Pink Himalayan salt is also known as black salt. It comes from the Himalayan Mountains in Northern India. It's a smallish (less than five inches) crystalline mineral that is black in color.
The stone was quarried for many years, but its use soon waned, probably because it lacked any specific function. People could use it for whatever they liked, including making salt! This was another reason for its abandonment in favor of white salt. But the stone has been rediscovered by several modern artisans and was used as a carvings material for decorative purposes.
However, much about Himalayan salt remained a mystery to those who haven't learned more about its beauty. There are various theories concerning the mystery, some of which relate to its strange color (with an iridescent effect) and the features which make it different from ordinary table salt.
Experts today believe that Himalayan salt has been enhanced by the presence of copper, magnesium, zinc, tin, boron, iodine, and chromium. This makes the stone reflective, thus making it unique among other minerals. It also refracts sunlight, giving it a unique color. Hence, it has been called a prism.
It is believed that the little stones which are found in Pink Himalayan salt mines have unique properties. Some of these properties make them even more attractive than their counterparts. These properties include:
Light refraction: The element of the stone, boron, makes it reflect light. The reflection is due to the grain structure of the salt. To understand this concept, consider a mirror with a crack in it. As light bounces around the glass, the refracted rays find themselves in a different direction. Similarly, the reflected light has a slightly different direction to itself due to the grain structure of the salt.
Polarization: This is another noticeable property of Himalayan salt. Polarized Himalayan salt, which is also a type of salt, is also able to reflect light, but at the same time, it can absorb it.
Color variations: Another interesting property of Himalayan salt is its changing colors. Different shades of black and red are formed by the movement of the salt crystals, which are just few micrometers in size. Depending on the intensity of the light, these colors are produced.
If these shades are added to blue or green liquid, it gives a yellow-green appearance. Other colors may be produced if crystals are placed in sunlight or in a black light, and they are brought out by the refraction and polarization properties of the mineral.
The degree of moisture in the salt also determines the color. When the salt is already saturated, it becomes greenish or red. Yet, if it becomes less saturated, it turns into deep reddish brown or black colors.
Even the texture of the different grains is very interesting. Among the different varieties, there are low-grade grains which have sharp edges and high-grade grains which are smoother and more evenly distributed. It's hard to explain the crystal structure of Himalayan salt using mere words.
Learning about its characteristics is an interesting research project. The study of its color, its electrical properties, and its characteristically unique properties will surely help future artists and sculptors to work with it in more creative ways.