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A Stone Believed to Be Linked with Death

морион
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

This is a mineral of mourning colour, which is actually a variety of smoky quartz. It was also believed to be a mystical stone.

There are numerous legends claiming morion has links to supernatural forces. Even the mineral’s name is connected with death. In Ancient Rus, the stone was called «мор», the rough translation of which to English would be ‘plague’ or ‘pestilence’. An old story says the first owner of morion was Morena, an evil witch in Slavic mythology, who only caused destruction and mischief. The sorceress remained immortal as long as she was wearing a ring with the black stone on her finger. However, she lost the ring in one of the battles and died. Yet the magical power of the stone was so strong that its owner was subsequently resurrected. The witch continued walking the Earth and wreaking death.

морион
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

According to another ancient belief, if someone brought a sample of morion home, the stone's negative impact had to be immediately neutralised by baking the mineral in bread. Colour of the specimen changed from black to yellowish-brown, and the magic powers were thought to have been lost. Miners from the Ural used to kiln morion crystals in the dough, with the purpose being completely different though. If slowly heated up to three hundred degrees Celsius, morion's colour turns to goldish, thus making the stone look like as if it were a tea-coloured topaz. Jobbers were the ones who made use of the know-how since, with the help of this technology, morion samples could easily pass for some valuable mineral specimens.

морион
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

In Ancient China, morion was applied for making glass lenses. Ancient Egyptians found similar use for the stone: they protected their eyes with flat panes of morion from direct sunlight. As a matter of fact, Tutankhamen, an Egyptian Pharaoh, was probably the first person in the world to have sunglasses. They were made of morion and temples were made of bronze. Sumerian people sealed contracts and other documents with a stamp made of the mineral. They believed they would, therefore, become auspicious and lucky.

морион
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Although morion was considered a stone bringing misfortune, lithotherapists actively used it for medical purposes. As written in old books, if the mineral is worn around the neck, a person will no longer be melancholic and will get cured of cardiovascular diseases too. Another area of application for morion lies within electrical engineering wherein specific components have been assembled from it starting in the 20th century.

морион
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Morion's colour is quite rare. It is caused by radioactive radiation and may vary from dark brown to black opaque. Regardless, morion is totally safe for human health. And the colour is not the only fantastic feature of the stone; its crystals can grow huge sometimes. For instance, some samples found in Kazakhstan may weigh up to 70 tons!