Serpentine is a rock formed from already existing rocks. It is a hydrated magnesium silicate (Mg6Si4O10(OH)8). Strictly serpentine is the mineral, while the rocks formed by it are serpentinite. Serpentine (the stone) appears in different colours and structures (banded, blotchy, streaked or veined). Three forms are used very often in Ancient Egypt: 1. green or grey serpentine with blacks veins, 2. translucent green serpentine with black patches, 3. granular black serpentine with grey or brown granules.
The ancient Egyptian name for the stone may be shrt.
Copyright © 2002 University College London. All rights reserved.