Peridotite is the main component of the Valmalenco serpentinites. Numerous varieties of Serpentino are quarried from a rocky plateau spanning some 170 km2 at the surface and running approx. 1-2 km deep, which is almost entirely contained within the Valmalenco valley. Even to the naked eye the rock seems to be squashed, as if it had been laminated. This unique characteristic, called schistosity, is the end result of mechanical deformations and other stresses to which several cubic kilometres of peridotite were subjected as they were pushed up through the earth’s mantle during the Alpine Orogeny. Serpentine schist is largely composed of antigorite, olivine, magnetite, chlorite and pyroxene. Not only do these minerals influence the stone’s texture, but they also lend it unique physical and mechanical properties such as the ability to be split into thin sheets, which is one of its most important characteristics from a commercial point of view. Serpentinites exist in various shades of green: dark green, grey-green, grey-green with bluish highlights, sage green, variegated, etc. When it is used in outdoor applications, the stone’s colour may change over time due to the oxidation of iron in the magnetite, which confers a fascinating weathered look to the stone.