachite stones can receive a wax treatment. This occasional coating with colorless wax also improves the color and highlights the band patterns. While providing any sort of treatment, one should also keep in mind that malachite is a soft gemstone and hence requires some extra care. Apart from just wax coating, it is also sometimes impregnated with plastic or other hardened agents to make it a little harder, thereby enabling effective and efficient use. Most of the enhancements that are done to green malachite stone are performed with an aim to only improve its durability and retention.

Malachite value:


Malachite’s abundancy makes it quite an affordable gem, so even the best specimens are modestly priced. But there are several variants of malachite, and their prices differ accordingly. Dark green-colored malachite stones with concentric circles of light green or blackish green are highly valued. Not just the texture and pattern, the price for this stone also varies according to carat weight and the country that it’s procured from. Carat weight and malachite value are directly proportional. Depending on location, the most priced gemstones come from Arizona in the USA, Africa, Russia, and Zaire. On the other hand, since natural malachite is preferred more, any kind of enhanced or treated stones often cost less. Also, some pieces that display an unusual or unique distinctive pattern, crystal habit, or chatoyancy will fetch higher prices. Sometimes, more than just pure green malachite, rocks consisting of combinations of malachite and other colorful copper minerals also command higher prices. Anyhow, the value of the stone carvings and ornamental objects ultimately depends on the size and artistry of the work.


Malachite meaning:


Long been valued as an amulet, malachite’s reference is with a stone that offers protection for various kinds of evil and negative energies. Back in the time, malachite was worn to ward off all sorts of witchcraft and black magic. One major belief was that if there’s any danger coming upfront, the malachite amulet would fracture and send a warning by alerting the wearer.


Malachite uses:


  • Malachite has a variety of both consumer and industrial uses. In the process of making green pigments, it is used as an ore of copper and crushed. This green pigment acts as one of the major ingredients for the green paint obtained later.
  • Another unique use of this gemstone is that its fine green powder is used for eye shadows.
  • It is used for several decorative purposes as well, such as picture frames, jewelry boxes, vases, chess sets, etc.
  • Malachite is largely used as an ornamental stone and gemstone. Alongside a similar colored stone, it is also used in traditional turquoise jewelry, where instead of competing with each other, one greatly compliments the other stone.


Malachite metaphysical properties:


  • Malachite’s unique metaphysical properties allow one to develop intuitive power and help the wearer cope with the changes easily.
  • Possessing a malachite gemstone and simply holding it will instantly calm the user and provide a relaxing environment. 


Malachite healing properties:


  • Malachite is believed to possess healing properties that assist during labor. It is also believed that it relieves menstrual cramps.
  • Providing emotional balance and strength, malachite also helps to negate depression and stress.
  • It is also thought to help with malaria and digestive problems, asthma, and issues related to the joints and spine.


How to clean malachite?


Malachite is a relatively soft gem with a hardness of 3.5 - 4 on the Mohs scale. Being too soft, it is prone to break and split into two easily. Hence, this gemstone requires more care and should be protected from extreme temperature changes, scratches, and sharp blows. Malachite is also highly sensitive to acids and heat. Therefore, exposure to excessive sunlight, heat, or harsh chemicals must be strictly avoided. If neglected, this may cause the stone to turn black. It is recommended not to clean this delicate gemstone with an ultrasonic cleaner. Also, unlike other gemstones, it cannot be cleaned with water as well, as it would wash off the protective coating (if any) that is there for improving the lifetime of the stone. The best way to clean malachite jewelry is with a dry cloth only. Also, avoid products related to ammonia. When not in use, keep your malachite jewelry protected in a separate box lined with either cotton or velvet.


Malachite Birthstone


Malachite is one of the natural birthstones for those born in mid-spring, i.e., between 20 April - 20 May. Malachite is also the gemstone for the 13th marriage anniversary and makes a great gift to celebrate this milestone.


Where should you buy malachite gemstones?

Although malachite gemstones are abundantly found, it may be hard to find pure quality malachite jewelry at your local stores. Well then, surfing the net and searching online is probably your best bet to find a quality piece of malachite jewelry. At GemsforJewels, we offer malachite gemstones of the highest quality. Available in the form of strands as well as cabochons, we offer four different shapes – box, oval, rectangle, or rondelles, we have the widest possible range of options to choose from. Malachite’s unique characteristics make it a gemstone that is worth being a part of your jewelry collection.


*Disclaimer: Any of the claims related to the healing benefits, uses, and metaphysical properties of this or any other gemstone are not guaranteed or validated by this Gemstone Guide. All the information provided in this guide should in no way be used as a substitute or alternative for medical advice.*