Serpentine

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Chemical composition -- Hydrated magnesium silicate. Serpentine is actually a group of three minerals having the same chemical composition but varying physical and optical properties: bowenite (antigorite), lizardite, and chrysotile (asbestos).

Color -- White, yellow, green, brown.

Optics -- R.I. 1.53-1.57.

Durability -- Hardness 2.5, except for bowenite, 4-6.

Crystal structure -- Monoclinic (massive and fibrous -- never found in crystals).

Specific Gravity-- 2.44-2.62.

Sources -- England, China, the U.S., New Zealand.

Serpentine is mostly used in carvings as a substitute for nephrite jade, for which it is sometimes mistaken.

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