Malachite eggs


These Congolese traders were great showmen. They always had a final flourish, a pièce de résistance that came out last from their bottomless Mary Poppins bag. With a tongue rolling eh voilà, malachite stone eggs were cajoled out of their creased Belgian newspaper wrappings with a fine display of facial and vocal drama; these men had surprisingly shrill voices that hooked on to your attention. Malachite is a beautiful green mineral form of copper found in huge deposits of verdigris layered rock in the Katanga province of the Congo. To me, these semiprecious stone eggs were the crystal ball of every African sorcerer. You could see countless worlds in their swirls of green: from the serene undulations of far-off fresh-rained horizons to billowing clouds of broccoli-shaped storms, all in one pleasing-to-hold egg shape.

Allan Taylor, author, Luanshya musings


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