The other day, I got a convo from a fellow Etsian wondering if I was aware that Malachite contains arsenic, as I have several pieces containing Malachite in my Etsy Shop.
I’m not sure where this belief came from, but I have a couple of theories. Firstly, the chemical composition of the stone Malachite is Cu2CO3(OH)2 Copper Carbonate Hydroxide. As you can see, there is no arsenic contained in the chemical makeup. There is, however, copper. Due to the presence of copper, which is toxic if ingested or inhaled, Malachite should not be ingested or inhaled as well. It is theorized that perhaps while working with Malachite, cutting the stone in poor ventilated areas without a mask, dust is inhaled causing symptoms that may be mistaken for Arsenic poisoning.
The other theory that I have, is that people are confusing green malachite, a semi-precious gemstone, with the chemical malachite green, which gets its name from its colour and not because it contains the stone. In the past, malachite green has been diluted & used as an antiseptic in fish farms, but since has been determined as being very toxic to humans.
Of course I am no expert, but I am very confident that malachite is a safe gemstome. For more on this stone and others, check out Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop. I love this site for detailed information on different kinds of minerals. My DH also found this blog, as he is also a bit of a rockhound himself. The Rock Professor’s Blog has this good post that pretty much sums it up. He had the stone tested and confirmed there is no presence of Arsenic in Malachite.
This is a beautiful stone, & even though I am not partial to the colour dark green I am very much drawn to malachite. I hope this rumour does not deter others from enjoying it as well…