Its soapy feel lends the rock its name “Soapstone”. Grey, Blue, Brown and Green are typically found colours of Soapstone.
This metamorphic rock is particularly suited for carving because of its special properties.
The word “steatite” is often used in place of “soapstone” by some people. However, there are others who prefer to use “steatite” for a fine-grained or 100%-talc exfoliated soapstone.
Agra in UP, Rajasthan, Chhatrapur and Orchha in Central India, Mysore and Nullar in Karnataka, Tinitani, Salem, and Cuddapah in Tamil Nadu are some of the places which exemplify the practice of soapstone carvings in India.
By and large, carvers use shiny and lustrous soapstones to make the magnificent idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, models of famous monuments like Taj Mahal and other decorative items like boxes, paperweights, coasters, photo frames & kitchen table tops.
The attractive floral and perforated patterns lend uniqueness to these intricately designed handicraft items.
Soapstone also finds its utility in the creation of fireplace surrounds and cladding on metal wood stoves. It can absorb and evenly beam out heat. Hence, soapstone is also preferred in the making of wood burning masonry heaters.
Brazil has an abundance of soapstone. They are used to make pots & pans, jewel boxes, statues and vases.