Saturday, July 12, 2014


Malachite Cabochon

This is probably the cutest malachite cabochon I've ever seen, but how the face got there is even more interesting than how adorably happy it looks.  The interesting banding and rounded forms that one often sees in malachite are the result of how the mineral grows.  Ground water, interacting with rich copper deposits, typically produces a zone of complex minerals surrounding the copper-rich ore zone.  Malachite is one of these minerals.  It is a copper carbonate Cu2CO3(OH)2.  Like the more familiar carbonate mineral that we know as limestone, which forms most instances of stalactites and stalagmites in caves, malachite frequently forms by precipitation from groundwater in open voids in the ground.  The resulting crystals can be botryoidal to stalagmitic masses, which, when cut, show concentric rings, much like one would see if they cut through a slow-growing stalagmite in a typical cave. (...Though cutting up stalagmites in caves is something you should never do.)  The bands of color represent minor differences in chemistry of the groundwater as the crystalline mass of malachite grew outward.  In case you would like to learn more, here is a link to the mindat page for malachite:  And here is a link to malachite on Wikipedia:

1 comment:

  1. I've never been a big fan of malachite, but that cabochon is very nice.