Malachite is an opaque stone, its principal composition being carbonate of copper, which gives it a beautiful green colour.

The name is derived from the Greek Malaku, signifying the Mallow plant, as its colouring was thought, to resemble that of Mallow leaves. The finest quality comes from Siberia, and it is also found in Australia, Africa, and Germany, and it is believed to be the Molochites of Pliny; it was also used extensively by the Egyptians, both for talismanic and ornamental purposes.

It is very popular in the East and throughout Russia, where it is regarded as a safeguard against colic and rheumatism, its benefits acting through the copper in its composition; and in connection with this, Dr. Alfred J. Pearce in his text-book of Astrology mentions "that workers in copper mines have escaped cholera when their neighbours died of it, also that copper is worn by the Hindus as a Charm against cholera".

Marbodus recommends the Malachite as a Talisman for young people because of its protective qualities and power in attracting sound sleep; it was also worn for protection from lightning and contagious diseases and for health, success, and constancy in the affections. During the Middle Ages it was customary to wear it engraved with a figure or symbol of the Sun as a preservative to the health and to avert despondency and depression of spirits to which the Capricorn type are liable.