Serpentine is a general name for a certain group of magnesium silicate minerals that are available in varying structures. With the same chemical formula, X2-3Si2O5(OH)4, these minerals are not normally differentiated unless for the purposes of scientific studies. Chemically, the minerals are composed of silicate of magnesium, zinc, iron, nickel, aluminum, and manganese. There are some variants that do not contain hydroxyl, instead, they contain water. The mineral gemstones are normally available in a wide range of colors such as black, brown, gray, green, yellow, white, and purple. Some compositions have multiple colors but they all have a white stripe that courses through.
Belonging to the family of silicates, these minerals normally form in metamorphic rocks in various environments. With some deposits forming crystals in hexagonal and triclinic systems, Serpentine generally sets in a monoclinic system with various forms and aggregates such as nepouite, fraipontite, cronstedtite, antigorite, and clinochrysotile. The minerals occur in various forms such as fibrous, massive, broad, columnar, botryoidal, earthy, pyramid-like, and fibrous veins. It is mainly curved when it forms as fibrous veins but there are some that are straight. This family of gemstones usually has an indiscernible cleavage.
This stone is rarely transparent but can be opaque or translucent with greasy, waxy or glossy luster. On the Mohs scale, it obtains a hardness of 2-5 and a specific gravity of 2.5 – 3.2. Serpentine that forms as a fibrous substance is normally elastic and flexible while the rest are inflexible. With an optical character of Biaxial, Serpentine does not display any pleochroism and dispersion but it have a double refraction of 0.008 to 0.014 and a refractive index of 1.560 to 1.571.
Imbued with numerous energies and properties, Serpentine is highly valued both in antiquity and in the modern world. Certain forms can be cut, polished and used as materials for the production of various items such as jewelry, carved images, vessels, cups, decorative ornaments and others. Amulets worn as pendants were created with this stone because these stones were believed to possess a strong energy that offered protection to the wearer. Serpentine was used as snake poison antidote due to its resemblance in color and appearance with the skin of snakes. Renowned as a defender stone, people collect and keep this stone around their house for protection against negative forces.