Serpentine is the name used for several different aggregate structures which are usually green, yellowish green, or brownish green in color. The finer serpentine is cut as cabochons for gemstones, or carved into decorative objects. Though serpentine is sometimes confused with jade, serpentine is usually spotted or veined.
The serpentine group includes as many as 20 different members, including verdite, which is often referred to 'African jade'. All the serpentines are a basic magnesium silicate, with many containing iron as well. Other elements may also be present in small quantities, including chromium, nickel and cobalt. Serpentine varieties are found in many places in the world, including Afghanistan, Burma, China, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, UK, Greece, Italy and Norway.
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