Real Malachite vs Fake Malachite: How To Spot The Fakes
Malachite has been used in jewelry for thousands of years because of its unique color and patterning. But as of recently, because of its rarity and high value, there are many imitations on the market.
In this article, we'll discuss how to differentiate between real vs fake malachite.
Malachite Mineral Formation
To fully understand how natural malachite should appear, it's first essential to understand the process of its formation.
Malachite forms in caves or caverns as stalactites or mineral deposits filling the cracks or fractures of rocks. Fluids containing dissolved minerals seep out of the earth, tricking down rocks walls through fractures and cracks or dripping off of cavern ceilings leave behind copper-rich mineral deposits of malachite material. Over time the water's composition changes resulting in a change of color in the deposited minerals left behind. That process is responsible for the varying shades of malachite green rings.
Color of Malachite Rings & Patterns
As stated above, the rings of malachite are various shades of green. The key here is green. Imitation malachite is made with green and black resins swirled together in a large container. The black color boldly contrasts the green and is why it is chosen for imitation malachite. Identifying black lines is a surefire way to spot the fakes.
Malachite's formation process inherently results in predominantly linear and circular ring features. But, in the case of imitation malachite, because it is essentially a stirred bucked of resin, the patterning will show far more swirling than a natural specimen would. But beware, some tactfully crafted imitation malachite has more realistic patterning.
Density, Weight, & Temperature
Malachite is a very dense mineral with a specific gravity of approximately 3.8 g/cm3. To put this in perspective, silicate minerals such as quartz, tiger's eye, and jaspers have a specific gravity of approximately 2.65 g/cm3 - meaning that malachite is about 30% heavier than silicate minerals, and about 45% heavier than fake malachite resin based materials that have a specific gravity closer to 2.0 g/cm3.
Density is often closely tied to thermal conductivity, which is a materials ability to transfer heat. Higher density materials tend to be more thermally conductive. Malachite's high density and conductivity make it feel colder to the touch, whereas fake malachite will not feel very cold as it's not very dense or conductive.
Malachite is a rare and sought-after mineral. Mining and cutting of malachite is a labor-intensive task; therefore, it comes at a high price. If you find a product listing that says something like "Genuine Natural Green Malachite, Grade AAA, 100% Natural" with a price that seems too good to be true, then it probably is a fake. Even low-quality malachite will come at a cost. Imitation malachite with genuine claims, unfortunately, is a common occurrence, particularly in online marketplaces.
High-quality genuine malachite is a naturally beautiful stone that is great for handmade jewelry. Do your homework, ask questions, be informed about what you purchase, and seek out reputable suppliers to ensure that you're getting authentic products.
Comments on this post (11)
Thank you. Need more like this
I always trust Tejas beads.
— Linda Culp
Great article. Please continue with facts and educational articles. Love your beads too.
I have gone on several bead sites and you are the only one that enlightens us about stones which is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for the knowledge.
I would love to hear more about how to spot fakes. Great details.
— Tiffini S
Yes how very true. I have been fooled myself by lies A foolproof way to tell is get a lighter and see if the stone will melt. If you see black smoke and it smells like burnt plastic it’s fake for sure
— Kathleen McCarthy
This is just one of the things I love about this website. Information is the key and you always let us know where products are mined from or their general origin. The time it takes to get a response from your company on questions is unsurpassed in my experience! I don’t always have a need to purchase often but when I need beads I will not shop anyplace else.
— Dominique M Scalia
Thank you for the lesson in false and genuine malachite. I found it to be very interesting.
— Cindy Maike
Thank you for sharing these important traits of the malachite stone! I have ordered from you before and been very happy with the quality!
Thanks for the info this helps a lot when I shop for stones.
Informative and practically useful article. Thanks.