Talc is a common mineral which is widely known for its use in talcum powders, for its softness, and for creating pseudomorphs of other minerals in rock formations. It is not considered a gemstone and is often used for industrial purposes.
Talc comes from the Arabic word "talq." Talc is defined as the softest mineral on the Mohs hardness scale, and can be easily scratched or carved. Soapstone is a kind of talc which is used for ornamental purposes such as small carvings. The pseudomorphs for which talc is well known occur when talc slowly replaces another mineral in a rock formation, eventually taking over the original mineral's shape. Natural talc often contains small amounts of asbestos mixed in with the mineral, raising concern about cancer risks.