Malachite

Category  :  Carbonate mineral
Hardness  :  3.5 - 4.0
Gravity  :  3.6 - 4
Reflection  :  1.91 / 1.65
Color  :  Bright green to blackish green
Chemical formula  :  CuCO3.Cu(OH)2
Crystal system  :  Monoclinic - prismatic
Major varieties  :  Malachite

Malachite

This green-colored mineral 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. Pseudomorphs after more tabular or blocky azurite crystals also occur.

Large quantities of malachite have been mined in the Urals. It is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Zambia; Tsumeb; Namibia; Russia; Mexico; Broken Hill, New South Wales; England; Lyon; and in the Southwestern United States especially in Arkansas and Arizona. In Israel, malachite is extensively mined at Timna valley, often called King Solomon's Mines although research has shown that the site was not in use during the 10th century. 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.

In Greek mythology, the throne of Demeter, goddess of grain and harvest, was fashioned from malachite and adorned with golden pigs and ears of barley.


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