Gypsum is one of the oldest minerals known to be used by man. Its dehydrated form is what we commonly call plaster. It was used in ancient civilizations in Egypt, Rome, Mesopotamia, as well as Medieval England for reproductions of statues and casts of human faces. The inhabitants of Pompeii were cast in gypsum.

It was also frequently used in ancient times for “plastering of wine,” namely in France and Sicily. This was a process in which Plaster of Paris was added to wine to improve its acidity.

Uses of gypsum in our daily life

Today we still take advantage of gypsum as a soft mineral. It is used in the ceramics industry for molds and master models, in orthopaedics for plaster casts and in orthodontics for dental impressions. However, we have also discovered additional uses beyond making impressions. In buildings, it is used for walls, ceilings, covered plasterboard, plaster blocks and stucco, and it is a key ingredient in cement, where it delays the setting time.

Additionally, gypsum is used as a filler for pills, was previously used to produce chalk (now replaced by calcium carbonate rocks), and as a soil conditioner and component in fertilizers.