The serpentine group of sheet silicates is called that because most of the examples have a green, patterned appearance. The recognized varieties are antigorite, lizardite, and chrysotile. It is very difficult to tell them apart without using x-ray and miscroscope equipment.
It is not known why the serpentine varieties differ in appearance. Reasons may be impurities, pressure and temperature when they were formed, minerals present, the water content, and so on.
Fibrous serpentine is used to make asbestos fabric and making fire brick.