by Brooke Bartlett
If you love the look of turquoise or azurite, consider adding a piece of malachite jewelry to your collection. One of the world's most recognizable stones, malachite has many interesting attributes. Malachite jewelry can be worn with formal or casual attire. Most often set in silver or white gold, malachite gems are equally stunning on a leather string. Unique malachite jewelry such as malachite earrings, malachite necklaces and malachite gem bracelets are versatile and can complement many styles and outfits.
Origin: Known to scientists as copper carbonate hydroxide, malachite is found all over the world in small quantities. In Israel and parts of Africa, malachite is fairly abundant. This beautiful gem exists either in crystal or massive form and gets its hue from copper. Copper is one of the most common elements found in the earth's surface, making malachite fairly common.
Appearance: Malachite's intoxicating green bands vary from stone to stone, and the shades range from nearly green-black to pale green. The bands swirl and form arcs, sometimes even creating "eyes" of color. It is most commonly found in massive form, with a dull luster, while the less common crystal form is silky in appearance. Malachite jewelry commonly incorporates gems tumbled to round stones. The gemstones are typically strung onto bracelets or hung from necklaces. Malachite earrings may incorporate beads or teardrop pendants. Malachite necklaces are commonly made with chips of the stone or beautifully carved beads and pendants.
Considerations: Malachite is not a very hard stone. It rates a 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs hardness scale. Malachite can scratch or chip easily, so treat it with care. Malachite and azurite are closely related, and malachite can actually morph into gems resembling azurite given the right conditions. Stones that retain a blue hue are not true malachite, though the blue colors are ideal for use in jewelry of all varieties. When shopping for malachite jewelry, choose pieces with colors that appeal to you.
Non-jewelry uses: The interesting colors of malachite, as well as its relative softness, make it an ideal stone for carved figures. Bookends, sculptures and paper weights are commonly carved from malachite, especially rich, dark green malachite. Malachite is also easy to engrave, so many pieces feature detailed etchings.
Mythology: Malachite is a stone with much legend and lore. It has been believed to produce peaceful and hopeful feelings, and offer the wearer protection. Malachite is historically known as the guardian stone for travelers. Legend also says that the Greek Goddess Demeter had a throne made of green malachite.