THE GOLD OF THAT LAND: Biblical Minerals & Rocks  


 

 

45.     malachite 

    The Jerusalem Bible renders the eighth precious stone of Revelation 21:18, berullos, as malachite--an unfortunate choice. Greek miners and lapidarists certainly knew the difference between malachite and beryl. The Hebrews likewise knew malachite well as a copper ore, as the pigment in fashionable green eye paint, and perhaps as an ornamental stone, but not as a precious stone because it is too soft. The Egyptians rarely used malachite (mafek) as a gemstone, although the Assyrians used it in their jewelry.

    Malachite [Cu2CO3(OH)2] is a common surface oxidation product of copper ores and easily recognized by its bright green color. Crystals are rare and it usually occurs in earthy masses or dense, fibrous masses with a botryoidal structure that gives them a wavy, laminated appearance in section. Malachite has a Mohs hardness of 3.4 to 4 and botryoidal malachite takes a high polish that makes it attractive for decorative purposes.

    Malachite occurs in association with other copper minerals in the biblical mining districts of Timnah, Feinan, and Sinai.

Sources:

Hurlbut, 1952, op. cit.; 278.

Lucas & Harris, op. cit.; 400-401.

Ralph, Jolyon, 1993-2004. http://www.mindat.org/min-2550.html

Schumann, op. cit.; 176-177.

 


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