Epidote is a hydrous calcium iron alumino-silicate of medium hardness, between 6 and 7 on Mohs’s scale, and found in distinctive yellowish-green (“pistachio”) tones that range to an almost black colour. It is a metamorphic mineral, named by Hauy in 1801 from a Greek word “epidosis” meaning “addition”, because it was found to be an additional new mineral, and not a variety of tourmaline which it sometimes resembles, and until then what it was thought to be.  Its crystals are rather interesting because what looks like the elongated upright prism is really the horizontal B axis.  So one can think of the crystals as looking like logs lying on the ground, low in height, but lengthy along their breadth.  The green colour is due to ferrous iron - which epidote from Namaqualand can contain in excess of 20%. It is found in several Namaqualand localities with the best including the old Jan Coetzee Mine, where pistachio green crystals are attractively strewn over a matrix of pink feldspar crystals, and also from near Onseepkans where good clusters are found.  A large deposit of massive epidote suitable for cabochons is reported to lie somewhere near Keimoes, where it has been called “okkolite” after the farm’s owner.  Also near Keimoes there is a deposit of unakite named after the Unaka Mountains of Tennessee.  This is an altered granite with pink feldspar where the micas and dark mafic minerals (those with magnesium and iron) have been changed to epidote, so when it is cut and polished it has an attractive mottled green and pink colour.  Epidote can also form rocks called epidosite or epidotite.  Not having seen a specimen one cannot be too sure, but it is suspected that the rock found near Isis being called “serpentinite” is epidotite. It takes a good polish through, and its colour resembles some serpentine.  Epidote is quite a popular collector’s species, and an impressive collection can be made with specimens from different localities within the Republic and Namibia.  Variations both in colour and crystal form can almost make them look like different minerals.  Try collecting a few and see for yourself. TVJ