Serpentine is a translucent to semi-translucent green gem and its similarity to jade has often resulted in its misrepresentation. However, it isn't as hardy as jade and thin pieces may break or chip easily at the corners. Its color range is between light green to dark green with very strong yellow undertones. The rare types of serpentine, such as ‘williamsite' are darker in color, holding a very dark green hue and they have tiny black flecks that mark them. Williamsite is often presented as ‘ Pennsylvania jade' and another type of serpentine, called ‘bowenite' is called ‘Korean' jade or other misnomers.
The general mythology about the gem circulated around its distinctive mottled markings that resemble the skin of a snake and it was believed to protect the wearer from snake venom and other types of poison. It is relatively inexpensive and can be found in very big pieces, allowing it to be used to cover surfaces of household furniture or decorations.