X-ray diffraction, i.r. absorption, and chemical analyses have been carried out on the mineral deposits of calcified human mitral valves and glutaraldehyde-preserved porcine aortic grafts. The mineral deposits isolated from highly calcified mitral valves and porcine aortic grafts are constituted of type B-carbonate apatite. Magnesium substituted beta-tricalcium phosphate is present, together with an apatitic phase similar to dahllite, in the ashes of poorly calcified mitral valves. The contraction of the unit cell of beta-tricalcium phosphate due to magnesium incorporation is compared with the variation of the lattice constants of synthetic beta-tricalcium phosphate at different degree of magnesium substitution for calcium. The results reveal the important role of magnesium on the calcification of human valves. In fact, the apatitic phase deposited at the beginning of the calcification process, when there is a high magnesium content, converts completely into beta-tricalcium phosphate by heat treatment at 1,000 degrees C. On the other hand, when the calcification becomes massive, magnesium content appears highly reduced, and the deposited apatitic phase is characterized by a high thermal stability.