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Azurite-Malachite Meaning and Properties


Azurite-Malachite History

Azurite-malachite is a blend of two distinct and popular gems: the deep, almost lapis-like blues of azurite and the variegated green shades of banded malachite. The name azurite comes from lazhward, a Persian word for "blue," while "malachite" originally comes from the Greek word molochitis, meaning "mallow plant." The stone name can sometimes be shortened to azurmalachite. It is commonly cut into cabochons or carved into small objets d'art. The oldest mine known is at Timna Valley in Israel, in operation for over 3,000 years.

These two copper-based gemstones are frequently found in copper mines, or near mines of other copper-based gemstones such as turquoise and chrysocolla. (A blend of azurite, malachite, turquoise and chrysocolla, called "Eilat stone," is named after the Middle Eastern city of Eilat, where it was once mined. Eilat stone, also known as King Solomon's stone, is the national stone of Israel.)

In ancient Egypt, Azurite--as a component of lapis lazuli--was used to create the protective blue eye of Horus. It was also ground for use as the pigment "mountain blue," "Armenian stone" or "Azurro Della Magna." Many medieval paintings of the Virgin Mary in a blue robe were long thought to be painted using lapis lazuli; chemical analysis has since indicated that azurite was used instead, from the well-known mines in France. Malachite was ground into eyeshadow powder (unfortunately toxic), and referred to their love goddess Hathor as "the lady of malachite." They thought wearing malachite around their heads and arms protected them from epidemics.

Azurite-Malachite Metaphysical Properties

The synthesis of azurite and malachite produces a mineral which is said to exhibit the properties of each individual stone, plus some which come uniquely from their partnership.

Azurite--sometimes called a "stone of heaven"--is commonly believed to provide insight into all areas of life, promote intuition, stimulate creativity, dissolve impediments and soften cold intellectualism with love and compassion. Malachite, with its striking green bands of color, has been said to encourage action, enact change, heal heartache, enhance creativity, increase fertility and protect the spirit.

United as azurite-malachite, it is believed this mineral blends different traits together, freshens the user's outlook on life, as well as dissolving egocentric characteristics; dispelling conceit, arrogance and vanity; calming anxiety and enhancing flexibility in motion and thought.

That is why jewelry makers love these stones both individually and together.

Azurite-Malachite Geological Properties

Azurite can appear in over 45 different forms. This stone changes in response to air, slowly turning into malachite over time. It is destroyed by heat, becoming a black copper oxide powder, and bubbles like a certain brand of cold tablet when exposed to hydrochloric acid! Malachite forms in a range of crystal shapes, including masses, tufts, rosettes, crusts and--occasionally--as stalagmites and stalactites. Some forms include a scattering of druzy crystals.

Azurite-malachite (like its separate stones) is toxic in its raw state and care must be used when handling, grinding, cutting and polishing rough. Always wear a facemask when cutting gemstone materials, and do not inhale the dust. Do not immerse in water or lick the stone when using for crystal healing.

Azurite-malachite has been found in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America, China and the USA.

Mineral Information - Azurite Copper carbonate, aragonite group
Chemical Composition Cu3((OH)2/(CO3)2
Color Dark blue (sky blue streak)
Hardness 3-1/2 to 4 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 3.7 - 3.9
Refractive Index 1.730 - 1.838
Mineral Information - Malachite Copper carbonate, aragonite group
Chemical Composition Cu2((OH)2CO3)
Color Light green, emerald green, black-green (lt. green streak)
Hardness 3-1/2 to 4 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 3.75 - 3.95
Refractive Index 1.655 - 1.909

Proper Care of Azurite-Malachite

Azurite-malachite is a soft stone and its surface can be easily damaged. This copper carbonate combination is extremely sensitive to heat, as well as sun-bleaching. Always store in a dark place in a separate container from other jewelry pieces. Anti-tarnish strips designed for copper can slow down the process by which azurite converts to malachite and prolong the life of the stone as it currently is.

Clean azurite-malachite with lukewarm water and a mild soap. Wipe the surface with a soft cloth, as even a soft toothbrush can scratch this stone. Avoid steam or ultrasonic cleaners as they can ruin the colors and damage the surface of azurite-malachite. Keep away from hot water, ovens and other hot surfaces. Do not leave in the sun.

To learn more about azurite-malachite and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Azurite-Malachite

Azurite-malachite combines two popular color palettes--blue and green--which makes it a common stone in both men's and women's jewelry designs. This same color blend means it's a good stone for transitional jewelry pieces, casual enough for daytime wear and elegant enough for evening styles.

The mingling of blue and green patterns make this a popular stone to cut en cabochon--as a cabochon--or in smooth-surfaced beads. Azurite-malachite is a soft stone which does not take or maintain faceting well. Protect beads with bead caps and cabochons with cabochon mountings and settings to prevent wear.

Their colors and unique patterns are so striking, use them in simple settings so nothing distracts from them. Give them center stage and let them speak for themselves in jewelry that other people will long remember and want for themselves.

View design inspirations featuring azurite-malachite in the Gallery of Design

Shop for Azurite-Malachite Items

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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