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Salt as an ornamental stone

Was: [New Orchid Gallery] Donna Thome

love to work with sterling silver and add sometimes unexpected

How about SALT STONE (as both rock and mineral)?

Just finished reading “Salt: A World History” by Mark Kurlensky. He
starts with the purchase of a pink ornamental salt stone from a mine
in Spain - a good read. Has anybody on Orchid worked with salt as an
ornamental stone? (if coal can be used ornamentally as often as it
is, why not salt?)

Has anybody seen the Grand Hall in Poland from 1867? (page 172). It
is cathedral size, all made of salt stone at 300 ft level and sounds
like it may be comparable to the Amber Room or Malachite Room.
Royalty have dropped in now and then so it must have some appeal.

I have a salt lamp on a glass topped table and it is depositing salt
crystals all over the glass. Slowly, but it’s still happening.
Barbara on a warm autumn night on the island (wish I could have said
that yesterday when I was on the mower cleaning up the leaves.)

Hello Peter,

I have some pink to rosy salt crystals from a mine in KS. They are
still languishing in their original bag. However, I’ve thought about
how to deal with them. They are obviously water soluble, so I plan to
coat them with some clear sealant. I’m thinking Opticone Because the
crystals are also fragile, I thought I’d wire wrap the stones with
fine silver wire & dangle them on earrings. Mind you, this cannot be
considered a very permanent piece, but rather something unusual.

I’m interested to see what you and others can report. Judy in Kansas,
where the days are warming and the sun is shining. I’m chilling the
amaryllis bulbs and hope to have blooms in Feb.


Has anybody seen the Grand Hall in Poland from 1867? (page 172).
It is cathedral size, all made of salt stone at 300 ft level and
sounds like it may be comparable to the Amber Room or Malachite

Our family visited the Wieliczka Salt Mine several years, which is
what you are referring to. For us it was a destination trip and had
been on our bucket list for many years. It is a remarkable treasure
and well worth seeing (along with many other things in Poland). We
returned with lamps carved out of salt. I highly recommend a visit.

Jamie King,

Peter- I’ve read and own that book as well as Salted by Mark
Bitterman. His book won a James Beard Award. One of my salt cellars
is in it. We live around the corner from “The Meadow” which is a
fancy salt shop featured in CBS Sunday Morning a few years ago. I’ve
made some high end salt cellars for them. We have a lovely block salt
that we cook on. Salt can be really pretty. It’s sold in both large
and small blocks as well as bowls. However it’d melt the minute you
got it wet and it’s a 2-3 on the mohs hardness scale. Enjoy your salt
but don’t make jewlery out of it. Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Here in Arizona I had been gifted a large salt crystal. The
combination of evaporative cooling and heat one big puddle. It just
melted away.

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc


In 1999 for the millenium in 2000, I had the comission to pull
together a 3 ft high by 3ft across a coat of arms clock for the
Salsters livery Co in the City of London UK.

The design across the bottom called for rock salt to be carved and
affixed as per the drawing.

in the coloured A1 full size drawing the rock salt was show to be
white. The only place I could get that colour from was the Dead sea
in Israel.

I cut out the basic shapes on my large band saw with a metal cutting
blade and carved the rest with a Fordom type flexible shaft machine
with a 1HP motor!!.,

I drilled and tapped 1/2in whitworth into the back of rock salt
pieces and used nylon threaded rod and nuts to fix. finally all the
salt was given 2 coats of clear gloss 2pack car top coat.

Some 12 yrs on its as good as new.

The rest of the project involved a clock maker, laser profiling of
s/steel, gold plating, lime wood carving Aluminium casting and
pattern making as well as fire oxidised titanium.

Picture on my web site.
nice project.

Jamie - in the book there is an old sketch which shows it as being
quite large, ie standard cathedral size. Is that correct? Also the
sketch shows life-sized statues of people on pedestals. Are they
still there? How did the salt lamps hold up to use?

Here in Arizona I had been gifted a large salt crystal. The
combination of evaporative cooling and heat one big puddle. It
just melted away. 

Probably a specimen from Searles Lake? We had a number of halite
specimens in Arizona, but kept them in the garage, not exposed to
swamp cooler atmosphere. Pink specimens need to be shielded from
light to keep their color. Huge hanksite specimens come from there,

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY

To add to this…a few years ago when I was set up at aninternational
horse show in Ft. Worth, TX there was a couple selling Himilian rock
crystal lamps. They are very beautiful, definately ornamental.

Also before I traded for them, I talked to some other artists/vendors
who had them. They are supposed to purify the air. One woman said she
slept better with it. I had a relative come in my home after I had
them. He said he used to couldn’t stay but 5 min. because of cat
allergy, but he really noticed a difference.

Sharon Perdasofpy


Yes, the largest chamber is standard cathedral size, including
larger-than-life carved statues, carved walls and floor and ceiling
tiles and salt chandeliers… everything out of salt. It’s a huge
chamber. These salt mines also house many smaller chapels, a village
hospital (now closed), and a lake. Formally knows as the Wielescha
Salt Mines, and now a World Heritage Site.

Most of the carvings and statues are religiously based. The miners
carved religious icons out of the salt after they finished mining
each chamber as a offer of thanksgiving for God’s protection during
their work. In recent years, more whimsical characters were also
carved. One chamber has life size Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,
heading off to work in the mines. It’s cute, but seems so out of
place in a setting like this.

The salt in each of the chambers (as well as my salt lamp) is very
stable and dense. It doesn’t crumble or melt. We were allowed to
touch many of the walls in the mines and I was surprised how dense
and solid they were. And the carved floor is walked on by tourists
every day. It has a beautiful patina. My lamp is very heavy and TSA
wouldn’t allow me to carry it onto the plane. They considered it to
be a weapon, based on its weight.

The mines started working in the 1300’s and finally closed in 2007.
They are over 1,000 feet deep (we walked down and took and elevator
up), and stretch for almost 200 miles. If you Google ‘Poland Salt
Miles’ (images) you can see photos of some of these rooms. They are
truly remarkable and worth making the trip to Wielescha Poland.

Jamie King,

the Wielescha Salt Mines, and now a World Heritage Site. Most of the
carvings and statues are religiously based. 

Thank you for the Jamie. Does anybody disagree that
Michaelangelo’s carvings and statues would be as priceless today if
they were carved in salt rather than marble? Maybe more so since Sal
Sapientia (holy salt) is part of religious liturgy (p 7 of “Salt” by
Kurlensky, 2002).

That being so, the artistry which goes into cutting/carving/grinding
far outweighs the value of the minerals no matter how rare, durable
or aesthetic they may be. Make it more appealing to the eye and you
can add enormous value.

It is the same for other stones. Zoellner in "The Heartless Stone"
goes into considerable detail on how low the monetary value of
diamond in the rough can be and he spares no words to say how little
aesthetic value he considers the stone to have without enhancement.
Writing in his anthropology book on Ancient Mexico, Peterson says
that jade was the most valued stone to those people and only
aristocrats could lawfully own it with severe penalties to violators.
However, they considered raw jade to have zero value.

Giacomo at Torart has a block of my “low grade” nephrite (I have
higher grade samples as well). I have a huge amount of it under claim
and I wonder how to use all grades. I also have two other finds from
my field work which I am studying for possible claiming and the
natural patterning and grain of the stones is greatly different.
Nephrite jade (defined as actinolite/tremolite with artistry value)
is quite common in BC and it is our official emblem/stone since 1968.
Recently I ran some tests with thin cuts. Giacomo may wish to slice
the block he has for mosaic work (also with a long history in Italy).
I have 1 mm and 1/2 mm slices.

Put a bright light behind the slices (I used an ordinary flashlight)
and you see the excellent bright green colours. Mosaics in lamp
shades and various other works of art could be a use for this
product. Modern lighting technologies are advancing too with tiny LED
and laser lights having great power to illuminate. Why not mosaic 3D
works of art more generally with lighting to enhance the jade?

A number of postings on the “favorite stone” topic mentioned
lighting effects. Room lighting is highly variable. Lighting can be
used in artistry and craftsmanship to good effect as well. Is there
any jeweller with a display case who does not consider this?

That’s a fine looking work of art at (if I got it right)

Are the two black figures on the sides salt as well as the base? If
so, what are they painted with?

PS - I had to look it up but a “livery” is an olde term for a trade
association and the Salters company was incorporated in 1559.