Fine grained, compact variety of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate), usually white or pale colored and translucent Alabaster is soft and can be scratched slightly with a fingernail. It also dissolves slowly in wet environments. Alabaster was used since ancient times in the Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece, Algeria, Tunisia, and Italy for ornamental building work, sculpture, vases, and small decorative carvings. Powdered alabaster has been used as a paper filler and paint pigment called mineral white or terra alba.
See also Egyptian alabaster.
Synonyms and Related Terms
gypsum; satin spar; alabastrine; Alabaster (Deut., Pol., Sven.); alabastro (Esp., It., Port.); albâtre (Fr.); albast (Ned.)
Slightly soluble in water.
Monoclinic crystal system. Fibrous. Cleavage is good in one direction.
Streak is white.
|Mohs Hardness||1.5 - 2.0|
Hazards and Safety
May be damaged by water and abrasion.
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