The Turkey oilstone can hardly be considered as a hone slate, having nothing of a lamellar or schistose appearance. As a whetstone it surpasses every other known substance, and possesses, in an eminent degree, the property of abrading the hardest steel, and is, at the same time, of so compact and close a nature as to resist the pressure necessary for sharpening a graver or other small instrument of that description. Little more is known of its natural history than that it is found in the interior of Asia Minor, and brought down to Smyrna for sale. The white and black varieties of Turkey oilstone differ but little in their general characters; the black is, however, somewhat harder, and is imported in larger pieces than the white.

Fragments of oilstone, when pulverized, sifted and washed, are much in request by mechanicians. This abrasive is generally preferred for grinding together those fittings of mathematical instruments and machinery, which are made wholly or in part of brass or gun metal, for oilstone being softer and more pulverulent than emery, is less liable to become embedded in the metal than emery, which latter is then apt continually to grind, and ultimately damage the accuracy of the fittings of brass works. In modern practice it is usual, however, as far as possible, to discard the grinding together of surfaces, with the view of producing accuracy of form, or precision of contact.

Oilstone powder is preferred to pumice-stone powder for polishing superior brass works, and it is also used by the watchmaker on rubbers of pewter in polishing steel.