Steatite

Steatite is a massive and often impure variety of Talc, often found in association with serpentine and chlorite schists. Steatite is also called a Soapstone because the material may feel soapy when touched.

Steatite is very soft because of the high talc content and it is easily cut with metal tools. Steatite is used for carved souvenirs and ornamental objects.
General Information
A variety or type of:Talc
Other Names/Trade Names:
Chemical Formula
Mg
 
3
Si
 
4
O
 
10
(OH)
 
2
Gemdat.org, Management Team (2012)
Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Physical Properties of Steatite
Mohs Hardness1 to 0
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
Specific Gravity2.20 to 2.80
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
Cleavage QualityPerfect
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
Optical Properties of Steatite
Refractive Index1.539 to 1.596
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
More from other references
Optical CharacterBiaxial/-
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
Birefringence0.046 to 0.050
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
Colour
Colour (General)White, yellowish, greenish, greenish-brown, reddish
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
TransparencyOpaque
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
LustreGreasy
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Crystallography of Steatite
Crystal SystemMonoclinic
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
HabitMassive
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Further Information
Mineral information:Steatite information at mindat.org
Copyright © Jolyon & Katya Ralph 1993-2019. Site Map. Locality, gem & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. For more information please contact the . Gemdat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free gemmological information to all.