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Malachite



This article is about the mineral. For the butterfly see Malachite (butterfly). For the Jinn single see Malachite (Jinn).

Malachite

Malachite specimen
General
CategoryMineral
Chemical formulaCu2CO3(OH)2
Identification
ColorGreen
Crystal habitMassive, botryoidal, stalactitic
Crystal systemMonoclinic - prismatic
CleavagePerfect
FractureConchoidal to splintery
Mohs Scale hardness3.5 - 4
LusterDull/vitreous in large quantities, silky in crystal form
Streakgreen
Specific gravity3.6 - 4

Malachite is a carbonate mineral with the formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. This green-colored minaeral crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, and most often forms botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagmitic masses. Individual crystals are rare but do occur as slender to acicular prisms. Pseudomorphsafter more tabular or blocky azurite crystals also occur.

Additional recommended knowledge

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Occurrence and historical uses

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 associated with 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; Tsumeb, Namibia; Ural mountains, Russia; Mexico; Broken Hill, New South Wales; England; Lyon; and in the Southwestern United States especially in Arizona at Bisbee and Morenci. In Israel, malachite is extensively mined at Timna, often called King Solomon's Mines. 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.

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Etymology and history

The stone's name derives (via Latin and French) from Greek molochitis, "mallow-green stone", from molochē, variant of malachē, "mallow". Malachite was used as a mineral pigment in green paints from antiquity until about 1800. The pigment is moderately lightfast, very sensitive to acids and varying in color. The natural form was being replaced by its synthetic form, verditer amongst other synthetic greens. It is also used for decorative purposes, such as in the Malachite Room in the Hermitage, which features a large malachite vase (unknown scale). "The Tazza", one of the largest pieces of malachite in North America and a gift from Tsar Nicholas II, stands as the focal point in the center of the room of Linda Hall Library.

References

  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis, 1985, Manual of Mineralogy, 20th ed., John Wiley and Sons, New York ISBN 0-471-80580-7
  • Mineral Galleries
  • Webmineral data
  • Mindat
  • Virtual tour of the Malachite Room
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Malachite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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