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Malachite

04523

Locality

Katanga Copper Crescent, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dimensions

34.5 cm x 13 cm x 9 cm

Weight

3,228 g

Description & Provenance

Named by the ancient Greeks for its resemblance to the mallow plant, malachite has been an object of longing and desire in the worlds of jewelry, art, and spirituality for over 3,000 years. It is a copper carbonate hydroxide (Cu2CO3(OH)2) with a rich green color that has been found in mines all over the world. Malachite has been utilized by the ancient Egyptians as a beautification pigment, in the Middle Ages as a form of protection from the “evil eye,” and as a symbol of wealth and grandeur by the Czars of Russia who would have artisans carve it into everything from vases, to animal figurines, effigies, fine intarsia jewelry boxes and jewelry itself.

Most malachite forms in large slabs and is cut into blocks. This gorgeous specimen is distinctive as an elegant, elongated cluster of intergrown, malachite stalactites. It exhibits a sumptuous, rich green color that is paired with a delicate sheen. Together, they give the specimen a lush, velvety appearance. The stalactite crystals of this piece are impeccably formed and each features slight bends, folds and bulges that are so subtle and fluid, it makes this inorganic structure mimic living sea-life, growing and bending with the waves. Some of the shorter stalactites even feature open cavities that are fully terminated and smooth, adding to its similarity in appearance with corals.

Interestingly, this piece also has an element of abstract interpretation. With its crystals at varying heights melded together and imbued with an organic appearance, each stalactite seems almost like a person, and the collection, a family in an embrace. It is an absolutely stunning effect that blurs the boundaries of nature and art, distinguishing this specimen as a rare collector’s piece of the highest aesthetics.

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