Marg brought this back from Tucson - handed it to me, in a small plastic baggy.
"Wow," I enthused, "Nice malachite!" I slid the small strand out into my hand. "Oh," I said, confusion colouring my enthusiasm. "This is ... not Malachite, right?"
"Right," she said. "One of the vendors gave me that. Apparently, there is virtually no new Malachite out there. Nothing affordable. Mostly, it's been mined out."
"D4mn," I replied, turning it over and over and hefting it in my hand. "D4mn. It's good. It feels wrong, but it looks amazing."
This imitation Malachite looks like the real thing, but in your hand, it feels different - too light, and not cool enough. Stone beads feel cooler than room temperature when you pick them up.
I broke one of the beads open - it broke fairly easily when I bore down on it with some pliers - and the colour and streaks go all the way through. We can conclude from this that the colour is not going to scratch or wear off.
Malachite is one of my favourite stones. It's sort of sad to know that had become like turquoise: the real thing is rare and expensive.