Malachite, Malacolla, Marcasite, Moldavite, Mookaite, Moonstone
Malachite is copper carbonate with distinctive green veining. Though not a particularly hard stone, it takes an excellent polish. Malachite is now relatively rare, but has been found in many locations around the world. The most important deposits were in the Ural Mountains of Russia, where 20 ton blocks once came from the quarries and were used to decorate the palaces of the Russian tsars. Malachite is an opaque stone with a unique ornamental light and dark-green banding which makes for attractive jewelry designs and carvings. There are many local artisans involved in the malachite trade in the Ruashi district of Katanga, who irrigate their lapidary machines to keep the blades and grinding stones working well, and their houses are easily identified by the streams of green water trickling out.
Malacolla is a combination of Malachite and Chrysocolla.
Marcasite jewellery is made from pyrite (fool's gold), not, as the name suggests, from marcasite. Pyrite is similar to marcasite, but more stable and less brittle. Marcasite jewellery has been made since the time of the Ancient Greeks. It was particularly popular in the eighteenth century, the Victorian era and with Art Nouveau jewellery designers. It is frequently made by setting small pieces of pyrite into silver. When diamonds were banned from public display in Switzerland in the 18th century, gleaming marcasite, along with cut steel, was turned to as a replacement.
Moldavite is an olive-green or dull greenish vitreous substance possibly formed by a meteorite impact, which would make it one kind of tektite. It's name is derived from the town of Moldauthein - now in Bohemia from where the first described pieces came. Because of their difficult fusibility, extremely low water content, and its chemical composition, the current overwhelming consensus among earth scientists is that moldavites were formed about 14,700,000 years ago during the impact of a giant meteorite in present-day Nördlinger Ries. Splatters of material that was melted by the impact cooled while they were actually airborne and most fell in Bohemia. The beryllium-10 isotope composition indicates that moldavites, along with australites, and ivorites consist of near surface and loosely consolidated terrestrial sediments melted by hypervelocity impacts. Currently, moldavites have been found in an area that includes southern Bohemia, western Moravia, the Cheb Basin in northwest Bohemia, Lusatia in Germany, and Waldviertel, Austria.
There is a new moldavite museum in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic.
Mookaite, or Mook Jasper typically features rich burgundy reds and purples, mustardy yellows and creamy white striations and marbling. Mined primarily in Australia, the name "mookaite" is derived from the locality where the rock is dug, namely Mooka Creek.
According to locals, the Aboriginal word "mooka" means "running waters", no doubt in reference to the many fresh water springs that feed Mooka Creek.
Moonstone is the most well-known gemstone variety of orthoclase feldspar, a potassium aluminum silicate. It is a transparent to opaque oligoclase, a variety of plagioclase albite and sheet mica. Moonstone is known to exhibit a distinct sheen under certain lighting conditions, and it is the sheen which renders moonstone one of the most remarkable gemstones available today. In fact, its name is owed to the almost magical, bluish white shimmer it exhibits, which closely resembles that of the moon. Gemologists refer to the shimmering phenomena as 'adularescence'. Moonstone was extremely popular inArt Nouveau. It was used to decorate a striking amount of pieces of jewellery created by the famous French Master-Goldsmith, René Lalique, as well as many of his contemporaries. Moonstone is typically colorless, but appears in grey, mocha brown, yellow, orange, green, pink, blue and white. It most often exhibits a white to bluish-white sheen, but other sheens can occur such as silvery and blue-orange. Sri Lanka's moonstones with a pale blue sheen on a near-transparent body are considered most valuable. India's moonstones show cloudlike plays of light and color which are very valuable including beige brown, green, orange or simple brown. Rarer colors include blue, peach, smoke, champagne, black and red.
According to Hindu legend, moonstone was formed from moonbeams; at one time it was believed that if you held one in your mouth during a full moon, you could see your future. We do not advocate the oralising of gemstones.
We also stock a large variety of "Rainbow Moonstone", which is a white variety of labradorite.