Velvet Malachite is suddenly trending. Interesting! I came across a picture of it, and decided to look into it more deeply. Is velvet malachite a real thing? What is it like?
What is Velvet Malachite?
In doing my research, I learned that velvet malachite is a real thing! Turns out velvet malachite is just….malachite. In a different form.
Malachite is a secondary mineral, called so because it forms as the result of weathering of copper ore materials. Water containing carbon dioxide or dissolved carbonate minerals seeps into or through copper ores. Over time, a chemical reaction occurs which results in malachite.
Over time, the water mixing in with the copper can change in both volume and content (composition of the chemicals in it). This causes the different shades of bands people find desirable and lovely in the material.
The way malachite forms often has to do with the content of the minerals in the water, the shape of the copper ore, the exposure of the area to air, and also the areas in which the water is able to seep through it.
You might find it as a stalagmite (like a tapering column), botryoidal (meaning looking like a bunch of grapes), acicular (tufts), or even fibrous (silky looking).
Most people only see malachite in its found and polished form in jewelry or in home decor, and fail to realize that the malachite they are looking at was probably a piece of botryoidal malachite that was big enough to cut or to polish.
As a result, they don’t realize that malachite is found in the earth in many different shapes.
What causes the velvet looking malachite?
Velvet malachite is also called “silky malachite” or “fibrous malachite.” The silky or velvety looking surface is not soft at all. Instead, it is rough, prickly, and potentially even brittle. This isn’t something you really want to run your hands over and cuddle up with. It does not feel like velvet.
An individual crystal of malachite looks like a needle. These are fairly rare. Fibrous malachite is a clump of these individual crystal looking needles of malachite that formed and clumped together. It is the light passing through and refracting from these many crystals poised at different angles that cause it to look like velvet.
Is Fibrous Malachite Toxic?
Malachite in general contains a lot of copper, which is toxic to humans if they ingest any significant amount. The toxicity of velvet malachite is the same as any other kind of malachite would be in most cases.
Fibrous malachite is not a stone that you would want to cut or work in any way that caused you to breathe in particulate from the stone. Don’t grind any of it up to drink, don’t put it in your gem water to drink, and don’t put the stone in the bath water while you soak in it.
How Do You Clean Fibrous Malachite?
The stone itself may seem hard, and the needles may seek tough (as they poke you), but because of the amount of copper in the stone, malachite is pretty soft. It is in the 3-4 range on the Mohls Hardness Scale.
In contrast, gold, which can be dented or scratched with a human fingernail, rates a 2.5 to a 3 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Malachite is not much harder.
When trying to clean velvet malachite, we recommended against long periods of soaking in water, or in a solution containing any other chemical (like salt). Instead, you can briefly dip the stone to get dust out of the needles, or you can try blowing air gently (and increasing the pressure over time as the needles hold up) to get of pesky particles or fibers.
We take the position that fibrous malachite is pretty cool the way it is. It is pretty rare to find a piece of it in any substantial size, so we are loath to do anything that might damage the awesome structure and appearance. This is why we don’t recommend that you try to polish it or put additional chemicals on it.
What about Fibrous Malachite Physical Properties?
We’ve talked before about the metaphysical properties of malachite, especially when a piece of malachite stone breaks.
The difference between round and smooth malachite and fibrous is less about the specific things that it can do (protect, heal, balance, etc). Instead, the difference has to do with the flavor, strength, and style of the stone.
In most cases, the malachite stones that you have around the house or carry with you is something that have been mined, cut, shaped, and polished.
Fibrous malachite pieces are often minimally handled, are not sealed, and are, for all intents and purposes, raw. Many recommend against purchasing or acquiring raw fibrous malachite. Perhaps this is because fibrous malachite is not as orderly as a smooth and round piece. Or perhaps it is because the light seems to change as it hits different aspects of the crystals that compose what looks like fibers.
We like to think of fibrous malachite as the wilder version of malachite that you already have.
Malachite is known to be protective material. We think of comparing the nature of smooth and round malachite to fibrous malachite to what it is like to compare a wolf to a protective family dog.
And the impact this particular stone can has a lot to do with your investment (time and effort, not money) in it.
Of course, when you bring rough and raw malachite into your home, you can’t really touch it much without damaging it. You might also not get the feeling that the stone is something that wants to be handled.
You will have to spend time trying to forge a connection, and to open yourself to it.
Some people won’t be able to.
But over time, if you spend time with it, care for it, meditate with it, feed it…you will open to it and it to you, and it will be a much stronger ally than your round stone.
See also: Should You Sleep With Malachite?
How Do You Cleanse Fibrous Malachite?
Fibrous malachite is raw and wild. It is not one that has to be cleansed often. But when you do feel that it needs it, we recommend that you stay true to the nature of the stone. Cleanse it by allowing it to connect with the earth (sitting it on dirt or other unfinished stones), placing it outside in natural light, or sprinkling fresh herbs on it.
Don’t rub it or scrub it, don’t put it in salt or in salt water, and don’t leave it for an extended period of time in full sun. Choose moonlight instead, if the season allows for it.
Still have questions? Check out our knowledge vault to learn more about crystals, rocks, and minerals.