Tuesday, October 30, 2018

M a l a c h i t e green : Colour of the Month #6

Green has been used since Antiquity, in the form of green earths and minerals such as malachite. Malachite is perhaps the oldest known green pigment, discovered by Egyptians about 3000 BC. Malachite is a copper carbonate natural occurring mineral, which is also found along with a blue colour mineral called azurite.

Malachite Green
‘First green ever used’

Etymology: malache
Source: mineral
Chemical name: copper resinate
Colour range: pale to bright green

Photos: Studio Laura Daza, Kkgas, Lidia Radziszewska

This pigment was widely used in amulets, jewelry, cosmetics and eye shadow. Once again Egyptians play an important roll in the discovery and use of minerals as colour. This mineral was heavily mined in the Sinai near what is now the Suez Canal, in the copper mines located on the Red Sea. 

Photo: Kkgas for Studio Laura Daza

Green and blue had a positive connotation in ancient Egypt. The Goddess of Heaven was sometimes depicted as green tree. She was governing over love and life. The green mineral malachite was especially important; iwas prized because it was the easiest copper mineral to reduce to copper metal. It can be said that the copper mining in Sinai, for malachite and azurite, may have been the first real industry of the ancient world.

Photo: Studio Laura Daza

The natural form of malachite was being replaced by its synthetic form, which is the colour verditer, among other synthetic greens. It was also used for decorative purposes. The nineteenth century proved to be the golden age of Russian malachite. The sumptuous stone became a sign of prestige and wealth; a piece of malachite was equivalent to diamonds.

Photo: Kkgas for Studio Laura Daza

Interested in learning more about this colour?

Join us in the upcoming Colour Alchimia workshop.

November 24th
10.00 - 14.00
Barcelona, Spain

Read more

IG @studio.laura.daza