Soapstone Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™

Soapstone

Soapstone, also known as steatite, refers to compact masses of talc and other minerals known for their soapy or greasy texture. Due to its softness, it has been used since ancient times for carvings, ornaments and utensils.

Colors

White, Gray, Yellowish, Brown, Light To Dark Green, Reddish

  • Soapstone classification

    CommonName
    Soapstone
    Species
    Talc
    Variety
    Colors
    White, Gray, Yellowish, Brown, Light To Dark Green, Reddish
    AlternateNames
    Steatite, Talc
    GemstoneGroups
    KeySeparations
    Appearance, poor surface quality, RI and SG
    ClassificationComments
    Misnomers: Fukien jade, Manchurian jade
  • Soapstone chemistry & crystallography

    ChemicalName
    magnesium silicate hydroxide
    ChemicalFormula
    Mg3Si4O10(OH)2
    Synthesis
    CrystalSystem
    Monoclinic
    ChemistryClassification
    Silicate
    Nature
    Natural
    Crystallinity
    Polycrystalline
    ChemistryComments
  • Soapstone optical properties

    Transparency
    Semitranslucent - Opaque
    Dispersion
    Strength: none
    OpticalComments
    RefractiveIndex
    1.54-1.59
    Tolerance:(+0.010/-0.002)
    Birefringence
    0.046-0.05
    OpticCharacter
    Biaxial
    OpticSign
    Negative
    PolariscopeReaction
    Aggregate (AGG)
    Fluorescence
    SWUV: Inert
    LWUV: Inert to weak pink
    CCFReaction
    Pleochroism
    None
  • Soapstone characteristic physical properties

    Hardness
    1-2.5
    CharacteristicComments
    Streak
    White
    SpecificGravity
    2.2-2.8 Typical:2.75
    Toughness
    Poor
    Inclusions
    Soapstone is often veined or mottled in appearance and are greasy or soapy to touch. Stones are very soft can be scratched with a fingernail and might show surface damage.
    Luster
    Waxy
    Stability
    Fracture
    Uneven
    Cleavage
    Perfect, in one direction