Verdite is a green semi-precious gemstone mostly made up of fuchsite. Hailing from the North Kaap River, these South African gemstones are prized in many local cultures for medicinal and decorative use.
The gem isn’t a mineral but a rock, so its composition changes slightly from one stone to the next. However, it’s always dominated by the chromium-rich muscovite mineral fuchsite.
Important note: The name “verdite” is a trade name that’s also used for a serpentine variety, which is not the stone we’ll be discussing today.
Today, we’ll fill you in on the rich history, symbolism, healing powers, and beautiful design potential of verdite gemstones!
The gemstone, Verdite, can display multiple green shades, including blue-green, brownish-green, and grayish-green. One moniker for the stone is “Africa’s green gold,” as it commonly has brown striations (grooves along its surface).
Verdite isn’t a birthstone, but you can use it as a more affordable alternative to the similar-looking jade. Jade is the mystical March birthstone, along with the traditional 12th wedding anniversary gemstone.
Anyone born under Pisces can also use verdite as a lucky zodiac stone!
Since verdite is a rock, it contains multiple minerals. What minerals are in verdite?
The main mineral is fuchsite, but other minerals that can be in verdite include quartz, diaspore, rutile, albite, talc, chlorite, and corundum minerals like sapphire and ruby.
Verdite’s composition is typically either 1) fuchsite crystals intermixed into fine-grained mica minerals, or 2) almost entirely fuchsite. With either composition, small amounts of various minerals may be present as well.
The stone’s texture is foliated (stacks of thin layers) but uniform throughout.
The list below has the remaining verdite stone properties:
Mohs hardness: 3-4; Usually 3, but varies with composition
Color: Shades of green; Can have yellow, brown, red, and/or blue swirls or spots
Crystal structure: Amorphous (crystals inside are monoclinic)
Luster: Vitreous, silky, or pearly
Transparency: Opaque; Rarely translucent
Refractive index: 1.58
Cleavage: Excellent or perfect (along foliation planes)
Luminescence: Occasionally fluorescent in some portions - lime green in LW-UV
Among similar-looking green gems, how do you identify verdite?
Pictured above: Green aventurine cabochon
There are a lot of green gemstones, so identifying each one can be tricky. Below, we’ll highlight stones commonly confused for verdite and how you can tell them apart.
Serpentine vs. Verdite: The serpentine variety sometimes called “verdite” can make distinguishing these two even trickier, but don’t fret! Using a refractometer, you’ll know the stone is serpentine if its refractive index is 1.57 or lower, since verdite’s refractive index is 1.58.
Buddstone vs. Verdite: Many people call verdite “buddstone,” but buddstone is actually a green chalcedony variety. It’s also colored by fuchsite and often found alongside verdite. However, buddstone has a higher hardness of 7.
Green aventurine vs. Verdite: Green aventurine is another chalcedony variety (like buddstone) but mixed with feldspar. Besides aventurine’s higher hardness of 6.5-7, it’s also set apart by its metallic glittering surface (aventurescence).
Jade vs. Verdite: Many sellers market verdite as “African jade,” making these two even more commonly mixed up. However, both jadeite and nephrite jade have higher hardness rankings (6.5-7 and 6-6.5, respectively).
You know how to identify the stone, but what should you know about the verdite stone meaning?
The name “verdite” comes from the Latin viridis, meaning “green,” after the stone’s coloring. Pretty straightforward, right?
Verdite stones symbolize health, wisdom, and power. Some consider this gem lucky for authors and academics.
Though the exact date of verdite’s discovery is uncertain, the location is. Verdite first came from areas with gold deposits in South Africa’s North Kaap River.
In Zimbabwe, the native Shona tribes interpret verdite’s spiritual meaning as a powerful conduit for ensuring faithfulness and improving fertility. South African tribes have created verdite carvings and talismans for centuries, incorporating it into their culture.
Outside of South Africa, what is verdite used for? Throughout its history, verdite stone sculptures and decor have been the stone’s staple — and they still are! The UK has created stunning verdite wall tiles and trim in London’s South Africa House and the Bank of England.
Speaking of uses, what does verdite do spiritually?
The coloring and cultural significance of verdite make it a powerful yet widely unknown healing stone. Along with other green gemstones, green verdite can connect you to nature, promote balance, and increase self-respect.
Green stones are also great heart chakra stones, though verdite chakra healing works for all seven chakras!
What are the physical and emotional verdite stone benefits?
Verdites stones are believed to support healthy functioning in the respiratory system (breathing), circulatory system (blood), and reproductive system. Other areas it may benefit are the hands and skin.
Some crystal healers use verdite as an antidote for intoxication of any kind, as they believe the stone increases oxygen flow through the body. Additionally, some say verdite helps with headaches, vertigo, and dizziness.
Emotionally, verdite is thought to empower your confidence, bringing out your best qualities while dampening less beneficial traits. The stone can also improve your emotional fortitude, promote honesty, and improve memory.
While it’s certainly valuable for healing, is verdite a valuable stone in general? To answer that, let’s break down what goes into verdite’s value.
Most gemstones’ quality comes from evaluating their specific gemstone properties, or value factors. Verdite is a little different as a rock, but there are similar categories that influence its value: color, cut, and clarity.
Verdite’s green hue can be pale, medium, or deep green. It may also mix with yellow, blue, or brown. Most stones have swirled, spotted, or mottled patterns, often in white or shades of brown. The most valuable ones have saturated green coloring.
The chromium in fuchsite lends verdite its green hues, with higher amounts of chromium creating more intense greens. Other minerals can cause other colors, like red from ruby, blue from sapphire, or golden-yellow from rutile.
At a 3-4 hardness, faceting verdite is difficult, and thus a rare occurrence. More often, the gem becomes cabochons, tumbled stones, beads, spheres, and of course, carvings.
In fact, the stone’s softness (and consistent texture) makes verdite carvings easier to create. Many African verdite art pieces are figurines of animals and people.
Similarly, much of the verdite jewelry on the market has a South African or tribal-style look, emulating the stone’s origins.
Since verdite is almost always opaque, it doesn’t have a colored gemstone clarity grade. However, the fundamental aspect of clarity (inclusions) still impacts verdite’s appearance.
You know which minerals can be in verdite, but some may be more obvious than others. Typically, these include sapphire, ruby, quartz, rutile, and pale-colored tourmaline.
Speaking of its source, where does verdite come from? And how does it form?
Verdite is a metamorphic rock, so it forms when changing temperature and pressure alters various sedimentary and igneous rocks in the Earth’s crust.
More specifically, temperature and pressure increase and large masses of rock form. This process is called regional metamorphism. For verdite, the conditions involve fairly low temperatures (300–450 °C), moderate pressure, and a chromium-rich environment.
Fuchsite and other mica minerals inside clump into tiny aggregates. If the proper elements are present, the heat and pressure will allow new crystals like ruby to form.
As far as age, many verdite specimens are 2,500-4,000 million years old!
The number-one source for verdite stones is Zimbabwe. However, other areas in South Africa also contain deposits, like Eswatini (formerly Swaziland in English) and the Transvaal region.
First and foremost, is verdite expensive? Because verdite’s exclusive locale means it will only get rarer over time, its price could increase.
However, verdite prices are currently quite affordable! Nearly all standard cuts and rough specimens are under $1 per carat. Jewelry like a beaded zoisite bracelet is usually $5-$20, depending on the strand length and bead size.
At wholesale, verdite cabochons range from $0.15-$1.15 per carat. Rough specimens around 30-40 carats will usually fetch $0.50-$0.75 per carat ($20-$30 each).
Carving and sculpture prices can range based on the level of craftsmanship required.
Our verdite carvings here at Gem Rock Auctions typically range from $0.03-$0.08 per carat for pieces around 300 to 1,500 carats! That means most carvings are available for $25-$40 each.
You have to be patient and cautious when caring for gemstones as soft as verdite. Since it’s largely mica minerals, scratching or nicking the stone can cause flaking, not to mention visible scratches.
The safest jewelry options are earrings or necklaces, particularly those with wire-wrapping or protective settings.
Most dust has quartz, with a hardness of 7, so wiping the stone with a dusty cloth can potentially leave scratches.
To safely clean verdite, find a soft cloth that’s completely clean of dust or debris. Dip the cloth in a solution of warm water and mild soap, then carefully use it to rub the stone. Once you’re done, rinse away any soap residue and leave the stone to air-dry.
Keep your verdite gemstone away from:
Harsh chemicals (e.g. cleaning products)
Steam or ultrasonic cleaners
Remember to take off your verdite jewelry before you clean or exercise. Keep your stone by itself in a fabric-lined box or velvet pouch.
If you have an earthy vibe, bohemian style, or neutral aesthetic, verdite is the gem for you. The green, white, and brown hues make verdite jewelry adaptable to anyone, regardless of gender.
The multitude of minerals in verdite stones mean they aren’t just one thing, but neither are you! Besides its metaphysical benefits for boosting confidence and fostering your talents, verdite can also help you find your purpose by reminding you what makes you unique.
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