Vasiliev's stonecutting workshop.

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Have a look. Have a look. Have a look.


    Malachite.

    Malachite is a favourite stone in the Urals, it is specially dear to the Ural heart. It is the Urals that monopolizes the best sorts of ornamental malachite. It has been extracted since ancient times in the area and it was understood here better than anywhere. Malachite was known for a long time in the Urals, but only in the XVIII century large blocks of malachite which could be first used for manufacturing stonecutting articles were found in the Ural copper-ore deposits. First malachite from Gumeoshevsky deposit came into being and got famous. But soon the green stone from the Demidovs' mines of Nizhny Tagil became much more glorious than that from Gumeoshevsky deposit.
   Copper ores of the Vysokaya mountain were discovered already at the end of the XVII century but only at the beginning of the XIX century (1810 - 1814) the Mednorudyansky deposit of malachite was found, the one which richness was unheard of in the whole mankind. That miraculous deposit which got famous all over the world in a very short time, gave not only smaller or bigger pieces of the nice ornamental stone good for making brooches and caskets but huge blocks of monolite top - sort malachite for making enormous vases and fire-places. From that time on such malachite was called "Demidovs'" even in official papers and it eclipsed the glory of Gumeoshevsky malachite completely. The most unique event in the history of the Ural malachite took place in 1835. At the Mednorudyansky deposit in one of the mines at the depth of 36 "sazhen's" (about 70 meters) there was found a malachite rock which weighed 3.000 poods (48 tons). Later that malachite was used for facing the columns in the Malachite hall of the Winter palace, as well as columns of St. Isaac's Cathedral.
    The mineral got its name from the Greek word "malache", which means "hollyhock", according to its colour. According to its chemical structure malachite is a basic copper salt of coal acid. Naturally malachite is formed in the oxidation zone in the process of weathering of the copper ores depositing in the lime stones. "It is like spring grass under the sun when it is swayed by the wind. The waves on the green colour are moving," the Ural tale-writer P.P. Bazov wrote about malachite. The green colour of the malachite is indeed rich, bright and generous. The malachite accumulated in itself the real feast of the green colour with incredibly wide and rich range of hues from light green to nearly blackish green. Stonecarvers working with malachite define 2 basic divertisies of malachite: "plisovy" (silk) and "turquoise" malachite.

    "Plisovy" (silk) malachite - "The stone, but when you look at it, it is like silk, one wants to stroke it with the hand", - P.P. Bazov wrote about it. It is of dark green colour with clearly seen ray crystals and a peculiar silk shine.
    "Turquoise" malachite has a pure light green colour and remarkably diversified pictures. Due to its high density the "turquoise" malachite acquires the best polishing.
     Malachite caused the birth of a whole branch of ornamental mastership in Russia - an original kind of mosaic. The reason for it was one of the shortcomings of the malachite - small size of its formations, and since it was impossible to make large monolithic things out of small portions, they found a possibility to use it for manufacturing large articles in the technique of the "Russian mosaic". Pieces of malachite were cut into thin plates and stuck on the basic surface of serpentine, marble or bronze. The malachite master's aim was to stick the malachite plates in accordance with their ornaments and colour so as to get the illusion of the monolithic ornamental stone. Academician A.E. Fersman believed that the Urals masters were the first who "cheated" the nature by inventing this technique.

  •   In our collection we display a clock, a casket and a table out of malachite which are made in the technique of the Russian mosaic. The malachite clock has the mosaic ornament symmetrical on its verhical. A copy of this clock was presented to the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II during his visit to the city of Nizhny Tagil.


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