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MFA# 21.361


A dense, tough, dark-color rock composed of microcrystalline Quartz. Flint is generally a gray to black in color and has a waxy appearance. It tends to break with conchoidal chips. Flint is often found in Chalk deposits and high quality flint is obtained from the coasts of Great Britain, France, Belgium and Germany. Flint has been used since Paleolithic times for weapons, tools, vessels and for starting fire. More recently, flint has been used on the firing mechanism of guns and as an Abrasive. Flint is also used as an ingredient in fine pottery to reduce shrinkage and minimize deformation.

Egyptian scraper
Flint nodules on beach

Synonyms and Related Terms

flintstone; Lydian stone; touchstone; gun flint; potter's flint; hornstone; chalcedony; flintsten (Dan.); Feuerstein, Flint (Deut.); caliza (Esp.); silex (Fr., Port.); vuursteen (Ned.); krzemieñ (Pol.); flinta (Sven.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Fracture = conchoidal.
  • Luster = dull.
  • Streak = white.
  • Mohs Hardness = 6.5 - 7.0
  • Density = 2.60-2.65 g/ml


Properties of Common Abrasives

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=2.63
  • Jack Odgen, Jewellery of the Ancient World, Rizzoli International Publications Inc., New York City, 1982
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • A.Lucas, J.R.Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., London, 4th edition, 1962
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979

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