Cabinet, 15.6 x 5.0 x 3.0 cm
Tonglushan Mine, Daye County, Huangshi, Hubei Province, China

The natural shape is very amusing to be sure, but this stalactite of malachite is pretty impressive as a locality specimen and mineral from China, as well. A dark green color and excellent luster make the piece notable, and dramatically different from Congo African material of similar size but different color and texture. Impressive on its own merits, it is particularly good for China! This mine is the oldest continually working copper mine known and was documented even as far as 2700 years ago. Today, while part of it is worked underground, a large museum sits atop, with reconstructions of copper smelting kilns and ancient mining methods. However, few good specimens are recovered, as it is a working, industrial mine and this is of course the best and purest ore of copper to throw in the crusher, when found. Only relatively recently have specimens been preserved, as miners got educated about their value and rarity. (I have been to this mine, for just such efforts).

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