Nickel is an uncommon, low-value, magma-safe metal used for the creation of nickel silver (note that nickel silver is not magma-safe), however the zinc required for nickel silver is often better saved for producing brass, which is more than twice as valuable as nickel silver. It can also be used to create most metalcrafting and construction objects. It can only be smelted from garnierite. Nickel is the cheapest of the four magma-safe metals and thus is the perfect minecart metal if you're using it for magma.
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Nickel round cabochons, when properly heated, are an excellent tool for !!SCIENCE!! involving the flammability of various substances.