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.


Hurlbut, 1952, op. cit.; 278.

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

Ralph, Jolyon, 1993-2004.

Schumann, op. cit.; 176-177.


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