Red and Green Serpentine Enlarge
July 1. 1807. Publish’d by Ja.s Sowerby London.
British Mineralogy
CCXXI
Silex steatites; var. induratum

Red and Green Serpentine

  • Class 2. Earths.
  • Order 1. Homogeneous.
  • Gen. 4. Silex.
  • Spec. 13. Steatites.
  • Div. 3. Amorphous.

I do not much admire the name Serpentine, nor do I think it very appropriate to this substance, and it has indeed been the cause of much confusion, as different states of Jade, Asbestos, and Actynolite have been mistaken for it. I should rather consider this substance (which has generally been called Serpentine) as a variety of Steatite more or less veined with the help of Oxide of Iron, often red, and of the colour of brown Bricks, as in some parts near the Lizard Point, and Kynance Cove, where the rocks are massive, and of a dark green on the outside, but when broken look within of a brick-red, and the varieties found about the Lizard Point are veined with red and different greens. The upper specimen was obtained from thence by favour of my kind friend P. Rashleigh, Esq. and is chiefly green veined with red and a bright silky red interspersed, which is reckoned rather rare. There are also bright plates of a substance about it which is considered by some as a sort of crystallization of the Serpentine, and is called by the general name of Schillerspar. The lower specimen is such as is found at the Lizard, Portsoy 3 or in Wales, and is in part approaching Jade*, but is much softer. This and its varieties often include the silky Asbestos; — see tab, 123.

  • * Jade is hard and tough, or it would not answer the purpose of Hatchets to the New Zealanders.
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