AskDefine | Define malachite

Dictionary Definition

malachite n : a green mineral used as an ore of copper and for making ornamental objects

User Contributed Dictionary



From Greek μαλαχή (malakhe) "mallows".


  1. A bright green mineral, a basic copper carbonate, Cu2CO3(OH)2; one of the principal ores of copper.
  2. A mild green colour, like that of the mineral.
    malachite colour:   




  1. of a mild green colour, like that of the mineral.

See also


Extensive Definition

Malachite is a carbonate mineral normally known as "copper carbonate" with the formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. 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.

Occurrence and historical uses

Malachite often results from weathering of copper ores and is often found together with azurite (Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2), goethite, and calcite. Except for its vibrant green color, the properties of malachite are similar to those of azurite and aggregates of the two minerals occur frequently together. Malachite is more common than azurite and is typically associated with copper deposits associated with limestones, the source of the carbonate.
Large quantities of malachite have been mined in the Urals. It is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Zambia; Tsumeb, Namibia; Ural mountains, 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, often called King Solomon's Mines. 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.


Etymology and history

The stone's name derives (via Latin and French) from Greek molochitis, "mallow-green stone", from molochē, variant of malachē, "mallow". Malachite was used as a mineral pigment in green paints from antiquity until about 1800. The pigment is moderately lightfast, very sensitive to acids and varying in color. The natural form was being replaced by its synthetic form, verditer amongst other synthetic greens. It is also used for decorative purposes, such as in the Malachite Room in the Hermitage, which features a large malachite vase (unknown scale). "The Tazza", one of the largest pieces of malachite in North America and a gift from Tsar Nicholas II, stands as the focal point in the center of the room of Linda Hall Library.


malachite in Bosnian: Malahit
malachite in Breton: Malakit
malachite in Catalan: Malaquita
malachite in Czech: Malachit
malachite in German: Malachit
malachite in Estonian: Malahhiit
malachite in Spanish: Malaquita
malachite in Esperanto: Malakito
malachite in French: Malachite
malachite in Galician: Malaquita
malachite in Korean: 공작석
malachite in Hindi: ताप्रांगीयिज
malachite in Italian: Malachite
malachite in Hebrew: מלכיט
malachite in Lithuanian: Malachitas
malachite in Hungarian: Malachit
malachite in Dutch: Malachiet
malachite in Japanese: 孔雀石
malachite in Polish: Malachit
malachite in Portuguese: Malaquita
malachite in Romanian: Malachit
malachite in Russian: Малахит
malachite in Slovak: Malachit
malachite in Slovenian: Malahit
malachite in Finnish: Malakiitti
malachite in Swedish: Malakit
malachite in Vietnamese: Malachit
malachite in Turkish: Malahit
malachite in Ukrainian: Малахіт
malachite in Contenese: 石綠
malachite in Chinese: 碱式碳酸铜
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