Namibian Malachite are rare, green gemstones from Namibia’s Ogonja Mine. Each gem has its own beautiful patterns, making every Namibian Malachite unique and individual.
Displaying attractive bands of vibrant deep and light greens, Namibian Malachite is favored by collectors for its varied mix of beautiful angular or curved banded patterns.
Namibian Malachite is cut as cabochons (cut in convex form and highly polished, but not faceted) to accentuate the signature banding that makes each gemstone visually unique. Finished with an excellent finish, proportion and shape, Namibian Malachite displays stunning greens (green, bluish green, yellowish green or blackish green) with a superior luster, a key quality determinant for this gemstone.
Malachite derives its name from the Greek words ‘malach’ (also ‘malache’) meaning ‘mallow’ and ‘lithos’ meaning ‘stone’. Mallow is a group of related herbs with green leaves similar in color to Malachite. Malachite is usually found with Azurite, a blue secondary copper mineral, and sometimes with associated minerals such as Azure-Malachite and Chryscocolla. Formed as copper-containing solutions cool down, Malachite’s unique banding is due to subtle changes in the oxidation states of surrounding waters. Its distinctive green banded patterns and striations make it one of the most easily recognized gemstones. In many cultures Malachite is regarded as a talisman of good fortune. From Native America to Imperial Russia, Malachite has been used for both adornment and even interior design. For example, the Malachite Room of the Russian Winter Palace designed in the late 1830s. Used by the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (the wife of Nicholas I) as a drawing-room, it includes columns, pilasters, fire-place trimmings and decorative vases made entirely of Malachite.
A copper carbonate, Malachite is most often found with copper ore deposits associated with limestone, a source of carbonate. Mined in Arizona (USA), Australia, China, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Zaire, and Zambia, Namibia is one of the premiere sources for this unusual, rare gemstone.
When Malachite’s most famous deposits were found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, blocks weighing up to 20 tons were quarried, but today this gem has become relatively rare, especially in its finer qualities.
Namibian Malachite is from the Ogonja (also Onganja) Mine 80 kilometers northeast of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital and largest city. Worked since around 1996, the mine was also known as Emka, Emke and Otjisongati prior to 2012.
Durability & Care
A popular gemstone since antiquity, Namibian Malachite (Mohs’ Hardness: 4) should always be stored carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.