The earth is old.
Its geological diversity is as various and fascinating as its biological diversity.
If you are a lover of rocks and minerals, there is no end to the geological formations and combinations you will find.
Montbrayite is one such rock.
It is a rare rock, with few direct applications and few studies done on it.
But to the rock-loving mind, no rock is without interest.
What is Montbrayite?
It is a stone made of antimony, gold, and tellurium.
We will see the importance of this composition later on.
Montbrayite has a blackish-grey color.
It looks like a dark crystal.
Indeed, it has a coarse and rough crystalline texture.
Aqua-greenish formations of the rock have also been found.
It is found in North America, Central Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Southwest Asia, Eastern China, and Western Australia.
Montbrayite is heavily mined in Quebec and Siberia.
Thus far, the largest deposits have been found in these two regions.
How to Identify Montbrayite
Montbrayite can be hard to identify.
It has no distinguishing features—that is, no features that set it apart from other crystalline-like rocks, minerals, and stones.
Although most formations come in the colors mentioned above, it can come in even lighter shades.
When it does, it is often confused with quartz.
However, you can tell the difference by the slightly smoother surface of the latter mineral.
On Mohs scale, Montbrayite has a hardness of 2.5.
That means it can be easily scratched by harder material.
This makes sense given its composition.
Both gold and tellurium are quite soft minerals in their raw states.
Does Montbrayite Mean Anything?
Montbrayite is not the kind of rock that people find spiritual meaning in.
However, the possibility that New Age practitioners have found Montbrayite rocks and attributed meaning to them cannot be ruled out.
Not all Montbrayite formations are deep beneath the earth.
Some rocks are found nearer to the surface.
And given the crystalline look and composition of the rock, it may have inspired a sense of calm and contemplation in more than one person.
Does Montbrayite Have Applications?
Here, we are on more solid ground.
Montbrayite is filled with gold and tellurium.
That is why it starting to become heavily mined in places where large deposits have been found.
Gold, of course, is a precious metal, and is also used in a wide variety of industrial applications.
As this metal has grown increasingly scarce over the years, mining companies have sought other means of getting at it.
That is where Montbrayite comes in.
By digging up this mineral, it is possible to extract the gold from it.
Montbrayite is also made up of Tellurium.
This is a little-known mineral, but it is important.
Tellurium is used to vulcanize rubber.
It is also used to tint glass and ceramics.
It is an essential element in solar cells, is in CDs and DVDs, and as a catalyst in oil refining.
Tellurium is also a prominent element in the making of semiconductors.
Why Is Montbrayite So Important?
A reasonable person may ask: what does Montbrayite have to do with semiconductors and precious metals?
The question can only be answered by taking a larger view of the mining industry.
Despite the seemingly unending crises of our times, the world is becoming more industrialized and less impoverished.
The advanced technology and luxury goods that are taken for granted in the West are spreading to more and more countries outside of it.
Demand for laptops and other microchip run devices continues to increase—at quite a rapid rate.
As it does so, the need for the basic minerals required to run these devices also expands.
Minerals such as Tellurium are already heavily mined and becoming scarcer.
This has forced the industry to seek the same composition in other rock formations.
Because Montbrayite is such a rich source of Tellurium, large deposits of it are being more intensely sought after; and it is expected that more large mining operations for Montbrayite will come online in the years to come.
The same reality applies to gold.
The demand for luxury goods, including gold items, continues to increase.
Makers of gold jewelry are ever hungry for it.
The trouble is that even the richest gold deposits, such as those found in South Africa, are finite and cannot be mined indefinitely.
The gold deposits in Montbrayite have made the mineral more and more of a target.
What the industry especially likes about Montbrayite is its low hardness.
It is quite easy to break this mineral down and extract the gold from it.
It is one of the less costly ways at getting to this precious metal.
Is There Anything Else to Know About Montbrayite?
This rock is not only useful for its gold and Tellurium deposits.
And there need not be a large group of people who have given it spiritual significance.
To anyone who has ever seen a Montbrayite rock, the aesthetic experience itself is valuable.
Montbrayite can come in formations that are absolutely stunning.
The coarseness of the rock is balanced by the blend of colors in it.
That makes it a keeper.
If you are a rock collector, you can do worse than to add a Montbrayite to your inventory.
If you are an amateur jewelry maker or an aspiring professional, you can use Montbrayite to create necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and the like.
The rock is easy to handle and shape.
You can come up with designs that will impress as gifts or samples of your work.
There is still little known about the Montbrayite rock itself.
Most of the scientific and industrial efforts have gone into extracting the more useful minerals within it.
However, this should not prevent anyone from developing an appreciation for it.
If you live in one of the places in which it is commonly found, you should not be surprised if you come across Montbrayite while on a hike through the mountains or during a walk through hilly woods.
It has a striking and most interesting appearance.
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