Belonging among general gemstones, malachite has low density and hardness, it is translucent but opaque. It takes all shades of green, which has its origins in copper. It is mined in many countries around the world, especially in Africa; in the Czech Republic, there are not very significant sites (eg. Ore Mountains). Often it is found beside azurite. Malachite is sensitive to high temperatures and hot water, and you should avoid scratching. Its name probably comes from the Greek word “malache” for mallow because of similar colors; alternatively it could come from a Greek term “malakos” for soft. In addition to its use as a gemstone it was used as a source of copper because it contains up to over 50%; historically it was mainly used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans not only for making jewelry and amulets, but also ground to powder as makeup (eyeshadows). There is evidence about 3,000 years old on its mining in Israel. Furthermore, it was historically used as a pigment in paint colors (mostly in Egyptian paintings in tombs from the 4th dynasty and in European paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries). In the Middle Ages it served as an amulet protecting children against black magic. Huge blocks weighing up to 20 tons were found in the past on territory of Russia and were part of decorations of Tsar palaces – well-known example is the reception Malachite Room in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, which was designed in the 1830’s.