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Malachite is an opaque semi-precious stone with alternate irregular bands of light and dark green. Malachite often results from weathering of copper ores and is often found together with azurite, 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. The stone's name derives (via Latin and French) from Greek MOLOCHITIS, "mallow-green stone", from MOLOCHE, variant of MALACHE, "mallow".
Large quantities of malachite have been mined in the Urals, Russia. It is also found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Namibia, Mexico, England (New South Wales), and in the Southwestern United States (Arkansas and Arizona). Malachite is extensively mined at Timna (Israel), 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. 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 amongst other synthetic greens. For a long time malachite has been also used for decorative purposes and in jewelry making.
1. One of the best samples of using malachite for decorative purposes is the Malachite Room in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, Russia, which features a large malachite vase.
2. "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, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.