AMIANTHUS, a corruption of amiantus (Gr. ἀμίαντος, undefiled), a name applied to the finer kinds of asbestos (q.v.), in consequence, it is said, of the mineral being unaffected by fire. Some of the finest amianthus, with long silky flexible fibres, occurs in the district of the Tarentaise in Savoy. According to Dr J. W. Evans, the ancient amianthus, derived mostly from Karystos in Euboea and from Cyprus, was probably a fibrous serpentine, or chrysotile (now called locally παμπακόπετρα, or cotton-stone).

See Mineralogical Mag. (London) vol. xiv. no. 65 (1906), art. by J. W. Evans.