Monday, May 9, 2011

This week Serpentine is the Gemstone of the Week

Serpentine is the name given to a large variety of rock forming minerals that are green, yellowish green, or brownish green in color. There are over twenty varieties of Serpentine and they are not always easy to tell apart. All Serpentines are a basic magnesium silicate. The name comes from the Latin “serpentinus” meaning snake rock. The mottled colors do give it the appearance of snakeskine. In mineralogy and gemology, Serpentine is divided into three groups, antigorite, chrysotile and lizardite.

Serpentine ranges from opaque to translucent and the Moh scale hardness varies within the different varieties. On the Moh scale hardness ranges from 2.5 to 5.5. Antigorite is the hardest variety. Serpentine is often streaked with the minerals calcite and dolomite. These minerals are what give Serpentine the white and gray streaks.

Several trade names have been given to Serpentine to distinguish the different varieties. These are bowenite, connemara,verde-antique and williamsite. It is often sold under the names of new jade, lemon jade, olive jade, Afghan jade and green jade. When buying, this is something you need to be aware of as these stones are not jade at all, but Serpentine.
Serpentine is found in many places around the world, including Afghanistan, Burma, China, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Norway, and the U.S.. In the U.S. it is found in Northern California, Rhode Island, Conneticut, Mass., Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.
It is said that Serpentine can restore self confidence, repel fear, and enhance meditation. It is also believed to bring good luck and to help people obtain their dreams.
This Serpentine piece is in a necklace I made. It is a yellowish green, almost chartreuese color.

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