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Malachite trivia

by Nelson Holmes

MALACHITE– I stopped to reload the plastic reservoir at the Malachite Spring the other day and realized that I hadn′t any real idea what malachite was.  I figured the suffix indicated a geological compound rather than a resident of some bit of geography called Malach; but I hadn′t a clue as to the soul of this substance.  I also realized, rather quickly, that I would be able to turn my curiosity into a story thus guaranteeing that the dogs would eat for another week.

    So, between a dusty old tome of Colorado geology (purchased for pennies at a yard sale) and the internet I now have more malachite expertise than the average mammal.  Malachite is “copper carbonate hydroxide.”  How′s that for an anti-climax?  What we have in this mineral amalgam is 57% copper, 1% hydrogen, 5% carbon and 36% oxygen (and astute readers will realize that 1% is missing from this equation… we′ll call this one percent the secret ingredient).  So this chemical combo will create a pretty green stone; as a crystal it is almost emerald-like and as a smooth polished stone it looks like jade… but really green.  In fact the name comes from the Greek “malache ” or mallow which is a really green plant.  As to its uses, well, malachite was used as a green pigment in paint until the early eighteen hundreds.  Jewelry and structural adornment are also uses for malachite, in fact, one entire room of the Hermitage Museum in Russia houses, and is adorned by, rich displays of this green variety of topaz.  I′m sure your thinking “yes, but is it stable?” Well, malachite is the most stable copper compound found in nature, water or land.  And, if beauty and stability were not enough, old wives and witches claim that it will protect an infant′s cradle from spells.  Where can you find this wonder stone?  Anywhere copper is mined and online from a friendly internet retailer.

    Now, when forced to entertain, you′ll be able to dazzle friends and family with this bit of locally grounded trivia, enjoy!