Soapstone is a very dense variety of talc, formed from the composition of talc and other minerals during rock metamorphosis. It is principally grey or grey/green in color, with varying degrees of white veins of pure talc. Soapstone is best known for having a soapy feel - hence the name. The surface of soapstone is most commonly sold with a honed finish, which is smooth, like a polish, but is non-reflective and non-porous. Other finishes are also available, like leather finish. Traditionally, soapstone is treated with mineral oil to aid in sealing, and to enrich the color by turning it a dark rich color. A periodic application of mineral oil is the only maintenance it needs. Like old silver, soapstone develops a patina over time, which gives it a rich, antique character.
The large blocks needed to produce full sized slabs are rare in the Northern Hemisphere due to the destructive impact of ice age glaciers and our frequent freeze/thaw cycles, which naturally break up stone. Today, after centuries of consumption, large blocks of soapstone are almost non-existent in US quarries. To obtain large slabs (at least 8 feet long and 4 ½ feet high), Mirasol Soapstone imports all its slabs from Brazil – a country which was spared the affects of glacial ice and seasonal freezing – and therefore is an ideal source for this valued stone. Prized for its structural quality and beauty, Mirasol Soapstone is available in a number of colors reflecting the slightly different background tones and the variation of its veining.