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Serifos is one of the most famous european mineralogical localities and nowadays is still rich of minerals in good crystallisations .

Here we will describe the visit to the island of one of our group ( Bepi ) and we will give some information about the geology and mineralogy of the island.

Geographical setting

Serifos is in the Cyclades archipelago, 74 miles far from Pireo . The ferry  takes about 4 hours from Athens to the island. The mineralogical paragenesis of this island is probably  not completely known till now.

Some years ago the mining activity was the main economical source of the island. Now all the extractive activity is closed and the main economical source is the tourism. Nevertheless very numerous mines and ores are still present. Docu0012.jpg (15939 byte)

We have along the coast the ruins of the mining buildings and plants very numerous in the south western part of the island.


Perseus, the mythological hero that killed the medusa, the terrible monster with a woman face and hairs as serpents born in this island.

The medusa had the single property of transforming the men in stones with the sight.

Out of the mithology and going to the real history, the island followed the greeks in the war against the persians, several centuries before Christ . Around at 1200 ( A.C. ) the island was conquered by the venetians, subsequently, in 1537 was conquered by Turkish.

It was several times devastated by the pirates. Finally became free and annexed to the main greek country.

Geological setting

Serifos geology is rather complex: in the southern part of the island sedimentary rocks outcrop,  while in the northern part we have a granitoid batholith . All the central part of the island is crossed from one contact belt .

The largest part of the mineralisations is related with the contact between granites and sedimentary rocks .

Mineralogy and research localities

As  previously said this article refers to our experiences and therefore is not absolutely exaustive of the mineralogical characteristics and  potentialities of the island.

Remember that in Serifos to pick up and export the minerals is not allowed. serifos_map.jpg (68594 byte)To collect minerals is necessary to obtain specific authorizations, from the Greek geologic office. In our personal  case we tried, without success, to get an authorization to the search from the office of the geologic service of Athens.

Then we went to the local police office to get this authorisation, but they sent us to the municipality, where we have had a talk with the mayor who sent back us, without authorization, to the police office.

After some insistence and demonstrating our good faith we obtained a not formal authorisation to collect few minerals with the promise to show to the police all the material collected before of leaving the island.

The minerals shown in our pages have not been collected by us, but acquired from local researchers. 

Our experience.

Our experience goes back to 1994 when, one of us (Bepi) moved to the discovery of this island togheter with some other mineral collectors of the mineralogical group of Verona. A particular thanks to Roberto Gutoni, founder of this group that actively has organized this trip .

We left Italy from the Ancona harbour, in central Italy, to  Salonicco in Greece. From Salonicco we continued by car to Athens, crossing from the west to east Greece, through the beautifulst landscapes.

Athens is for the greatest part modern, but has one of the most extraordinary beauty and extremely fascinating archeological areas of the word: the Acropolis. A day has been dedicated to the visit of this unique world-wide history piece, where the western civilization was born and where still incredible masterpieces remain: the sight of the Parthenon or the Cariatidi and the Acropolis temples   are worth alone for the travel

Once taken the ferry and disembarked after a short travel to Serifos we had positive surprises (is beautifulst, the sea and the beaches are beautifulst, the country is fantastic ) wpe3.jpg (3720 byte) and. negative (is forbidden the collection of minerals AARGH!!!) .

We succeed to find in some way an agreement with the local police, like previously said,  and moved to the discovery of the mineralogical beauties of the island.

During the two weeks spent there we discovered   that Mega Livadi Docu0013.jpg (16170 byte)was the extractive center of the island, we visited some of the very numerous mines of the island: Hematite, Limonite and siderite mostly. As mineral accessories we have baryte, fluorite, malachite, goetite. The mineralogical surprises   of the island, came, from the contact belt between the granites and the embedding sedimentary rocks.  Hedembergite and hedembergitic skarn with geodes of quartz. For the inclusions of hedembergite the quartz is prasio, of several tonalities of green, more or less dark. Sometimes the prasio quartz  is associated to elegant hematite rosettes. An other mineral for which Serifos is very famous is the ilvaite, in beautiful bright black crystals well formed, of remarkable quality.

The other mineral for which the island is famous is the andradite . During our search we had the venture of finding an hill entirely constituted by  a skarn of andradite,  where all the pebbles, all the material in outcrop was shinig for the andradite crystals .

The mineral search on the island was truly much pleasant: all the mornings wake up at 7, abundant breakfast and discussion about the zones to explore.  When we were tired to look for minerals there were isolated and very nice beacheswpe2.jpg (11284 byte) where to make a restoring bath ... In the evening, tired, but satisfied, re-entry to the residence, bath in beach (beautifulst) shower and lunch in one of the many restaurants of the island where never lack some good suvlaki or some other exceptional Greek specialty. In synthesis, therefore, a visit to Serifos however is advised: if it will not be exceptional for minerals collection it will be woth however for the sea and the hospitality of the inhabitants. The possibility to find good champions is still high, but,  like already exposed previously, their export is forbidden.