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Jar Deconstructed: Malachite

Contact Author Rachel Grabenhofer and Katie Anderson
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Malachite is a green-colored copper carbonate hydroxide mineral.1, 2 According to Geology.com, it has been used as a copper ore, pigment, gemstone and sculpture material for thousands of years; the latter thanks to its low hardness quality. The mineral forms at shallow depths within the Earth, in the oxidizing zone above copper deposits,2 giving it its green color (think: Statue of Liberty). It precipitates as stalactites and porous rock coatings in underground caverns and often forms within limestone.

The International Gem Society3 describes malachite as a secondary mineral since it is created by a chemical reaction between two existing minerals—in this case, water containing CO2 or dissolved carbonate minerals interacting with copper-containing rocks. Some of the first malachite deposits are believed to have been sourced in Egypt and Israel as early as 4,000 B.C.E. Several large deposits also were identified in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 1800s and aggressively mined.2

The stone was said to be ground into pigments for painting and cosmetics, and no other pigment was said to have rivalled its color until the Industrial Revolution when synthetic pigments were developed.3 The gem society also notes that restoration experts still use malachite pigment formulas for authenticity when conserving old paintings, but its dust can be toxic, so users must take precautions.

Health Applications

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The healing properties of malachite are touted on various mystical and metaphysical websites and range from everything including protection against the Evil Eye, absorption of negative energies and clearing of electromagnetic pollutants, to healing of Earth’s energies. Additional reports include: aiding menstrual cramps, helping with childbirth, treating sexual diseases, lowering blood pressure, treating asthma and epilepsy, soothing travel sickness, calming vertigo, aligning the DNA and cellular structure to enhance the immune system, stimulating the liver to release toxins and reduce the acidification of the tissues, … etc.4

Continue reading about the skin benefits of malachite in our Digital Magazine...

Author

Rachel Grabenhofer is the managing editor of Cosmetics & Toiletries, Skin Inc.’s sister brand for cosmetic chemists. She’s a member of the Council of Science Editors and Society of Cosmetic Chemists, and for the past several years, has led judging panels to honor the best ingredients in cosmetics.

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