Seraphinite is the gemstone variety of clinochlore which is a relatively rare mineral that can only be found in one location worldwide. A member of the chlorite group, when polished it can be quite beautiful hence it's popular as a lapidary material and is highly sought after for use as a gemstone. Seraphinite is a dark green coloured stone that usually exhibits distinctive feather-like markings which are inclusions of the mineral mica. In the finest grade material the mica can be very slightly chatoyant.
Clinochlore is mined solely in Korshunovskoe which is an iron mine in Eastern Siberia. Although known about for a number of years samples only began appearing outside of Russia more recently. Both clinochlore and the gemstone seraphinite quickly attracted attention from rock and mineral enthusiasts around the world and larger quantities then slowly began being exported. Although more readily available now than it once was, larger quantities of fine grade seraphinite is still extremely difficult to find.
The name seraphinite seems to have originated from the Latin word seraphim the plural of which is seraphin. In the bible seraph which literally means "the burning one" is a heavenly or celestial being, the seraphin are said to be amongst the highest ranking order of angels. They are spoken about in both Christian and Jewish bibles as well as in other religious texts. The silvery-white inclusions of mica often radiate outwards in seraphinite which give the stone a feather-like appearance which some would say bears a resemblance to the wings of an angel. For this reason it has become closely associated with these heavenly beings but despite extensive research, we have not been able to establish exactly when the stone was given this name or by whom.
In crystal healing seraphinite is often referred to as an 'angelic stone' which can enable contact with natural spirits and non physical beings from this planet and beyond.
Despite being a popular lapidary material seraphinite is a soft and fragile stone which grades just 2 to 2½ on Mohs scale of mineral hardness. For this reason it can be challenging to cut and when used as a gemstone, it must be handled with great care.