Turkey Fat Mineral: 6 Common Questions Answered

I saw a piece of turkey fat mineral on a forum recently and had to learn more about it and share it with you! Here are the answers to the six most common questions about this interestingly named stone.

What is Turkey Fat Mineral?

Turkey Fat Mineral is also known as Turkey-Fat Ore. Turkey Fat Ore is a botryoidal variety of smithsonite.

(When something is botryoidal, the material is usually in a roundish mass, with lumps on the exterior that look a bit like grapes).

The chemical formula of smithsonite is ZnCO3, which is zinc carbonate. ZnCO3 may also be referred to as smithsonite, calamine, or zinc spar. In it’s purest form, this material is generally colorless.

Smithsonite (aka turkey fat) occurs when zinc-bearing deposits weather or oxidize, much like malachite and azurite.

Turkey Fat Ore is also the old name for a variety of brightly yellow colored smithsonite that included cadmium sulfide. The cadmium is not required for smithsonite to be called “turkey-fat.”

What Does Turkey Fat Ore Look Like?

Smithsonite can be found in a granular form as well as in masses. It rarely forms in large crystals, and instead is often found in botryoidal clumps.

Smithsonite can come in many colors (green, pink, blue, and more). Turkey Fat is generally what any yellow looking smithsonite is called. It typically looks like….well…fat. Like what you might see if you were watching a surgery show on television.

You might find turkey fat crystals that are more well formed poking up out of a mass of the botryoidal form.

Where is Turkey Fat Ore Found?

Turkey Fat smithsonite has was mined in the northern Ozark Plateaus and wester Ouachita Mountains (Arkansas/Oklahoma) between 1857 and 1962.

Smithsonite can be found around the world in its various forms.

What is Turkey Fat Ore Used for?

Turkey Fat Ore is a ore of zinc. But in general, turkey fat ore isn’t really used for a whole heck of a lot right now. Currently, collectors enjoy acquiring it as a unique specimen for their collection, or turning it into jewelry. But since the mineral itself is fairly soft, it is not really ideal for daily wear.

Mostly, it is collected by folks who enjoy collecting more unusual or lessor known minerals.

As a form of zinc, if the turkey fat version is found in the general day-to day mining operations of digging up zinc ore to provide to businesses who use it to make other products probably doesn’t mean anything. It is probably just used as other forms of zinc bearing ores are used.

What are the Metaphysical Properties of Turkey Fat Ore Crystals?

As noted above, smithsonite is a form of zinc carbonate. It comes in many colors. Smithsonite is a more gentle stone (as compared to Tiger’s Eye, which is not). If you are looking for peace and tranquility, any form of smithsonite is a good choice.

Some folks report that the various colors of smithsonite yield differing results, like purple for physic ability, green for renewal, blue for emotional health, and yellow for energy.

We hesitate to recommend turkey fat mineral/crystals for any specific purpose beyond what we already know about smithsonite in general.

Turkey fat crystals are just really rare, and we don’t think that they have been used or handled enough to really say one way or another what specific metaphysical properties they may have.

This may be a good stone to experiment with, and learn about, if you can find or acquire a piece.

Is Turkey Fat Ore dangerous?

No, not terribly dangerous.

Turkey Fat Ore has a lot of zinc in it, and as a result, the toxicity risk for this material is medium (but not excessively high like malachite).

Humans need to ingest trace amounts of metals and minerals (like copper and zinc) on a regular basis, but we do not do well when we ingest too much.

Zinc is one of those metals that it is better to avoid consuming or taking in extra.

In general, we definitely recommend against breathing in any dust from this ore, grinding it up to consume, or ingesting for any other perceived health method aside from what is naturally in your food.

As with any mineral/ore/crystal, there is also no guarantee unless you test the material that the material is 100% purely what you think it is.

You might think you have one material, when you are actually consuming or breathing something that contains asbestos or arsenic.

To protect yourself from any sort of poisoning, just make sure you don’t ingest this material in any way, shape or form. It should be safe to handle, though it is not as hard as other minerals and gemstones (only a 4.5 on Mohs.

Best practices are to seal any mineral that you are planning to carry around or wear to protect the stone and also to protect you from any unintended absorption of the metals through your skin.

How Do You Clean Turkey Fat Ore?

As we’ve said, turkey fat mineral is a form of smithsonite. It is a carbonate, and it will react with acid. As a result, we recommend against doing any kinds of solutions or soaks with harsh products, because much of the material would probably bubble away.

Instead, soak your material when you want to clean it in water, or scrub with dish soap or laundry soap. You might even use something abrasive to remove unsightly deposits or to smooth out some edges.

We don’t recommend tumbling, but if you do, make sure to only tumble it with stones of similar hardness, use cushioning material, and keep a close eye on it.

Interested in learning more about interesting rocks and minerals? Check out this article about Sea Coal.

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