Materials: Noble Serpentine
GPS: Typically I list the locations GPS here but since this location is on private land and the times in which it’s open to the public to dig can vary I suggest you visit the website the owner has setup for the latest opening dates and times. You can visit his site www.washingtonrocks.net
Tools: You will want some hard rock tools for this location. Bucket, 3lb hand sledge, and a chisel.
Date Visited: May and October 2021
May 2022 and October 2022
Additional comments: I really like this material, I find it to be very easy to work with and quite unique.
Any Location Updates Since Visit: I added information about the chrysotile found on site as well as the magnesiochromite.
The diversity of colors coming out of this mine is impressive!
After much research on these black spots you will see on the material I believe the most likely candidate for the species at hand would be a low grade of magnesiochromite. The color, hardness, lustre and geology all match up.
Some shots of the magnesiochromite under the microscope.
Let’s address the white material shown on this Serpentine, this material is Chrysotile or white Asbestos, this is the most common form of asbestos. Chrysotile has been included with other forms of asbestos in being classified as a human carcinogen by the IARC and by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These state that “Asbestos exposure is associated with parenchymal asbestosis, asbestos-related pleural abnormalities, peritoneal mesothelioma, and lung cancer, and it may be associated with cancer at some extra-thoracic sites”.
That said I feel like this material can still be safely collected, handled, cut, and polished if you use proper procedures but you can be the judge of that.
The color seen below is potentially blue copper sulfate.