Serpentine Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™
Serpentine is well known to the world's mineralogists and gemologists, but is much less familiar to the general public. The marbled look of this green stone makes it ideal as an ornamental material, and it has been carved into a wide array of decorative objects throughout history. Although serpentine has a similar appearance to jade, it is a different, unrelated series of minerals.
Green To Greenish Yellow, White, Brown, Black
Serpentine classificationCommonNameSerpentineSpeciesSerpentineVarietyColorsGreen To Greenish Yellow, White, Brown, BlackAlternateNamesAntigorite, Bowenite, Williamsite, Verd-Antique, Bastite, ChrysotileGemstoneGroupsKeySeparationsrefractive index, magnification, spectrum and possibly appearance and surface conditionClassificationCommentsMisnomers: new jade, Soochow jade, Styrian jadeAntigorite is a hard compact variety of serpantine that occurs in pleated masses. Bastite is a silky or shiny pseudomorph of serpentine with the crystal shape of enstatite. Bowenite is the apple green variety of Antigorite that is translucent light to medium green to yellow green and sometimes spotted. Chrysotile is the fibrous variety of serpentine. Williamsite is the oil green variety of Antigorite. It is semitransparent to translucent intense green often with black inclusions. Verd-antique is dark green serpentinite breccia that is mottled in appearance with white calcite or dolomite veins.
Serpentine chemistry & crystallographyChemicalNamehydrous magnesium iron phyllosilicateChemicalFormula(Mg,Fe,Ni)3Si2O5(OH)4SynthesisCrystalSystemMonoclinicChemistryClassificationSilicateNatureNaturalCrystallinityMicrocrystallineChemistryComments
Serpentine optical propertiesTransparencySemitransparent - OpaqueDispersionOpticalCommentsRefractiveIndex1.56-1.57
Tolerance:(+0.004/-0.070)BirefringenceOpticCharacterNAOpticSignNAPolariscopeReactionAggregate (AGG)FluorescenceSWUV: Inert to weak blue
LWUV: Inert to weak greenCCFReactionPleochroismNone
Serpentine characteristic physical propertiesHardness2.5-5CharacteristicCommentsStreakWhiteSpecificGravity2.44-2.8 Range:0.23/-0.13 Typical:2.57ToughnessPoorInclusionsStones often have black inclusions of chromite or magnetite octahedra, color is usually spotty with white veining or moss-like inclusions. Stones will not take a good polish and often show scratches due to low mohs hardness.LusterWaxyStabilityFractureGranular, UnevenCleavageNone