5 Surprising Facts about…Kaolin!

5 Surprising Facts about…Kaolin!

5 Surprising Facts about…Kaolin!

1. Kaolin has some surprisingly unusual uses and you’ve probably used it once today already. Most people think clay is only used in pottery, paper, tiles, tableware (plates and dishes) and sanitaryware (toilets, sinks and baths), however not many people are aware of its high-performance use in some familiar but surprising applications:

These include:

The paint you used to decorate your bedroom (interior and exterior paint)


… and the packaging your lunch arrived in (cardboard packaging, food films and the ink on the graphics)







The carpet you are walking on right now (rubber backing on carpets)







…and the last pen you used to sign your name (the soft grip of your pen)





…and the list goes on.

In fact, Imerys Kaolin’s products have over 50+ everyday uses!

If you are interested to find out all the weird and wonderful ways kaolin helps your everyday life click here.

Got an idea for our Science & Technology team about how kaolin can be used in a new application? Write to us at emea-kaolin@imerys.com


2.Contrary to popular belief, Kaolin wasn’t first found in “Gaoling (Kauling) Mountain” near Jingdeshen in China, where its name is derived.

Gaoling Mountain is often referred to  by the kaolin industry as where clay was first discovered; however when researchers returned to the original mine and tested samples, they found it was actually composed of halloysite not kaolin. Nevertheless, China has played a significant role in the history of kaolin. The production of Chinese porcelain was first introduced from the 6th century onwards (that’s around 1,417 years ago!). It was not until centuries later that other areas of the world would discover the mineral and duplicate the process.

Kaolin from the original Kauling (Gaoling) Mine locality, Kiangsi Province, China, W. D. Keller, H. Cheng, W. D. Johns and C.-S. Meng, Clays and Clay Minerals, 28 (2): 97-104 (1980).

Image credit: WordPress



3. William Cookworthy discovered China Clay in 1746 at Tregonning Hill, Cornwall.


William Cookworthy was the first person in Britain to discover how to make hard porcelain. Today, much of the landscape in St. Austell, Cornwall is home to Imerys Kaolin’s china clay workings. It remains the leader in kaolin production for many innovative applications worldwide.

Image credit: Cornwall Guide








4. Imerys Kaolin produces a one-of-a-kind clay that has extraordinary purifying properties that are used in face masks, shampoo, conditioner and other cosmetic applications.


The natural clay offers fantastic results for oily hair and skin, absorbing impurities to provide long-lasting results. Check the ingredients when you next purchase your hair and skin products for this special ingredient!

Find out more about these products here: ImerCare K kaolin range





5. Kaolinite can be found in over 15 countries around the world, but no two kaolin deposits are the same.

Although a commonly occurring mineral, each deposit is unique. Imerys Kaolin has exclusive access to a portfolio of kaolin deposits including production sites in UK, USA, France and Brazil in addition to a few selected others. Imerys Kaolin’s products offer unique and specific geological characteristics that can be tailor-made to meet changing demands of kaolin markets.

Click here to find out more about the geological science behind our products.









Published on: 15 Nov 2017

Product Spotlight


Supreme™ premium kaolin from IMERYS gives multiple benefits when used in decorative matt wall paints, functioning both as an opacifying extender and also as a rheology modifier.
For further information please click here