Seraphinite acquired its name due to its resemblance to feathers, such as one might find on a bird's wing. With some specimens the resemblance is quite strong, with shorter down-like feathery growths leading into longer "flight feathers".

Seraphinite is generally dark green to grey in colour, has chatoyancy, and has hardness between 2 and 4 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Seraphinite is mined in a limited area of eastern Siberia in Russia. Russian mineralogist Nikolay Koksharov (1818-1892 or 1893) is often credited with its discovery.