There are many types of soapstone, and like many minerals, come in a variety of colors. Soapstone can also vary in texture and softness. This depends on the part of the world where the soapstone quarry is located. Soapstone used for countertops comes in slabs and is categorized by color. Several of the most common forms are what’s called original soapstone, Iceflower, and amazon. Iceflower is a trademarked type of soapstone because of its unique pattern.
Steatite is the most common type of soapstone, and is a light gray color. But soapstone isn’t limited just to grays. Another type of soapstone comes from Chile, in Combarbala, and is called combarbalite soapstone. It comes in shades of red, brown, yellow, and even green. The country of India also yields soapstone. The area of Uttar Pradesh is known for its Gorara stone, or India soapstone. The colors range from black, gray, to tan, green, and a shade of pink. Besides Chile and India, soapstone is also quarried in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.
One type of popular soapstone, the Mariana soapstone, is no longer produced at the original Mariana quarry in Brazil. However, another stone that’s very similar is being quarried from a nearby quarry. Its dark gray color has dark spots and patterns.
Soapstone has gained popularity because of its use in countertops. Soapstone countertops usually come in white, light gray, tan, and pale green. Over time, soapstone darkens and deepens once exposed to the air. The surface of the soapstone can have a mottled or almost marble-like strands of color throughout.
A softer type of soapstone is often used by artists, since it’s more readily sculpted, and doesn’t have the hardness of the soapstones mentioned above that are used as surfacing materials. Some soapstones on the market aren’t actually soapstones if they require a sealer, unlike true soapstone which requires mineral oil for maintenance.
“The Maine Soapstone Company – All About Our Soapstone.” The Maine Soapstone Company – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. <http://www.mainesoapstone.com/oursoapstone/oursoapstone.htm>.
“GemRocks: Soapstone.”College of Science and Technology :: Central Michigan University. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2010. http://www.cst.cmich.edu/USERS/DIETR1RV/soapstone.htm