Bowenite is a hard, compact variety of the serpentine species antigorite found in several places throughout the world, notably in Rhode Island where in 1966 it was adopted as the state mineral. Other known sources include Afghanistan, China, New Zealand, and South Africa. Low demand and low world prices have made it uneconomical to mine.

Bowenite was named by James D. Dana in 1850 for George T. Bowen, who analyzed it in 1822. It typically ranges in color from a dark forest green to a light olive green with shades approaching yellow.

Historically, deposits were discovered in very small quantities and sizes, but a larger deposit was discovered in South Africa in the latter part of 1989. The largest known artifact made of bowenite is a carving approximately 14 inches in size, which resides in the National Museum of China.

Bowenite sources in China are situated in the Soochow region, which accounts for its also being known as "Soochow jade".

In New Zealand, the Māori considered bowenite a form of pounamu along with nephrite jade, and used it for tools, weapons, and ornaments.

Bowenite has been used as a substitute for nephrite jade, and in most cases, the only way to distinguish between the two gemstones is to test the specific gravity.


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  • Bowenite — Bow en*ite, n. [From G.T. Bowen, who analyzed it in 1822.] (Min.) A hard, compact variety of serpentine found in Rhode Island. It is of a light green color and resembles jade. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bowenite — /boh euh nuyt /, n. Mineral. a compact and dense variety of green serpentine resembling jade. [1840 50; named after G. T. Bowen, 19th century American geologist; see ITE1] * * * …   Universalium

  • bowenite — noun A hard, compact variety of the serpentine species antigorite …   Wiktionary

  • bowenite — bow·en·ite …   English syllables

  • bowenite — ˈbōəˌnīt noun ( s) Etymology: G.T.Bowen, 19th century American mineralogist who analyzed it + English ite : a mineral consisting of a hard compact light green serpentine resembling nephrite (hardness 5.5 6) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Serpentine group — The serpentine group describes a group of common rock forming hydrous magnesium iron phyllosilicate ((magnesium, iron)3silicon|2oxygen|5hydroxide|4) minerals; they may contain minor amounts of other elements including chromium, manganese, cobalt… …   Wikipedia

  • Serpentine (minéral) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Serpentine. Groupe de la Serpentine (Dana) Catégorie IX : silicates[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Antigorite — Catégorie IX : silicates[1] Bowenite Général …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hei-tiki — Materials usedHei tiki are usually made of pounamu (greenstone) and worn around the neck. They are often incorrectly referred to as tiki, a term that actually refers to large human figures carved in wood, and, also, the small wooden carvings used …   Wikipedia

  • Pounamu — pendant. From space, the west coa …   Wikipedia

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