VERDITE derives its name from the Latin VERDE and the Greek LITHOS meaning Green Stone.

Verdite is the light to dark-green metamorphic rock made up of Fuchsite and fine grain clay. Fuchsite is the green variety of muscovite which is part of the mica mineral group. This make Verdite a close relation to Lepidolite, Biotite and Buddstone (the so-called African Jade).

Verdite sometimes is also sold as African Jade. What distinguishes Verdite from Jade is their hardness level on the Mohs scale. Jade has a hardness ranging from 6 to 7 while Verdite's is 3.

Verdite occurs in a monoclinic crystal structure. It is translucent to opaque with a glass-like, silky, pearly luster. It also occurs with a perfect cleavage. As Verdite is a rock and not a mineral, it lacks a definite chemical composition.

Verdite has been known by South African people from ancient past; however, it was first discovered in the gold country of the North Kaap River, South Africa.

The green color of Verdite is the result of traces of chromium found in it. Depending on this chromium content, Verdite can be light or dark green. It can also be yellowish-green, bluish-green or brownish. It often has spots or a swirled appearance. Verdite is known to display inclusions of Rutile, Ruby, Sapphire, Diaspore, Quartz and Tourmaline.

Verdite looks similar to Serpentine. However, the difference is in their refractive index. Verdite refractive index, for example, is 1.580 whereas Serpentine refractive index ranges from 1.560 to 1.571.

Verdite is not usually treated or enhanced in any way.

The Shona people of Zimbabwe say that Verdite has the ability to promote fertility and fidelity. This makes it a stone for lovers.

Verdite is connected with power, wisdom, truth and reliability. It is also associated with decision making, wealth (like most green gemstones are), and psychic healing. Verdite is also believed to benefit the lungs, endocrine system and the thymus gland.

Verdite is not a well-known gemstone. In South Africa, you will find it fashioned into native African animals, sculpture with human forms and it is even made into fetishes and amulets. It is often used in tribal-style beads or wire-wrapping style bracelets, earrings and pendants.

Verdite is usually cut into cabochons, beads and spheres. It is also tumbled but rarely faceted.

Since Verdite has a hardness of 3, it is most often carved and used for inlay work. For example, the interior of the Bank of England and South Africa House in London is inlaid with Verdite.

Verdite can easily be scratched by other harder gemstones. The simple act of cleaning it with a cloth may cause scratches as household dust contains quartz which has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale; Verdite on the other hand, is a very soft gemstone.

Clean Verdite with mild soapy water and a soft cloth. Remember to rinse well in order to remove the soapy residue.

Verdite deposits are only found in Zimbabwe and in the Transvaal region of South Africa.