Thanks to its unmistakable colour and beauty, malachite is a gemstone often used by designers in jewellery.
Its irregular stripes and rings with varying shades of green give it a unique character and incredible versatility of application in both jewellery and costume jewellery.
Being an easy-to-find gemstone it might not add value to jewellery, but the market behaviour is very different.
Malachite is a gemstone used in high-priced jewellery produced with noble metals such as gold and is also used in much lower-priced costume jewellery produced with less noble metals.
.Despite its fragility, it is a gemstone that provides intense lustre and is also used in the matte state. However, the resources used to obtain lustre give it more resistance on the surface.
Malachite is usually obtained as a by-product of copper mining which is the element that gives it its green colour.
It is found as an opaque mass.
It is found as an opaque mass. Its main characteristic is the design fromado by stripes of different shades of green or rings with the same differences in hue.
In the pictures below we see malachite in its raw state and further down a display of malachite transformed into a cabochon with stripes and rings. The contrasting shades of green are what give it its very distinctive character.
It is used in different types of jewellery, adding value to the product;
.Malachite is a fairly common mineral and can be confused with green agate and aventurine quartz. Although abundant in nature, it is a gemstone that also has an artificial version.
Artificial malachite is very similar to natural malachite and originates from Russia.
Malachite is found in Australia, Mamibia, Russi (Siberia), United States (Arizona, North Carolina and Pennsylvania), Zaire, Chile, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul and São Paulo), Zimbabwe, with the Democratic Republic of Congo as its main producer.
Some characteristics of malachite
It is a hydrated copper carbonate. Its prismatic crystals are not easily visible. Apart from being used in the jewellery industry as a gemstone, it is also used in decoration of the environment, manufacture of objects, etc.
- Density: 3.8
- Refractive index: 1.65-1.90
- Crystalline form: monoclinic
- It is described as a secondary mineral, as it is created by chemical reaction between already formed minerals
Less compact malachites can be better stabilised with epoxy resins, varnishes or waxes that also provide greater brilliance.
There are cases where particles or pieces of malachite are bonded together using special resins. This takes away the natural characteristic of the gem. However, it gives better resistance for cutting and polishing.
Many companies in China specialise in this type of treatment and development with gems such as malachite.
Despite its low hardness, it can be transformed into gems of various shapes and finishes. Even faceting can be done. It has low hardness: (3.5 to 4.0) but relatively high density (3.95).
Being a gem sensitive to heat and acids, ammonia, it requires care in the preparation of jewellery and also in the use.
Thus, when you use malachite in your jewellery it is important to warn your customer about the care that should be taken with malachite.
These warnings can be done through small leaflets that come with the jewellery. This pleases the customer.
All the great empires of the past, such as the Roman, Egyptian, Greek, among others, used malachite as an amulet or for decoration of environments.
Some characterised it as a healing gem.
However, due to the copper content it carries, it can be harmful to the skin when in its raw state. Once polished, the wax or polishing material inhibits this harmful characteristic.
Some people believed it to bring fortune and power.
According to some mystics, it channels energies and directs them towards a single goal.
Weight and size
Malachite is easily found already cut in ios. The various sizes and shapes available gives versatility to the use of malachite in the creation of jewellery.
However, malachite in ios is also used for jewellery production combined with precious metals such as gold and silver.
Some designers use malachite in yos by cutting one or the other stone in half or by applying cutting or foirma details to add more value to the gemstone;
Some designers use malachite in special shapes and with unique cuts. This work is done in order to adapt the gem to the design of the piece and thus add more value to the jewellery.
Because of its low hardness, it is easy to cut and mould into various shapes. In the box below we see a malachite adaptation and cutting work fully adapted to the design and details of the pieces in a collection.
Unlike other gems that need special equipment to be cut, malachite has been prepared and cut by many goldsmiths using simpler resources and on the bench.
It is easy to saw and shape with bench tools.
However, experimentation is required for this type of work. This simple shape cutting that can be done on malachite is due to its low hardness and ease of accepting lustre.
As it is easily found in ready and varied formats, it facilitates the goldsmith who wants to give it a different shape.
Sophistication in the cutting of malachite
The low hardness characteristic sometimes helps the more sophisticated cutting process in complex jewellery.
In the images above we can see the care taken with the cutting and setting of the malachite in a very complex piece.
Both the designer and the cutter need great care for perfect settings.