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malachite madness

by Grace Bonney

For the past few years, pink and red have been my go-to colors for just about everything Design*Sponge related. No matter what age, place in life or mood I’m in, those colors always make me happy. But over the last six months or so, I’ve found myself subconsciously leaning toward rich greens. Emeralds, teals and glimmering jades have been catching my eye and increasing the size of my ribbon collection tenfold (I collect ribbon bits in good colors for inspiration). After searching Etsy for more ribbons and fabric, I stumbled upon a shop selling a beautiful chunk of malachite that was the perfect shade of green. That led me down yet another internet-search rabbit hole that took me from this post to this one and ended with me drafting a post that would inevitably bring my love for green front and center.

The mineral malachite is actually a copper hydroxyl carbonate that crystalizes to create a rich green color. It’s been used throughout history for decorative objects, detailing in furniture and, in some higher-end pieces, as a primary building or surfacing material. Because my budget rarely swings to the 1stdibs level, I’ve been hunting for some great faux-malachite options, as well as more affordable, small-scale malachite objects like boxes and pendants. I rounded up a few of my favorite fancy pieces just for fun, but there are some great ideas here that really let you indulge in how rich and beautiful the marbled green look is. And if you want the look without the heft of the mineral in its natural state, you can check out some of the gorgeous wallpaper and decal options after the jump. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did. xo, grace

Image above, clockwise from top left: Malachite Rug (Man this is gorgeous. Tony Duquette Collection at Roubini); Malachite Soap Rock, $10.99; Malachite Pendulum (would look cool hanging from a ceiling fan cord or used as another type of hanging pull), $11.64; Malachite Print Pen, $125; Faux Malachite Letter Opener, $95; Fornasetti Faux Malachite TrayMalachite Placemats by Dransfield & RossMalachite Eggs, $9 each

Image above: Malachite wallpaper in D*S Sneak Peek: Kate Schintzius

Image above, clockwise from top left: Malachite Soap DispenserVintage Malachite Dish, $300; Antique Malachite Bowls, $1750; Antique Malachite Obelisks, $2500; Malachite Box, $500; Malachite Box, $195; Malachite Tissue BoxMalachite Box, $179; Antique Malachite Dresser, $4500

More malachite after the jump . . .

Image above: Cole & Son Malachite Wallpaper

Image above: Vintage Fornasetti Plates at 1stdibs.com

Image above: Faux Malachite Wall Decals (I’d love to use these on an inexpensive tray or tabletop for a makeover), $33.99 each

Image above: Fornasetti: The Complete Universe, $158; Malachite Letter Openers, $29 each; Faux Malachite Tray, $24

Image above: Malachite Print Fabric by Ravynka at Spoonflower, $18 per yard

Image above: Malachite wallpaper by Cole & Son, featured in the Maison 24 Sneak Peek

Image above: Malachite Trompe L’oeil Wallpaper by Rinkewall (email for pricing, through DesignTex)

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  • I love this post – I discovered Malacite while traveling in Africa, and never cease to get compliments on my malacite necklace…Thanks for sharing and for featuring this amazingly unique and beautiful color/pattern.


  • I’m with you on the deep emeralds trend. I painted my bedroom Behr’s Billiard green paint in september, sensing it would be fresh new color trend (and I love teals too). It’s weird how people catch on to design trends subconsciencly before they are huge trends!

  • Three big new buildings in Boston just used this exact shade: The Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum (Renzo Piano), a dormitory at MassArt (ADD, Inc.), and the new Boston Society of Architects space (Höweler + Yoon Architecture). Interesting that it’s not only in the air, but affecting the more conservative end of design spectrum, too.

  • Fabulous collection! I am in the middle of painting two giant faux malachite mirror frames and have been looking at everything I can find. I am crazy for this stone and have collected several pieces of malachite jewelry, boxes, etc over the years. The wallpaper is really intriguing. thanks for awesome post.

  • Wonderful – I need green to be soundly based, so love these as strong highlights.

  • You’re hitting on all of my faves today! I’ve worked with malachite, it’s so beautiful. There was a Martha Stewart Magazine from years ago that had a tutorial on doing faux malachite. That would make a great Before and After!

  • Green is always one of my favorite colors. I love those little boxes. Malachite is so rich in color/texture, I prefer it in savory small bits.

  • Now this is a trend I love. I have been a really big fan of the malachite colour and pattern for such a long time and I love that it is making it’s statement!
    It is nice to see it being re-interpreted in black and white in that hallway.
    Great post, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Bri from the Meyouandawiener blog once did an in credible job on a plain white desk and turned it into a malachite showpiece, absolutely awesome.It’s great fun to try a bit of this paint effect yourself and save yourself a fortune.I love the white and black malachite wall and will put this on my list to do! Thanks for the inspiration!! And check out bri’s blog, she is amazing.XOXO Bea

  • I’m so in love. Emeralds, malachite… there’s this luxurious and sultry feel. The wallpaper is amazing, but that rug is to die for. Thanks grace, love what you came up with! XX, Sally

  • We sell those malachite boxes (among other malachite items) for like $30 – $40 at my work- Enter The Earth in Asheville NC! Charging $500 for them is crazy!!! Awesome post! Malachite and dark greens look so pretty with gold accents.

  • I paint faux malachite furniture, there’s nothing more beautiful than this finish.