Malachite is an ore of copper with a luscious green colour banding comes from the presence of copper in its’ composition. The name is thought to derive from the properties of the stone, ‘malakos’ is Greek for soft, and ‘malache’ is Greek for mallow.
Throughout history, the intense green colour banding of malachite has been prized. The Greeks and Egyptians used malachite in jewellery as amulets against misfortune, and the intense colour was used in powders for eye shadow. It was also used as a green pigment for paints from the 19th century onwards.
Malachite was largely mined in the Ural mountains in 19th century Russia. As a result many Tsars used this gemstone to decorate their palaces with impressive panelled walls and intricate decorative objects. Deposits of the stone have also been found in The Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, Chile, Namibia, Zimbabwe and the USA.