Alum is usually found in ancient riverbeds and long, winding rivers that have been in existence since before recorded history. It is quite varied in coloration, found in many shades of grey and often tinted with traces of other elements found nearby. Its most common form is tiny spheres of a dark, flat grey color speckled with spots of white, but it can be dyed. It is very brittle when forged, and thus unsuitable for making weapons and armor, though it is often used for ornamentation. It is, however, an ideal material for crafting precision lockpicks and other devices which do not have to withstand the forces of battle. Technically, it was first discovered by halflings, though they were not the first to commonly use it for lockpicks and ornamentation. Their most common use for it was a children's game that used the natural alum spheres.