Though likely unknown to the layman, geological minerals make up a great majority of the things that we use and consume on a daily basis, from cars to carpets and even toothpaste, according to the Utah Geological Survey. According to the website, minerals.net, these naturally occurring chemical substances are a commodity because they contain elements that are needed to make various goods, or simply because of their beauty. The state of New Jersey is a hot spot for several minerals.
The semi-precious stone Malachite is a copper carbonate hydroxide. It presents itself in a distinctive mixture of light and dark green bands and is a relatively hard material. This mineral is used solely for decorative purposes and is commonly carved into statues or crafted into jewelry.
Sulfur is an elemental mineral. In its natural form, it is comprised of very soft, attractive, deep yellow crystals. The mineral is highly combustible, which is the main reason it is mined. Sulfur is one of the most commonly used elements in industry. It is a primary ingredient in gunpowder, matches, insecticides and fungicides.
This sedimentary mineral is composed of calcium magnesium carbonate. It is most commonly pink in appearance, but it can also be found in white, gray or yellow, or it may even be void of color. Dolomite has a medium hardness and is used for several practical reasons. For example, it is added to soil to reduce acidity levels, making the soil favorable to plants that will not flourish in high-acid levels. The element is commonly ground down and turned into pavement and concrete. It is also used to make Milk of Magnesia--a laxative and antacid.
Gypsum is made of hydrated calcium sulfate. It is an extremely soft mineral that can be scratched by a fingernail. Most commonly, it is white, gray or colorless, but it can also be found in red, brown and yellow. The most common application for gypsum is in construction materials, such as drywall, concrete and plaster. It is also used as an agent in mead and as a coagulant for tofu.
Silver is a well-known metallic chemical element and is considered a precious metal. It presents itself in the color that mimics its name and is fairly soft. This element has a high electrical conductivity, and as such, is used in electronics such as circuits. Other common uses for the mineral include currency, jewelry, cutlery, dentistry and photography. Silver is also used to make mirrors because it has high reflectivity.