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Well once again I was temporarily stumped on the why of commercial renaming of gems and minerals. Today I am writing about Chrysotile. It will be rare, but not impossible, across the web to find it named as such though. Now, if I said Green Zebra Jasper, or Lizard Skin Jasper, or Dragons Scale Stone, it might ring a bell. Do I hear a hmmmmm, followed up by a heavy sigh… and then a really?

Well, yes. And after doing some research, I think I understand the why on this one. Would you buy something that had asbestos in it? Mmmmm, probably not. And while I am showing it, I am opting to NOT sell it. While I have not found evidence of health risks from just handling the tumbled stones, for those who like to plop them in water and drink it, well hey, I am not going to contribute to that. I have no clue how harmful it may or may not be. After all, at one point we didn’t understand how harmful those ceiling tiles or brake linings would be. I just can NOT go there with this one.

The one characteristic I noticed when first unpacking these was how the white stripes didn’t polish up. I thought it was kind of cool. Nice tactile difference between the green and the white. Loved the patterns. I was a bit curious as to what made up the white powdery stuff that I could easily rub off (noticeable in the photo).

As I started to read about the actual make up, I got up, washed my hands and sealed the bag up. Now I am trying to figure out what to do with the kilo of them sitting on my back porch.

The Crystal System

Chrysotile has a monoclinic crystal system and is a member of the Serpentine Group. Ahhh, there’s where the green coloring comes from! It is VERY soft at 2.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale. While some of what is on the market right now comes from Poland, most is coming from mines in Quebec, Canada.

I think in our quests for new and unique gems to work with, knowledge is our best friend. It saddens me that the marketplace seems flooded with quite a bit of this one. It seems to me this is one that should come with a disclaimer of some sort. People really do not know or understand what they are purchasing.

So, MY best advice? If you want a great stone for working with the Crown or Heart Chakra, it is my personal opinion that you could make much wiser choices than this particular one. Like a straight up Serpentine, no asbestos and all the love! Again, while I could not find specific medical findings, it does not mean that there are not adverse effects. So, why chance it?

Posted by Gemstoner

Hi there! I'm the owner of Howl at the Moon Gems. I have been infatuated with crystals and gems since I was a child when my maternal grandfather was my first teacher of the natural world. He taught me a lot of the old ways as to uses of herbs, purposes of tree woods, and gave me my first unofficial stone classes. A lot of time has passed since those early days ... and, while I have learned much, I am still learning.

5 Comments - Chrysotile

Anonymous (not verified) October 22, 2018

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Anonymous (not verified) December 14, 2018

There is no danger in handling polished gemstones than contain asbestos minerals. Tiger eye, pietersite, serpentine, nephrite....all are used in jewelry. The danger is in BREATHING the powdered mineral. Most lapidary work is done with water anyway. You should never cut or polish thesse minerals dry, so you could have a warning on your tiger eye listings to let people know not to grind it up and inhale it. :
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R. Zattau (not verified) May 11, 2019

Tigers eye is a form of metamorphic asbestos that is no longer asbestos. Safe to handle. Chrysotile serpentine is probably not real safe to do much with as the asbestos found in the veins is still asbestos and not the metamorphosis tigers eye type. I have a nice sized piece as a specimen and have no plans of trying to cut polish or sell it.
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Gemstoner December 26, 2019

You would be correct. In the case of what I had received, the asbestos was not polished and did powder off in my hand just in holding them.
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Kerry Caffery (not verified) November 07, 2020

Thanks for your accurate information. Just an addition to the "trade names" you mentioned. I had heard of Lizard Skin Jasper before, but the main name I see it advertised as and have bought it as is "Swiss Opal" or "Swiss Green Opal". Being sceptical about the Opal label I've researched and come up with the same information as yours. NB There is a genuine "Green Opal" but it looks vastly different to the Chrysotile.
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