Talc Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

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By Ji-Elle (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An overview on Talc Jewelry and Gemstones. Covers details and essential information on the physical properties and characteristics of Talc gemstones.

Talc Information

Data Value
Name Talc
Varieties Steatite
Colors Pale green, dark green, greenish gray, white, gray, silvery white, brownish. Colors are due to impurities.
Stone Sizes Steatite and soapstone are known in massive pieces that will yield large carvings, up to several pounds.
Formula Mg3Si4O10(OH)2.
Fracture Fibrous, micaceous
Hardness 1
Cleavage Perfect 1 direction
Crystallography Monoclinic, triclinic. Tabular crystals up to 1 cm; usually massive, foliated, fine grained, compact.
Refractive Index 1.539-1.600
Birefringence Monoclinic: 0.050. Triclinic: 0.039.
Luminescence Usually none. Some is pinkish in LW (Silver Kale, California).
Luminescence Present Yes
Luminescence Type Fluorescent, UV-Long
Absorption Spectrum Not diagnostic.
Optics Monoclinic: a = 1.539-1.550; β = 1.589-1.594; γ = 1.589-1.600. Triclinic: a = 1.545; β = 1.584; γ = 1.584. Biaxial (-), 2V=30° in monoclinic. Shadow edge at 1.54.
Optic Sign Biaxial -
Luster Greasy, pearly, dull.
Specific Gravity 2.20-2.83
Transparency Translucent to opaque.


Optics: Monoclinic: a=1.539—1.550; β=1.589—1.594; γ= 1.589—l.600.

Triclinic: a= 1.545; β=1.584; γ= 1.584.

Biaxial {—), 2V=30° in monoclinic.

Shadow edge at 1.54.

Occurrence: In hydrothermally altered ultrabasic rocks and thermally altered siliceous dolomites. Worldwide occurrence, sometimes in large beds, often associated with serpentines.

Many localities in the United States, especially Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, California.

Lake Nyasa, Central Africa; India: China.” Australia; Zimbabwe; Canada: USSR.

Egypt: ancient deposit.

Comments: Steatite may be slightly harder than talc, due to impurities. Talc itself is often pseudomorphous after other minerals. Massive talc is easy to carve and is widely used for this purpose.

Talc has a greasy feel.

Name: Talc is from the Arabic word talk or talq, the name of the mineral. Steatite is from the Latin steatis, a type of stone, derived from the Greek word steatos, meaning fat.

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