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Seraphinite apparently acquired its name due to its resemblance to feathers, such as one might find on a bird's wing. With some specimens the resemblance is quite strong, with shorter down-like feathery growths leading into longer "flight feathers"; the resemblance even spurs fanciful marketing phrases like "silver plume seraphinite." Seraphinite is generally dark green to gray in color, has chatoyancy, and has hardness between 2 and 4 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
Seraphinite is mined in a limited area of eastern Siberia in Russia. Russian mineralogist Nikolay Koksharov (1818-1892 or 1893) is often credited with its discovery. It occurs in the Korshunovskoye iron skarn deposit in the Irkutskaya Oblast of Eastern Siberia.
The word seraph is from Isaiah 6 in the Hebrew Testament, and refers to winged angelic beings in service of God.