Serpentine is not a single crystal gem, but a rock-forming mineral group. The name may derive from the Latin serpentinus due to its scaly appearance and green color. Serpentine is often carved as objets d’art or made into beads. It has been used to imitate nephrite.

Gemological Information for Serpentine

Color:Yellow to Yellow Green, Brown
Crystal Structure:Monoclinic
Refractive Index:1.56 to 1.570
Hardness:2.5 to 6
Similar Stones:Chalcedony, Nephrite, Variscite, Green Turquoise, Jadeite
Treatments:Dyeing, Wax Impregnation
Country of Origin:China, South Africa, U.S.

Serpentine Care

Ultrasonic Cleaning:Never
Steam Cleaning:Risky
Warm Soapy Water:Safe
Chemical Attack:Affected by Hydrochloric and Sulfuric Acid
Light Sensitivity:Stable
Heat Sensitivity:May Fuse Under a Jeweler's Troch.


  • Gem Reference Guide, Los Angeles: Gemological Institute of America, 1988. Pp. 210-211.
  • Newman, Harold. An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, New York: Thames and Hudson, 1981. Pp. 275.
  • Schumann, Walter. Gemstones of the World, New York: Sterling Publishing, Co., 1977. Pp. 116.