Ask-a-Geologist #22: What are some common household uses of rocks and minerals?

In this video answer, we discuss several types of rocks and minerals and their common household uses. There are probably some you know and maybe a few you do not. We talk about one you probably use every day and one you may even eat. Watch the video and see if you can come up with other rock and minerals in your area.

What are Common Household Uses of Rocks and Minerals?

Teddy wrote to us and asked, what are a lot of the common household items and items around my town that I might see that are made from rocks and minerals?

Pencil tips are made of the mineral graphite.

Hi, Teddy, believe it or not, rocks and minerals are used in lots and lots of things that you can find around your house. Now, one of the most common is a pencil. Everybody calls the tip of this the pencil lead, but this is actually graphite.

Graphite is a mineral made out of carbon, and that is actually what you use to write with when you’re using your pencil. Now, there are lots of other uses for minerals and rocks.

Uses for Azurite, Gypsum, and Halite Minerals

Some of the minerals that are most interesting are azurite and gypsum. Azurite has a beautiful blue color and is often used to make dyes, specifically blue-colored dye that is used for different products like paints and clothing. The next useful mineral is gypsum. Look at the walls of your house. Often, the plaster in the drywall around your house has some gypsum inside.

Azurite mineral is used to make blue dyes.

Another mineral that you very likely have in your kitchen and possibly use every day, is halite. Halite is another name for table salt. Salt is made of sodium chloride and it is most commonly used to season the food you eat. Salt can be an important part of cooking, cleaning, and even beauty products. Many people do not realize that table salt is a very important mineral.

Uses for Granite and Scoria Around Your Home

Many rocks are used as building materials. One of the most common rocks that you will find in your home or in buildings around town is granite. Granite comes in different colors from white and black to pink and black. It has a beautiful speckled appearance and it is very strong and durable making it a very popular choice for construction. Granite is often found inside houses as countertops, wall covering, and as tiles. Outside, it may be as crushed materials for roadbeds or as decorative stone in landscaping beds.

Scoria Igneous Rock is uses in landscape beds.

Scoria is another very popular rock that you may see outside of your house or a building in town. Many people call scoria “lava rock,” because it formed from a volcano and is usually red to dark brown in color. Scoria is very popular as a landscape material in the western portion of the United States. Consequently, you may see this type of rock scattered around the landscape beds around the plants because it is durable and helps to protect plants from erosion due to wind and rain. Scoria has a unique texture with many holes in the rock which also gives the rock an interesting appearance in your home.

Other Common Household Uses for Rocks and Minerals

Below is a list of different uses for other common rocks and minerals often found around your own home. See if you can find any of these in your home or school and then leave us a comment below about what you find.

Household Uses of Minerals

  • Talc -Baby powder.
  • Graphite – Pencil tips.
  • Lepidolite – Lithium content – Medicines may use lithium.
  • Beryl – Jewelry.
  • Epidote – Jewelry.
  • Rhodonite – Jewelry.
  • Malachite – Jewelry.
  • Amethyst – Jewelry and decor items.
  • Amazonite – Jewelry.
  • Garnet – Jewelry.
  • Limonite – Yellow & brown dyes and pigments.
  • Azurite – Blue dyes and pigments.
  • Quartz – Prisms, lenses, gauges, glass, paints, and abrasives.
  • Calcite – Microscopes, metallurgy, fertilizers & chemical industry.
  • Fluorite – Enamels, cooking utensils, telescopes, camera lenses.
  • Gypsum – Paints, tile, drywall, blackboard chalk, fertilizer, Plaster of Paris.
  • Halite – Salt for food preparation and in the chemical industry.

Household Uses of Igneous Rocks

  • Granite – Roadbed construction material, countertop, wall tile.
  • Scoria – Flower beds as landscaping stone.
  • Pumice – Foot smoothing stones, soap.

Household Uses of Sedimentary Rocks

  • Sandstone – Building materials and decorative accessories such as coasters and garden items.
  • Limestone – Building materials and decorative accessories statues, and garden decor.
  • Coquina – Building materials and decorative accessories such as garden decor.
  • Bituminous Coal – Fuel source.
  • Lignite Coal – Fuel source.

Household Uses of Metamorphic Rocks

  • Anthracite Coal – Fuel source, metamorphic coal gives off the most heat of any coal during the burning process.
  • Gneiss – Common building materials and decorative boulders.
  • Marble – Common building materials and decorative boulders. Common for statues carvings.
  • Slate – Flooring and roofing material, blackboards.

Leave a comment here or on our social media channel about your favorite items that are made from rocks and minerals. If you have an ask-a-geologist question for us, you can email us at We would love to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.