Dioptase in Malachite Cabochon

SKU: C0188 Category:




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An uncommon combination of Dioptase crystals on Malachite from the Tsumeb Mine, Namibia.


Dioptase has a beautiful, emerald-like green color. Although this mineral isn’t rare, gems are seldom faceted because of a paucity of clean material over 1 carat. It is an uncommon mineral found mostly in desert regions where it forms as a secondary mineral in the oxidized zone of copper sulfide mineral deposits. However, the process of its formation is not simple, the oxidation of copper sulfides should be insufficient to crystallize dioptase as silica is normally minutely soluble in water except at highly alkaline pH. The oxidation of sulfides will generate highly acidic fluids rich in sulfuric acid that should suppress silica solubility. However, in dry climates and with enough time, especially in areas of a mineral deposit where acids are buffered by carbonate, minute quantities of silica may react with dissolved copper forming dioptase and chrysocolla.


Malachite is named after Greek word for “mallow” because of its resemblance to the leaves of the Mallow plant. It is a green, very common secondary copper mineral with a widely variable habit. Malachite shows a banding of light and dark layers with concentric rings, straight stripes and other figurative shapes caused by its shell-like formation.

Malachite was popular in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and was used for jewelry, amulets, as a powder for eye shadow and colouring pigment. Nowadays it is popular for jewelry and ornaments.


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Weight 0.0 oz
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1 (25*11*3 mm), 2 (31*11*3 mm), 3 (25*13*4.5 mm), 4 (39*14*3 mm), 5 (47*16*3 mm), 6 (46*19*3 mm), 7 (30*14*3 mm), 8 (35*17*3 mm), 9 (34*15*3 mm)