Thursday, 5 April 2018

Malachite from the Belgian Congo

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This slab of pure malachite Cu2(CO3)(OH)2 was given to me by a retired jeweller, Stan Brown, in the 90's.

I use it to display native gold specimens. The Congo green contrasts the yellow gleam of gold admirably. The slab had been in Stan's possession since the early '60s, so the polished face is now a little dull and scratched.

This specimen is part of my gold collection, which is FOR SALE. See here


He said that the colour accentuated the gold rings he displayed on it. When he acquired it, it was sold as "cutting rough," but he liked its colour, shape and form, and its African provenance, from Katanga, in the Belgian Congo. Here's a 56 second video of the slab -




A more modern description of the location -

Katanga Copper Crescent, Katanga (Shaba), Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre)

Mindat location page

I like it for the mineralogical interest, particularly the solution channels, which have small botryoidal growths on the sides and some micro-crystallisation.



It's a hefty specimen, weighing well over 1.3 lbs. Here's a 39 second video showing some detail -


Dimensions - 13.5 x 10.2 x (1.5 -> 2.3) centimeters
Weight - 627 grams

This specimen is part of my gold collection, which is FOR SALE. See here


Above, a copper mine in Katanga. Below, an old map shows the location of the copper locations in Katanga (see key).


David Livingtone accounts the occurrence of malachite in Katanga, in 1866 -


The Quarterly Review, Volume 138 1875

Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine, Volume 15, 1876

As a postscript, the jeweller Stan Brown (who gave me the malachite), was not alone in appreciating the value of displaying the warmth of gold against the verdant green of Congolese Copper Carbonate.

This animated jewel "The Living Flower" is by Salvador Dali, and is eighteen-carat gold, paved with diamonds; the stems embedded in malachite from the Belgian Congo.


Described by Dali, "Opens and closes as a lovely flower, revealing stamen and petals paved with diamonds. The flowers, shaped as hands, reach always upward, toward the Light. The mound of malachite, from the Belgian Congo, hides the mechanism - a simple matter of weights and pulleys - which, when set in motion by electrical impulses, brings the flower to life."

I use it as a background for my native gold collection, below. The Congo green does contrast the yellow gleam of gold well.


This specimen is part of my gold collection, which is FOR SALE. See here


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