HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Malachite has been used since antiquity as a green pigment and pottery glaze and was one of the first ores of copper. Its name stems from the Greek molochitēs, meaning mallow, in allusion to that herb’s green leaves. Notable collecting localities are found in France, Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Namibia, Australia, Chile, and the United States (Arizona, Utah, Nevada).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Malachite [basic copper carbonate, Cu2(CO3)(OH)2, pronounced MAH-le-kite, crystallizes in the monoclinic system and occurs in massive, botryoidal, and stalactitic forms, as well as in tuft-like prismatic crystals. It has a Mohs hardness of 3.5-4.0, perfect cleavage in one direction, silky-to-dull luster, and a specific gravity of 3.9-4.0. Malachite is a secondary mineral that forms in the shallow, oxidized portions of copper deposits in association with such minerals as azurite, calcite, chalcopyrite, chrysocolla, and linarite. It is usually translucent to opaque and exhibits a diagnostic grass-green and emerald-green to dark, forest-green color.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Modern metaphysical practitioners believe that malachite absorbs negative energies, releases negative memories, and brings overall emotional healing. Until the early 1900s, azurite was an important ore of copper. Azurite is used extensively in cabochons for jewelry and as a carving medium for decorative objects.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Malachite is widely collected for its bright green color, unusual crystal habits, banded botryoidal forms, and mineralogical associations which, in composite specimens, make display pieces.
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Chrysocolla was first described by the Greek naturalist Theophrastus in 315 B.C. Its name stems from the Greek chrysos, meaning “gold,” and kolla, or “glue,” and refers to a similar-appearing material used to solder gold. Chrysocolla is uncommon and has few collecting localities. Notable sources are in Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Mexico, Russia, Chile, and the United States (Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Pennsylvania).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Chrysocolla [basic hydrous copper aluminum acid silicate, (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O] crystallizes in the orthorhombic system in massive, nodular, or botryoidal form. Crystals are rare. It has a variable Mohs hardness of 2.5-3.5, no cleavage, and a specific gravity of 2.0-2.2. It is translucent to opaque, has a vitreous-to-dull luster, and colors that range from blue and bluish-green to green. Chrysocolla is a secondary mineral that forms in the oxidation zones of copper-rich deposits as vug and vein fillings and crusts, usually in botryoidal form and in association with azurite and malachite.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: In medieval time, physicians prescribed chrysocolla to treat ailments of the lungs and back. Modern metaphysical practitioners believe that chrysocolla is a stone of peace that soothes and calms in times of stress, draws off negative energies, and brings understanding to discordant relationships. As a minor gemstone, chrysocolla is fashioned into cabochons, beads, and ornamental objects.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Chrysocolla is collected for its color, rarity, and association with other colorful oxidized-copper minerals such as azurite.