Serpentine Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™

Serpentine

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.

Colors

Green To Greenish Yellow, White, Brown, Black

  • Serpentine classification

    CommonName
    Serpentine
    Species
    Serpentine
    Variety
    Colors
    Green To Greenish Yellow, White, Brown, Black
    AlternateNames
    Antigorite, Bowenite, Williamsite, Verd-Antique, Bastite, Chrysotile
    GemstoneGroups
    KeySeparations
    refractive index, magnification, spectrum and possibly appearance and surface condition
    ClassificationComments
    Misnomers: 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 & crystallography

    ChemicalName
    hydrous magnesium iron phyllosilicate
    ChemicalFormula
    (Mg,Fe,Ni)3Si2O5(OH)4
    Synthesis
    CrystalSystem
    Monoclinic
    ChemistryClassification
    Silicate
    Nature
    Natural
    Crystallinity
    Microcrystalline
    ChemistryComments
  • Serpentine optical properties

    Transparency
    Semitransparent - Opaque
    Dispersion
    OpticalComments
    RefractiveIndex
    1.56-1.57
    Tolerance:(+0.004/-0.070)
    Birefringence
    OpticCharacter
    NA
    OpticSign
    NA
    PolariscopeReaction
    Aggregate (AGG)
    Fluorescence
    SWUV: Inert to weak blue
    LWUV: Inert to weak green
    CCFReaction
    Pleochroism
    None
  • Serpentine characteristic physical properties

    Hardness
    2.5-5
    CharacteristicComments
    Streak
    White
    SpecificGravity
    2.44-2.8 Range:0.23/-0.13 Typical:2.57
    Toughness
    Poor
    Inclusions
    Stones 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.
    Luster
    Waxy
    Stability
    Fracture
    Granular, Uneven
    Cleavage
    None