Summary
When discussing gemstone symbolism and the ancient world, remember one important fact. No matter how powerful the finished stone’s reputed mystical properties, the gem was obtained through trade. And the gem that protected merchants was malachite.
Reading time: 2 min
malachite symbolism - travels

Malachites have many connections to merchants and travel. This long-necked malachite frog seems to bear out those associations. Its owner writes: “The Congolese man from Moscow who sold it to me in France swore it was a Brazilian species. It now lives in Glasgow.” Photo by Kevin Walsh. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Merchants traveled far and wide, acquiring pretty stones to entice their wealthy and spiritual customers in the lands they crossed. Not surprisingly, they became well-versed in the beliefs of their trading partners. However, they developed a few superstitions of their own.

Money and Malachite Symbolism

If ever there was a stone for merchants, malachite would be it. This always beautiful green-and-black banded gem material has long enjoyed tremendous popularity. Since no two stones look alike, each malachite piece can have a unique appeal. Customers could find personal or magical significance in unusual patterns. In addition, artisans could easily carve the stones into intriguing amulets. With such great marketability, no wonder this became “the salesman’s stone.”

slab

Malachite slab. Photo by Bob Richmond. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

If kept with money, malachite was believed to increase wealth. Traders also wore the stone during business transactions to attract profitable deals. (Of course, in modern America, green is the color of money, symbolically and literally).

malachite symbolism - money

Taxco sterling silver money clip with crushed malachite inlay. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and One of a Kind Finds.

Fear of Falling: Then and Now

Much like turquoise, malachite’s mystic purview includes the ability to foretell impending disaster. By breaking into pieces, these gems could warn their wearers. They could also protect merchants from falling. In ancient times, this wasn’t an insignificant boon. After all, camels tend to be tall beasts. For riders, a fall could be dangerous. Why do I say camels? Archeologists know the Egyptians worked malachite perhaps as early as 4,000 BCE. They’ve found mines from that era in the Sinai.

Modern merchants may hold on to malachite gems for protection from other kinds of falls.

scarab

An Egyptian scarab, made from malachite. Photo by Rosana Prada. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Malachite Symbolism and Protection from Evil

Malachite symbolism has strong associations with travelers of all kinds as well as children. Both groups of people need all the protection they can get.

In some parts of Italy, people wore malachite pieces resembling eyes to ward away the Evil Eye. Typically, these pieces were triangular in shape and set in silver. Since the symbolic power of light could supposedly keep away “dark” magic influences, gem carvers also cut the rayed figure of the Sun into malachite amulets. Parents would also hang malachite beads on cradles to protect infants from evil spirits and bring tranquil sleep. For adults, holding a malachite in hand reputedly brought comfort and restful sleep.

Of course, these all make good selling points for a dealer in malachite.

malachite symbolism - earrings

Malachite earrings. Photo by Deidre Woollard. Licensed under CC By 2.0.