Thursday, October 29, 2009

Malachite: Let the bands play on

Malachite is a form of copper ore that doesn't look coppery at all. It's name is derived from the Greek word, molochitis, which means "mallow", a green herb. With its distinctive deep green bands, malachite provides gemmy green for a fraction of the cost of emerald, high-quality tourmaline or demantoid garnet.

Because it has a Mohs scale rating of only 3.5-4 (compared to diamond's 10), malachite is suitable for set pieces such as earrings or a necklace, but too soft for a bangle or some ring designs. It mixes beautifully with stones such as coral, mother-of-pearl, azurite, jasper and onyx.

However, with a bezel setting, malachite endures; here's my Scandinavian style malachite ring, at least 50 years old and wearing well. I'm enjoying a nice restorative apéritif, rosé champagne and yes, it IS after 5 pm. as I write.

Malachite is not a costly mineral; you can find tons of cheap malachite jewelry. However, when well-designed and set, this stone comes into its own. A three-inch Cartier lighter with a gold Bacchus head, ruby cabuchon eyes and malachite base sold at a Christie's auction last year for over $3,000.

Necklaces and pendants

24" malachite wheel beads and silver beads, $96.30 from Semiprecious.com. This necklace would layer well with a silver chain, and has enough presence to stand alone.

An exotic 18-inch
Onyx and Malachite Bead Necklace Black (bead detail shown left) combines faceted black onyx and carved malachite beads, spaced with discs of 18k vermeil, $295 from Ross Simons.



Flattered by the sensuality of silver, malachite is a favourite material for Native American designers. I'm discerning about my Native pieces. This 1950's pendant by Hopi artist Sekayumptwea Wally is special.

His work was exhibited in the Museum of Northern Arizona between 1950-1960. $250 BIN price from eBay seller inthelandofenchantment.

Rings

An 18 mm x 13mm (11/16th-inch) gracefully curved stone, simply mounted in 14k gold, puts a deep green pool on your finger. $250 from Ross Simons.

Our bloggoddess Belle de Ville has two intrig
uing rings
listed on her
Belladora II site. The first is a '70s carved malachite flower, 17mm, set in 14k yellow gold, very 'lady' but not too sweet, $335; size 5.

The second, from
the same era, is a crisply-tailored gold and malachite slightly domed gold ring with crescent-cut malachite sides, $346, size 6, with a Cartier vibe.

Either, worn with a black sweater framing that vivid green, is a signature accessory that lifts a simple ensemble.


Earrings

Ideal for someone beginning to collect fine jewelry, or for a splashy gift, these 5/8"-diameter gold-plated hoops by Viv & Ingrid are just $75 from Twist.



Malachite and onyx in statement earrings: 14mm x 11mm malachite discs hangin
g beneath 16mm x 12mm onyx discs, hanging length 2 1/8", set in 14k yellow gold; $150 from ice.com. International shipping.

A video feature on the listing allows you to see how the earrings move.

Ross Simon's malachite hoops (1 1/8" diameter) show off a range of banded greens, and are set in 14k; for $125, a tempting treat.


Malachite-dial watches



Gucci Malachite Dial Gold Signoria Watch, $5, 045 (sale price) at Authentic Watches, features 18k horsebit links; I love its Belle de Jour charm. The Signoria is also sold in silver ($1,226 on sale at Certified Watch Store).

Vint
age watch dealer Finer Times offer a sumptuous yet simple manual Longines watch, in near-mint condition, with a malachite dial and 14k case for $535.

Want fla
sh and rock-solid wearability? This Rolex Ladies Rolex DateJust Malachite TwoTone Oyster $5,399 from Best of Time has a baguette-diamond 18k bezel and a two-tone 18k and stainless steel bracelet. An assertively glam watch that stands up to serious wear.

And... one bracelet

If I were starting a charm bracelet, I would choose the Tiffany Jean Schlumberger 18k link charm bracelet, $1,500, and add a malachite egg charm, $900, inspired by a pendant for the 1960s. I'm not desirous of Tiffany charms in general– too twee, but this one... charms.

So far I have just the ring, but malachite's in my sights. The semi-precious gems are a good buy, if set with care and workmanship.

17 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

Lovely pieces, Duchesse. Your ring is stunning.

I've become a fan of semi-precious stones...lots of bang for the buck.

I've eyed that second Beladora II ring, but alas it's a size too small.

metscan said...

So much information Duchesse, thanks! Green is not me, I´m afraid, but Deja; can´t that ring, I mean if you really are interested, be altered to fit you, would the color match your Lancel bag by any chance?

LPC said...

Mmm. Love Schlumberger charms. Some things transcend their nature.

Belle de Ville said...

I love to wear green in the Fall. Now...if I could just have Pseu's green Lancel bag and that vintage Gucci watch with malachite face...

Duchesse said...

Pseu (and metscan): Can't tell if ring can be sized, depends on how far malachite extends. Did you ask Belle?

Belle: That's a new Gucci watch, it just looks vintage.

LPC: Yes, Schlumberger is my favourite of the Tiffany lines.

Frugal Scholar said...

Oh, I love malachite and had no idea it was so reasonably priced. I'm going to see if my red-headed (dyed) daughter would like something. She looks great in that color.

Completely Alienne said...

It is a fabulous colour - I love green. I shall have to investigate malachite ....

s. said...

Thanks for the continued education, Duchesse. I learn a great deal reading your blog.

Ms Maven said...

Beautiful "stuff." I always thought of malachite as a pretty but cheap stone. These pieces are wonderful and I have changed my mind about it. Thanks.

Lindy said...

Wonderful suggestions!

I became enamored with malachite and lapis lazuli after visting St Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The church has tall columns made of malachite and lapis that are breathtaking.

Duchesse said...

Frugal: Perhaps the silver and malachite beads? She would look "divine" in malachite.

Lindy: That just have been thrilling!

s., Thanks, I enjoy putting them together.

Ms Maven: Well there is a lot of junk out there but it's the fault of the design and fabrication, not the malachite.

Alienne: If your investigations turn up a piece you like, please let us know.

LaurieAnn said...

Duchesse:

Pardon me for being a bit off topic but last night as I waited between trick-or-treaters I reviewed your entire site! What a treat! My favorite post of yours was on the French plus-strict style of dressing. For the last few years I have been working to develop that style for my closet without consciously knowing that it is a style, and where to source it.

If this subject is still of interest to you, I'd love to see you do an updated post on the subject.

Thank you for giving me such an entertaining evening. All the best to you and yours;

Laurie Robinson

kristophine said...

Those Ross Simon hoops are just edibly gorgeous.

Duchesse said...

Laurie: The subject is of interest but little else really can be said. This is a subset of minimalist-classic attire you see rarely- and even more rarely in North American where a large population of women adore colour and girly details.

Well maybe I can work up another post, thanks for asking!

Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

Mmmmm pretty!

Glenn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Online Jewelry Store said...

This looks absolutely perfect. All these tinny details are made with lot of background knowledge. I like it a lot. Keep on taking action!