Worcester City Museum has a large mineral collection which includes around 2,000 world-wide specimens, mostly collected in the 19th century. It is one of the finest geological collections in the Midlands and of great importance. The collection represents Worcestershire’s comprehensive range of local varied, interesting and in some cases, rare geology. Some minerals are of economic importance but others are just beautiful objects due to their crystal form, shape or colour.
Here is one of the collection’s brilliantly colourful ‘treasures’ of bright green malachite encrusted with crystals of dark blue azurite. Both are carbonates of copper and are usually found in the oxidation zone of copper deposits. They were originally used as a copper ore before their ornamental values were discovered. Malachite was first used as a pigment during the Bronze Age in Egypt and is also a popular polished decorative stone due to its beautiful banding patterns. Azurite was important in the ancient East as a blue pigment in mural paintings and today remains important in paint production.
Rosemary Roden Bsc, Honorary Curator of Geology