Black "Jade" Meaning and Properties

Black "Jade" History

Black "jade" is actually grey serpentine that's been dyed to have black jadeite's beauty, without its cost. Serpentine is commonly green and was likely named for its similarity to snakeskin. This stone is similar to asbestos, however, its alternative crystalline structure makes it safe to use and wear, even though it retains some of the fire-resistant properties of the more dangerous material. In the 1800s, scientists discovered serpentine's fire-resistance and urged its use in manufacturing in textiles and home d├ęcor items.

Some serpentine, regardless of color, contains magnetite or lodestone, making it slightly magnetic. Other types may exhibit areas of chatoyancy. Non-magnetic forms are commonly used in home furnishings.

Black "Jade" Metaphysical Properties

Serpentine was used by the Romans for protection against the evil eye and ill-wishing, sometimes carving drinking glasses out of the stone due to its reputation for shattering when touched with poison. During the Middle Ages, medicines were stored in containers of serpentine to preserve or increase their healing powers. In ancient American cultures, serpentine was viewed as a protective stone.

The green version of serpentine is assigned to the zodiac sign Gemini, although it is not a formal birthstone, and commonly used for the fourth (or heart) chakra.

Black "Jade" Geological Properties

Most Serpentine stones are opaque to translucent, yet fairly light. Luster varies, from greasy to waxy to silky, and this gemstone is known to be susceptible to acids.

Serpentine is found in southwest Africa, India, China, Italy and the United States.

Mineral Information Silicate, sub class phyllosilicate, serpentine group
Chemical Composition Mg6(OH)8(Si4O10)
Color Black
Hardness 3 to 4-1/2 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.65
Refractive Index 2.2 - 2.6

Proper Care of Black "Jade"

Serpentines like black "jade" can be rather soft and fragile stones, susceptible to acids. For some jewelry wearers, that includes their own perspiration. Clean serpentine jewelry using a soft cloth and warm water, without immersing. Avoid all household cleaners and remove before physical activity.

To learn more about black "jade" and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Black "Jade"

Since serpentines like black "jade" are soft stones, they last longer when used in jewelry that's not going to be knocked about. Savvy designers limit this stone's use to necklaces, earrings and hair jewelry, avoiding use in bracelets, rings and anklets due to the likelihood of damage. Due to its possible magnetic nature, designers are advised to not use this stone anywhere near credit cards, pacemakers or other magnet-sensitive items.

Colorwise, of course, there are no limits to black "jade" use--this is one of the perfect neutrals.

View design inspirations featuring black ''jade'' in the Gallery of Designs

Shop for Black "Jade" Items

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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