Also called ophite or ophiolite, serpentine stone is often difficult to identify as it comes in many colours and varieties: it is commonly found in olive but also exists in red, light green, forest green, yellow, black and white. For this reason, its name is often used mistakenly in 19th and 20th century literature. It is the result of volcanic activity on the seabed and peridotite in the ground. Its hardness varies greatly, between 2.2 and 4. This amazing mineral is primarily found in the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, the United States, Zimbabwe and Norway. The word serpentine comes from the most prevalent aspect of this mineral: rough and scaly with an olive hue reminiscent of the reptile’s colour. In Latin, serpentine means serpent rock, and its other name, ophite, comes from the Greek ‘ophidis’ meaning snake. Serpentine stone has been used throughout the ages by ancient civilisations as much for its decorative virtues as for its medicinal virtues: the Assyrians, Persians, Sumerians and Egyptians used its polished surface to make seals and stamps. The ore, covered with oil after being smoothed with an abrasive material offers no grip to wax, water or clay. It was known previously during the Neolithic period to the 6th century BC as prehistoric man made long decorative axe blades made of serpentine for celebrations.
To the Romans, serpentine was primarily used as decoration. They also often shaped it into vases or glasses as they believed it broke on contact with the poison. In Italy, from antiquity to the Middle Ages, sorcerers believed that it helped to heal snake bites simply through contact with the wound. This is why some believe this is the true origin of the word. Remedies of all kinds were often kept in serpentinite pots, as it was believed to improve its quality. In New Zealand, the Maori maintain the ancestral tradition of making each jewel with serpentine. They appreciate its transparency and equate it with the petrified tears of a woman. Elsewhere around the globe, the city of Bhera in India has long been renowned for its pure and perfectly cut serpentines. Locals made all kinds of objects: jewellery, handles of swords and daggers, small statues, utensils such as cups and cutlery… ‘False jade’ is the name that English colonialists gave it due to its resemblance to the piedra de ijada. As for the Indians, they named it Sang-i-Yashm: a name which it still bears in Afghanistan. In the United States, in the state of California, ophidis was considered the official stone though it has now been prohibited due to asbestos present in chrysotile. Some types of these olive minerals, as in the Limousin region, are today used in their polished or rough form to create clean-lined jewellery They are appreciated as much for their decorative virtues as for their therapeutic virtues. There are several deposit regions in France, notably in Vendée, Aveyron, Isère, Haute-Vienne as well as Limousin and its moors. Ore is widespread throughout the Earth’s mantle, in layers of various depths.
Serpentine stone contains more than twenty minerals from the silicate group. It is therefore not a sole mineral but a collection, and each is particularly present in minerals rich in aluminium, nickel, zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron hydroxide. They are generally rather difficult to identify as they separate themselves into micro crystals. The mineral is formed as a result of the interaction between water and peridotite constituting the first 400 kilometres of the Earth’s mantle. This rock is polymorphic, i.e. it comes in several different forms, and the most common are three: chrysotile, which contains asbestos, lizardite found in surface layers, and antigorite, made up of 13% water. The rock that corresponds to ophidis is called serpentinite. It often contains fibres of toxic metals such as asbestos, which is carcinogenic and harmful to the environment. It is often confused mistaken for citrine. Antigorite gems are very finely cut. They are then used ornamentally to adorn jewellery. Translucent in appearance, they are highly valued for their purity. They also intrigue sculptors who model them into small statues. Often tinted, serpentinites mimic natural jade. This material is very heat resistant and often acts as an insulator. It also has many virtues in litho therapy as a healing stone.
This olive-coloured mineral has many effects whether psychologically, spiritually or physically. It has protective virtues, both on the body and on the mind, against harmful waves as well as worries. It helps to relax and calm one’s mind, while helping it to focus by moving beyond daily concerns. It opens the mind and directs healing energy to specific points in the body. Serpentine stone also relieves stress, especially that which is caused by travel. It relaxes anger and soothes tensions so that one feels a deep inner stillness. It also boosts confidence and helps its owner feel truly in control of their path and destiny. It purifies the chakras and particularly works on the crown chakra. It is highly valued for work on the chakras as it aids in the acquisition of wisdom and in spirituality, the reaching of a higher level. Meditating with serpentine helps us better understand our natural bonds with the earth. It is a mineral that is greatly appreciated by environmental activists and by those who love animals. In short:
The primary physical virtue of serpentine stone is to prevent headaches. It soothes tension and relaxes the mind after a confrontation, stress or anxiety. It also has recognised healing effects, both at the cardiac and digestive levels. It also promotes the secretions of glands if they do not work well. This mineral, widely used in litho therapy, has also been proven to ease muscle tension. Three varieties of serpentine stand out and are very effective in litho therapy: silver eye, serpentine jade and light serpentine.
Widely recognised poison resistive virtues, it also achieves spectacular results in case of constipation, bowel disorders or for varying blood pressure. Along with serpentine, it is effective against skin conditions. This mineral containing silicate aids concentration and reduces stress, keeping only positive energies.
It is often used as a jewel and provides relief from skin conditions, such as skin irritations. It also affects the nervous and cardiac systems and eases nervousness. Wearing serpentine is recommended for runny noses and for jolting those who are under intense states of fatigue.
A very soft version of the serpentine, it encourages calm and compassion as well as forgiveness for oneself and others. It helps one to calm down enough to work on lifelong traumas. Those who have medium talents use it on a regular basis and suggest that it allows access to past and future lives. This spiritual mineral, along with silver eye, is often used during meditation sessions. Rich in magnesium, it achieves excellent results at reducing headaches and can work on points throughout the body. It is also known for giving energy to those in a state of deep fatigue. It strengthens the entire nervous system and improves the functioning of areas of the body such as the liver, lungs, and cardiac system.