Malachite is green copper carbonate hydroxide mineral which is used often in jewellery and decorative items because of its attractive distinctive banding. It is a reasonably common and easily extracted mineral meaning it is a less expensive choice as a gemstone in jewellery although fine jewellery designers often turn to it. Because of its abundance, large decorative objects such as tables, urns and even wall coverings made from malachite have been created , no doubt these items are expensive but in other minerals making such large items wouldn’t be possible.
Found all over the world and is mined in many locations, there are over 260 locations in the UK alone where Malachite is known to occur. Commercial mining operations exist all over the world and produce Malachite for use in jewellery and for carving. We visited Namibia last year, where Malachite is mined in the north of the country near a town called Tsumeb. Malachite occurs where ever there is copper and north of Namibia is the famous copper belt which stretches through the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, both countries where spectacular gemstones can be found.
Shapes, cuts and carvings
The stone can be fashioned into any shape and is occasionally faceted although because it is opaque this is rare. Cabochons or beads are far more common and come in many shapes and sizes. Oval and pear shapes are mostly used in jewellery however it can also be sliced and squares and cube can also look effective.
Carvings are common and the subject or shape of the carving very much depends on where you are in the world. For instance in Namibia we saw plenty of Elephants, Giraffes and lions carvings.
Malachite Jewellery design
Popular in fine jewellery and in silver artisanal jewellery because of it interesting colour bands, it offers a low cost options for jewellery designers. Although when incorporated into peices made with precious materials like gold, platinum, diamonds and other gemstones these items of fine jewellery can be worth many thousands of pounds.