This is a beautiful, hand-polished piece of high grade botryoidal malachite mined in the Congo. The lapidary work is nice, and allows for the natural botryoidal patterns in the mineral to be seen.
Malachite is an intense green copper-based mineral that can be found in a wide variety of forms. Malachite
can grow in botryoidal masses, stalactitic formations, and reniform formations, typically as a tight cluster of fanning fibrous needles that make up a seemingly solid mass. As layers continue to stack during formation, a banded pattern can sometimes begin to take shape, which explains the rings in all shades of green that are seen on most polished malachite specimens.
Malachite results from the weathering of other copper ores and is very often found associated with other copper-based minerals such as Azurite and Chrysocolla. It can be found in copper deposits around the world, but the Democratic Republic Of The Congo is the primary source for polished malachite and mineral specimens.
Malachite has been prized since ancient times, first as a utilitarian copper ore, then as an ornamental stone. Due to it's value as a decorative stone, it's rarely mined as a copper ore anymore.