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Malachite

Great care must be exercised in working with malachite as it is poisonous in its raw state. Never lick it to see the color. If you wet your finger to apply it to the stone, do not put your finger back in your mouth. Grind malachite wet and wear a mask. When cutting it on the saw, do not get the contaminated oil on your skin. If you do, cleanse the affected skin immediately.

If you smoke, you can tell very easily if you are inhaling malachite dust because the smoke will taste sickeningly sweet. The reason for this sweet taste is that the copper oxide dust mixes with the moisture in the mouth, and this combination reacts with the tar of the tobacco, turning it into saccharin, an artificial sweetener.

When working with Malachite, saw about 10 degrees away from directly parallel to the grain. This way when you are done with the stone, you will get a bulls-eye effect. Malachite is a fairly soft stone, try to cut the slab a little thicker than other material. When grinding, always wear a breathing mask. This is toxic material and can make you very ill. After grinding, sand first on a new 600 grit sanding belt. For polishing, ZAM on hard felt is recommended. Give the stone a little extra time.

Source: RockVein, Winnipeg R&M Club, 41 2004, via Quarry Quips, 6/2009