Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Lizardite

(Lizardite image found on thebeautyintherocks.com)

Lizardite is a member of the Serpentine group of minerals/gemstones.  It was discovered in 1956 and was named after the place where it was found: Lizard Penninsula in Cornwall, England.  Lizardite only has a hardness of 2.5 so you do need to be very careful with it, if your intent is to make jewelry out of it pendants and earrings would be the safest choice for it as they receive the least of rough treatment.  It's colour may be green, green blue, yellow, or white and many examples may be a marbling of these colours or contain black specs of Magnetite. Lizardite is most often found as very fine-grained and massive aggregates, and only very rarely as small crystals.  Lizardite tends to be slightly opaque or translucent and has a resinous, waxy, pearly, or greasy luster.

When cutting Lizardite, it should be cut wet to prevent dust as Serpentine tends to contain asbestos.  In particular, the fibrous varieties, and although Lizardite is not one of the fibrous Serpentines caution is still advisable. 

Lizardite may be found in Argentina, the Atlantic Ocean, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo(Zaire), Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kosovo, Mongolia, Morroco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, the Pacific Ocean, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, England, Scotland, the Canadian provinces of: British Colombia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec, and the states of: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon,  Texas, Utah, and Vermont,