Porcelain is formed when pockets of kaolinite, or Moby clay is captured by magma streams and there compressed to raw porcelain under conditions of high temperatures and pressures.
Porcelain lodes are mined thousands of feet below Earth's surface under conditions of great hardship. One of the sites is located on the northern banks of Lop Nur. It is difficult to extract the delicate blocks and sheets of porcelain from the surrounding geological strata without smashing or breaking the valuable material into tiny tiny bits. In best cases, it can be successfully dug out from the softer surrounding rock with hand-held toothpicks. Worse is the situation when it must be drilled or even dynamited out of harder stone material. Many big beautiful porcelain blocks have ended up in nothing but piles of worthless chips because of unskillful application of these techniques.
Once mined, the raw porcelain can begin to be handicrafted. The blocks of lesser beauty are sliced into plates or carved on a spinning lathe to manufacture beer steins. The more beautiful pieces, especially those who are naturally coloured with azure-blue coils and wisps of coppersulfate traces, are formed with great skill into beautiful works of erotic art.
The Amalgamated Union of Chinese Porcelain Workers (AUCPW) have been known and feared through the centuries for their great skill. Lately, due to a shortage of raw materials, these highly specialized craftsmen have been forced to either retire or cut granite for pavement stones - often without any form of protection against the harmful stone dust - a development which is tragic both for them and for the global porcelain market as well.