The stone's name derives from the Greek molochitis lithos meaning "mallow-green stone". The mineral was given this name due to its resemblance to the leaves of the Mallow plant.
It is estimated that malachite has been mined since at least 8000 BC and it was used as a pigment for green paint as well as in cosmetics from early Egyptian times until 1800.
Malachite has always been considered a woman’s mineral and in Roman times was dedicated to the goddess Venus as it was thought to represent seduction, sensuality, beauty and the arts of the muses.
Malachite is made up of 58% copper, which is where the mineral gets its bright green colour. Heating malachite reduces it to copper and this was discovered as far back as 4000BC.
Often found in structures of radiating layered crystals, malachite is not only used as ornamentation but in architecture also. The malachite room, built for the Winter Palace in 1830, and often used as a government meeting room is embellished with malachite columns, pilaster, fire place trimmings and decorative vases.
Where is malachite being mined?
Today the majority of malachite is mined in The Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Russia and the American Southwest.
Malachite is 3.5-4 on the Mohs scale.