In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s explore a green gemstone that is both mesmerizing and affordable: malachite. Malachite’s bright green color is a result of the copper in its chemical composition, but what makes it unique is its dazzling marble-like patterns…never the same in any two pieces. Malachite jewelry is trending on runways and on Social Media this season, a tip of the hat to all things green, and a declaration of our desire for individual expression.
Romancing the Stone
There is evidence that the Egyptians mined malachite as early as 4000 B.C., and the ancient Greeks and Romans also prized this opaque gemstone for adornment. In addition to jewelry, ancient cultures used ground malachite for paint and eye makeup.
In 19th-century Russia, the royal class commissioned sculptures, objets d’art and room panels made from malachite. Several examples of malachite Imperial Eggs are housed in leading museum collections.
Malachite jewelry can look rich and sophisticated, yet it’s much more understated and accessible than emerald. At online jeweler Ross-Simons, for instance, “this enchanting forest-green gemstone finds a home in affordable malachite bracelets, malachite rings, malachite necklaces and malachite earrings.”
Fashion’s recent obsession with Bohemian Chic (a throwback to the 1970s) has added to malachite’s organic appeal. Look for malachite pendants, bead bracelets, drop earrings and retro brooches to take center stage this festival season. (And look to OBJ for more on festival style later this month.)
Where to Buy Malachite
Visit your local fine jeweler for malachite pieces set in gold or sterling silver, or head to department stores for fashion jewelry finds. We especially love the malachite button earrings at Tory Burch this spring, complete with her famous “T” logo in gold.
Want to check out vintage malachite? We recommend 1stdibs.com, always a good source for “gently loved” designer jewelry.
To learn how to clean and care for malachite and other delicate stones, please click here.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day…
Let’s wear our green jewelry all year long!