Fibrous hydrated magnesium silicate that is opaque and white, gray, or cream in colour. Also called sepiolite, meerschaum (German: sea foam) is easily fashioned, and has been used in jewelry and for tobacco pipes. It is soft when first extracted, but it hardens on drying. Meerschaum is an alteration product of serpentine. The most important commercial deposit is the plain of Eskisehir, Tur., where it is found as irregular nodules in alluvial deposits; it also occurs in France, Greece, the Czech Republic, the U.S., and elsewhere.