Malachite is a mineral of copper carbonate hydroxide, known for its trademark green color. As Ashley Leavy, founder and educational director of the Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy, tells mbg, malachite is primarily found today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Russia and Namibia.
Much of the malachite you’ll see today often has bands or stripes of dark and light green. It can be tumbled into smaller stones, and there’s also something called “velvet malachite,” which features tiny needlelike formations, Leavy says.
Malachite can also be found naturally alongside azurite, sometimes forming into one bigger crystal. Other formations include “botryoidal formations,” which look like bubbles, as well as fan-like formations of longer crystals.
Leavy says malachite has been used historically throughout ancient Egypt, Greece, and medieval Europe for everything from makeup to protection amulets. And because copper can be extracted from malachite, “you can imagine that when people saw this liquid, orange-red metal coming out of the green stones, they felt this was very magical,” she explains, adding, “This links malachite with the process of alchemy and transformation and magic, so those themes are strongly connected with it even still.”
And speaking of makeup, Leavy does note that you have to be particularly careful with more fibrous forms of malachite, as the dust or powder that comes off it can be very toxic if inhaled. “For the most part, tumbled pieces are totally safe to handle, but it’s not a good idea to get them wet. It’s also a really good idea to be super cautious if you’re handling rough or fibrous malachite, and to wash your hands thoroughly,” she says.