Malachite

Malachite Mineral SpecimenMalachite is a splendid, opaque, dark green stone that also has light green banding. It is found in copper-rich areas including old copper mine workings where it forms large stalagmites.

Malachite takes a high polish but the finish is easily damaged because it is a soft material, just slightly harder than pearls. Take care when storing malachite and when making jewelry to prevent contact with other minerals that could damage its finish.

Malachite has been grown synthetically by Russian scientists but, since the cost of production is higher than the cost of importing the rough material from the Congo, malachite is not synthetically produced for commercial sale.

Plastic resin-based simulants are commonly found in the market and are quite realistic and inexpensive. As always, if heated with a clean flame, these plastics will melt, smoke, or catch fire. Scraping with a sharp, high quality steel blade is also a good test. Real malachite breaks up as a powder as fine as talcum if scraped with such a knife. Plastic will come away as shavings or small chips. Glass simulants are also found. These are harder and will either chip or remain unaffected by a knife.

Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Katanga region) are the main sources of malachite.

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