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The raw Malachite can be seen here.  The rock is mined in an artisanal manner from small mines particularly in the Ruashi district of Lubumbashi.  Malachite comes in many forms including thick sheets, large inter-linked nodules and crusty formations with air pockets in them.

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The rock is brought to the workshop where it is cut, ground and polished.  

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Here are a number of animal shapes after the first cut.  They will be continuously worked on to take the form of the desired animal.

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Cutting and polishing machines such as this one are used to work the stone.  The machines are irrigated by water to keep the blades and grinding stones from drying and getting jammed.  The Malachite workers' neighborhoods in Ruashi district are easy to find as the houses have small streams of green water trickling out of them.  

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The following pieces are at the polishing stage.   Examples of the different stones used for grinding, can bee seen in the forefront.

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Some of the Malachite formations have pockets of air that must be filled. A special paste is made from Malachite pieces, used to fill the holes before the final polishing. 

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Two pieces, in the final stages of polishing.   Many objects are made including chess sets, jewelry boxes, small cars, vases, picture frames and more.  Examples of the different pieces can be seen below.
Click on images below to view the larger version
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Created and maintained by Nick Hobgood