Serpentine is the name given to a subgroup of magnesium, asbestos, and silicate minerals formed in Serpentinite rock. It commonly crystallizes in the forms of masses, fibrous grains, and flat-like plates. The colors can vary from light and dark greens to brown, yellow, white, and grey. Commonly known Serpentine minerals that have been independently verified are Lizardite, Atlantisite, Greenstone, and Infinite.
Serpentine is also known for its translucent diaphaneity, waxy luster, ease of being cut into shapes, and its ability to accept a polish. These properties make it a popular gemstone architectural material, and ornamental stone. It has a Mohs hardness of 3 to 6 which is softer than granite, and usually harder than most marble.
Some specimens of serpentine have a wonderful green color, clarity, and translucence. They are easily mistaken for fine Jade by inexperienced buyers. The experienced buyer knows that Serpentine polishes to a soft waxy luster rather than a bright glassy luster. Cabochons or beads with a waxy luster are not jade -- or they are jade with a poor polishing job.
According to metaphysical beliefs, Serpentine provides a clearing of thought to better facilitate meditation.