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A whitish to ivory-yellow, smooth, porous mineral composed of crystal fibres and amorphous material. It is soft and clay-like, and when dry it is light enough to float; when heated it hardens and becomes white. Since the 18th century it has been exported from Asia Minor to Germany where it is made into tobacco-pipe bowls and cigar and cigarette holders, being often ornamentally carved. After use it becomes stained from brown to mahogany colour. It is also carved for some articles of jewelry, e.g. the bezel of a finger ring , or an ornament on a brooch.
The name is the German word derived from Meer (sea) and Schaum (foam). Also called Sepiolite.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson