Malachite is a copper ore that is very malleable- only 3.5 on the Moh scale, and so especially good for carved pieces or cameos. It is an opaque gem of brilliant green color, striped concentrically with other shades of the same tonal green and it makes for truly lovely brooches, pendants and even necklaces (when carved into small round beads and polished). It is not durable, so wearing it must be done with some care and it is not recommended you mount malachite into a ring or any piece of jewelry that is exposed daily to scratches or nicks. It's attractive yet very low cost, and finding a good-quality malachite cabochon of good size at around $15 is not a problem. The major source for malachite is the Congo region, but it can also be found in Arizona , New Mexico , Australia , Zambia and Russia . Russia also produces synthetic malachite, though the gem is so relatively cheap it doesn't really matter in this case.
Azurite is made of the same basic material, but it doesn't come in green shades. Instead, azurite is a vibrant blue color, also marked with same concentric striping of the same tonality. It is sometimes called ‘azurmalachite'.