What is the Difference Between Malachite and Azurite

The key difference between malachite and azurite is that malachite has a bright green color and azurite has an azure blue color.

Malachite is a mineral consisting of copper carbonate hydroxide having the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. Azurite is a type of carbonate mineral having the chemical formula Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Malachite 
3. What is Azurite
4. Similarities – Malachite and Azurite
5. Malachite vs Azurite in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Malachite vs Azurite 

What is Malachite?

Malachite is a mineral consisting of copper carbonate hydroxide and has the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. It appears as an opaque, green-banded mineral crystal. The crystal system of this substance is monoclinic, and often, it can form botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagmitic masses. They can form in places like fractures and deep, underground spaces, etc., where hypothermal fluids and water tables can provide conditions for chemical precipitation. Finding individual crystals of malachite is difficult because it occurs slender to acicular prisms.

Figure 01: Malachite Mineral

Malachite comes under the category of carbonate minerals. The chemical formula mass of this mineral is 221.1 g/mol. The crystal habit is usually massive, and the crystals may occur as acicular or tabular prismatic crystals. The cleavage of the mineral is fairly perfect, and the fracture is subconchoidal or uneven. The hardness in the Mohs scale is around 3.5 – 4.0. The luster of malachite can be described as adamantine to vitreous. The mineral streak color of malachite is usually light green. When considering the optical properties, this mineral is translucent or opaque. Its specific gravity may range from 3.6 to 4.

In the past, malachite was used as a mineral pigment in green paints. This pigment is moderately lightfast and sensitive to acids. However, this natural pigment was largely replaced by the synthetic “verditer” green pigment. Moreover, malachite is useful for decorative purposes in museums. Besides, we can use malachite ore to extract copper.

What is Azurite?

Azurite is a mineral that appears in azure-blue color. It is a type of carbonate mineral that is soft, deep-blue, and made of copper. The chemical formula of this mineral can be given as Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2. The crystal system of azurite is monoclinic, and the crystal habit can be described as massive, prismatic stalactitic, and tabular. The twinning of this mineral is rare, and the cleavage is fairly perfect. The fracture of this mineral is conchoidal, and it is brittle. Its hardness can range from 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale. The luster of azurite can be described as vitreous, and the mineral streak color is light blue. When considering the optical properties of azurite, it can be transparent or translucent.

Figure 02: Azurite Mineral

Azurite mineral is used as a blue pigment in antiquity, as beads and as jewelry, as an ornamental stone, as collector’s stones, as an indicator of the presence of weathered copper sulfide ores, etc.

Similarities Between Malachite and Azurite

  1. Malachite and azurite are carbonate minerals.
  2. Both have monoclinic crystal structure.
  3. They are copper-containing minerals.
  4. Both have fairly perfect cleavage.

What is the Difference Between Malachite and Azurite?

Malachite is a mineral substance consisting of copper carbonate hydroxide having the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2, while azurite is a type of carbonate mineral having the chemical formula Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2. The key difference between malachite and azurite is that malachite has a bright green color and azurite has an azure blue color.

The below infographic presents the differences between malachite and azurite in tabular form for side by side comparison.

Summary – Malachite vs Azurite

Malachite is a mineral substance consisting of copper carbonate hydroxide having the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2 while azurite is a type of carbonate mineral having the chemical formula Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2. The key difference between malachite and azurite is that malachite has a bright green color and azurite has an azure blue color.