Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 825

Corsi 825, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 825  
Name and quarry location: Granito verde della Sedia di San Lorenzo, from Wadi Umm Wikala, near Wadi Semna, Eastern Desert. Egypt  
Geological description: Fine to medium-grained gabbro or metagabbro (weakly metamorphosed) with some alteration of the green augite to brown?  
Comments: This sample is so-named because it was used for inlays in the decorative panels of the throne in the church of San Lorenzo in Rome. Like the other varieties of gabbro from this locality (nos. 821,822, 828) it has also been known as ofite because it was thought to come from Mons Ophyates (Wadi Semna). Others have suggested the name comes from 'ophytes' meaning snake, because it was used in Hellenistic times for amulets to ward of the effects of snake bites, a superstition that persisted in Roman times. Granito della Sedia di San Lorenzo comes from Precambrian basement rocks at Wadi Umm Wikala.  
References: Borghini (1997) 232-233; Corsi (1845) 210-211, 217-218; Harrell (2010a); Lazzarini (2002c) 237-238; Mielsch (1985) 69, taf.24; Price (2007) 231  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 16. Granites; i. Antique granite  
Corsi's text: 205.13 Granito antico. Marmor Syenite. Marmo Sienite... [trovata] presso la città di Siene sul confine fra Egitto, e l'Etiopia... Pyrrhopoecilon... Psaronion...Aethiopicum perchè... era Siene sul confine dell' Etiopia.  

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