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The most recognisable characteristic of malachite is its intense green colour. It is also popular because of its striped texture, with alternating strips of lighter and darker shades.
Humans have known of malachite for thousands of years; in ancient civilisations, malachite amulets were worn to ward off disease and ill fortune. Because it is sensitive and prone to wear, it is rarely used for jewellery and is not among most sought-after semi-precious stones.
In terms of chemical composition, malachite is copper carbonate, a carbonate mineral belonging to the monoclinic crystal system. Individual malachite crystals are very rare.