Malachite jewelry is not a favorite with many women today. This is unfortunate as malachite has long been considered a woman's gemstone. It was dedicated to Egyptian, Roman and Norse goddesses.

In medieval times, it was even called the midwife stone because it was believed to lessen labor pains.

Malachite is copper carbonate and the ore from which copper is obtained. It is one of the world's oldest gemstones - beads estimated to be 9,000 years old were found in Israel. Its deep green color rivals that of emeralds.

Malachite was once used as a paint pigment - Buddha halos in eighth century China were colored with coarsely ground malachite.

The Ancient Egyptians wore malachite jewelry as amulets and used malachite-based kohl to protect their eyelids from harsh sunlight, and generally against plagues and evil influences. Given the irregular bull's- eye patterns on the gemstone, they must have considered it the ultimate eye bead to protect them from the "evil eye".

But the Russian Romanovs took malachite beyond mere jewelry and into the realm of supreme luxury by incorporating malachite into their palatial interior decoration. The website of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia has a virtual tour of the Malachite Room , used as an official drawing room in the Winter Palace by the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (1798-1860), wife of Nicholas I. The room has columns, vases and even a candelabra made from the gemstone.
Photo information : Malachite from the Congo, National Natural History Museum, Washington DC

Malachite Wikipedia

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