Serpentine meaning and Serpentine properties


What can a snake and a stone have in common? Someone may answer that they are cold. And we are going to answer that both can carry stunning patterns worthy of abstract paintings. Serpentine is one of those gems clad in snakeskin, and it wears it with great dignity. If you’re considering serpentine as a stunning talisman or piece of jewelry, KenKenGems is here to help.

Serpentine meaning, crystal meaning

History and Meaning of Serpentine

Serpentine has been known since antiquity, so it is unclear where or when it was found for the first time. We know, however, that its name (which has changed a few times throughout history) is associated with serpents. It comes as no surprise since the delightful patterns of the gem resemble snakeskin.

While the inspiration for the stone's name is clear, its history is shrouded in mystery. According to one of the legends, serpentine is the petrified skin of the fiery Great Serpent who guarded the entrance to the cave of gold. It was believed that anyone who bumped into serpentine in the mountains would find a treasure.

Another legend says that Adam, tempted by the persuasion of Serpent, had a bite of an apple from the Tree of Knowledge, but he choked and spat out a piece on the ground. This piece turned to stone. Because of this myth, many people consider serpentine a stone of knowledge. At the same time, it gained a reputation as a trouble-maker.

The stone has an incredible property to split into elastic fibers akin to threads. It is known that in Kievan Rus (East Slavic State), these treads were used to produce fire-retardant fabric. Apart from that, people believed that serpentine was able to protect from snake bites.

Serpentine properties

Physico-Chemical Properties of Serpentine

Serpentine belongs to the class of hydrous magnesium silicates. The same class combines several polymorphic modifications of minerals featuring a cryptocrystalline structure and fibrous inclusions (mainly asbestos). As for admixtures, the most common ones are iron, nickel, and aluminum.

The gem offers numerous hues ranging from light green to black, which are arranged in original striped or snakeskin patterns. You can even come across yellow, bluish, white, and dark red specimens with uneven coloring, but these are rare. Most stones are either opaque or translucent, with a greasy luster (although some varieties of serpentine have a glassy or pearlescent sheen).

Serpentines may be highly magnetic due to the inclusions of magnetite.

The mineral does not have cleavage (except for antigorite), its fracture is conchoidal and uneven. Moreover, it is able to split into the finest elastic fibers. These factors complicate cutting and maintaining of the gemstone. You should treat serpentine inlays with great care – acids and even saline water can damage their surface. Besides, due to low hardness (2.5-4.0 on the Mohs scale), the stone easily acquires scratches.

Types of Serpentine

Types of Serpentine

Serpentine, as a group of minerals, has about 20 varieties. However, only three types have value in the eyes of a jeweler: antigorite, ophite, and chrysotile asbestos.

Noble serpentine, otherwise known as ophite, is a dense, slightly translucent opal-like stone of yellow-green color and a waxy sheen. Its name comes from the Greek ‘ophis’ which means snake.

Antigorite is a fibrous serpentine that can be easily split into paper-thin fragments. Its statement colors are gray, greenish-gray, or bluish-gray. The name of the mineral comes from the Antigorio Valley in Piedmont, Italy. A trigonal polymorph variety of the stone is dubbed lizardite due to the fact that it was found in the vicinity of Lizard (a village in Cornwall, UK).

Chrysotile asbestos is a mass of serpentine permeated with a network of asbestos veins. The name of the mineral has a Greek origin – the word ’crysos’ means gold and ‘tylos’ stands for fiber. Chrysotile asbestos is light green, sometimes golden, and its sheen is silky.

Serpentine Healing Properties

Serpentine Healing Properties

The healing properties of serpentine are known for centuries. Serpentine-made massage balls facilitate the healing of sprains and bruises, as well as bone splicing. It is indispensable to speed up the recovery from injuries and surgery. Contemplating serpentine is able to eliminate insomnia, depression, and nervous breakdowns. At the same time, the stone is capable of healing headaches and normalizing blood pressure.

Stoneware (bowls and mortars) crafted from the gem are used by pharmacists to prepare medicines. They noticed that drugs stored in serpentine containers possess more pronounced medicinal properties. In addition, the gem is highly valued in traditional medicine for its bactericidal properties.

Serpentines Metaphysical Properties

Serpentines Metaphysical Properties

Over the centuries, the mineral has been maintaining a reputation as a powerful talisman. It constantly tests the fortitude and stamina of its owner, and obeys only strong and ambitious individuals. If serpentine belongs to a weak or malleable person, it will bring only trouble and misfortune.

Magicians use the power of the stone to cleanse the aura of malicious energy. Serpentine favors those who, by occupation or their own vocation, strive to discover the secrets of the universe. The gem appreciates insight, wisdom, and a flexible mind, and it helps develop these aspects in the ones who possess it.

The gem is appreciated by shamans and sorcerers. It is believed that serpentine makes it possible to cast spells and bewitch a lover. At the same time, the mineral is able to protect against enemies and bring good luck.

Serpentine beads and cabochons for Sale

Serpentine for Sale

The gorgeous green stone emulating the beauty of serpent scales is always an excellent choice for your jewelry. It is eye-catching, striking, and original – with such a gem in your necklace, ring, or pin, you’ll command attention wherever you go. If you’re looking for stunning serpentine stones, KenKenGems is the right place to be. We have a generous serpentine jewelry supply including strands, individual stones, and sets featuring beautiful cuts and a variety of colors. Every single stone purchased from us is a little marvel, and it’s affordably priced. So, don’t hesitate to check out what we have to offer – we are looking forward to serving all your gemstone supply needs to a T.

Serpentine for jewelry making


Serpentine Beads and Cabochons for Jewelry Making