Almost everyone knows the story of Alexanderite and its connection to the Russian Zars and the rarity of the gemstone. Alexandrite was originally discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1830 and named after the boy Czar, Alexander ll. But few seem to be aware of another spectactular Russian gemstone. It is a commonly known Mineral Specimen stone due to its softness, but few realize it can also be a fantastic jewelry gemstone.
Seraphinite is a lovely dark-green stone that changes its sparkle and coloration as you view it from different positions. It comes from the mine “Korshunovskaia” which is situated not far from Baikal Lake in Eastern Siberia, Russia, near the same area where Chrome Diopsite and Charoite are mined. Seraphinite forms through the metamorphic and hydrothermal alterations of other iron and magnesium silicate minerals. It crystalizes in the form of foliated or granular masses and also as tabular crystals. It has a hardness is 2 – 2,5 (Moh’s Scale), density of 2,6, and a Chemical formula H8 Mg5 Al2 Si3 O18.
Seraphinite is the gem quality variety of Clinochlore. Clinochlore was found by the Russian mineralogist Nikolai I. Koksharov (1818 – 1892) who was once the director of the Russian Imperial Mineralogical Society. This mineral got its name from the Greek words for inclined and green since its structure is monoclinic and its common color is green.
There is a common opinion that seraphinite can be used only as a mineral specimen, because of its softness. But Seraphinite looks great in jewelry and can keep a polish/shine quite well, and it is not as fragile as it appears. But because of its softness it can easily be formed into beads of all shapes and sizes.
Seraphinite definitely looks best mounted in Platinum, White Gold or Silver. It can be mounted in rings, but greatly discouraged because it can be so easily damaged due to its softness.
A good pendant or earring mounting is best for protecting the cut and polished Seraphinite stones.
In the past several years, a variety of Clinochlore has been found in the West Chester area of Pennsylvania. Many call it Seraphinite because of the close resemblance to the Russian material.