About the Stone Seraphinite
Seraphinite is the gemstone variety of a specific type of clinochlore, a relatively rare mineral that's part of the chlorite group which can only be found in Russia. Although quite soft it's widely used as a gemstone because of its attractive feather-like white markings caused by inclusions of the mineral mica. The presence of mica in seraphinite can cause some stones to become slightly chatoyant.
The clinochlore for seraphinite comes from an iron mine in Eastern Siberia called Korshunovskoe. Although the stone was known for a number of years samples only began appearing outside of Russia more recently. It didn't take long for seraphinite to start attracting attention from rock and mineral enthusiasts around the world and larger quantities then began finding their way out of the country. Although more readily available now than it once was, large quantities of fine grade seraphinite is still difficult to find.
Origins of the Name Seraphinite
The name seraphinite seem to have come from the Latin word seraphim the plural of which is seraphin. Referenced in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and in the bible, the seraph which literally means 'the burning one' is described as a heavenly or celestial being widely thought of as a burning or flaming angel. The seraphin are said to be amongst the highest ranking order of angels. Some have a slightly different interpretation of the word and believe it may actually mean 'fiery flying serpent'. The word seraph was used by the English poet John Milton in 1667 in his epic poem Paradise Lost whose genre was Christian theology.
The silvery-white inclusions of mica often seen in seraphinite tend to radiate outwards which gives a feather-like appearance which has been likened to the the wings of an angel. For this reason stones have become closely associated with these celestial beings. In crystal healing seraphinite is often referred to as an angelic stone that can initiate contact with natural spirits and non physical beings from this planet and beyond.
Seraphinite Soft and Fragile Stone
Despite its popularity as a gemstone seraphinite is soft and fragile and grades just 2 to 2½ on Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This widely used tool measures the scratch resistance of one natural mineral against another. Being so soft makes seraphinite very difficult to work with and when mounted as jewellery it must be handled carefully.
The mineral clinochlore in the photo at the top of our page is on display in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo by Stone Mania ©. The second photo is courtesy of Stan Celestian. Both images are clickable and redirect to the original full size image.