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Soap stone is one of the best mineral for industrial use and also known as Talc. Talc is a very important industrial mineral. Talc is crushed into powder to form talcum powder, which is the main ingredient in many cosmetics as well as some baby powders. Talcum powder was also used as a filler to prevent slipping in latex gloves, although its use is being replaced with corn starch which is safer for inhalation. Talc is highly resistance to heat and electricity, and is therefore used in electronics and as an insulator. It is also a filler material for paints, rubber and insecticides.
Talc is also used as an ornamental stone, being carved into figures, jewelry boxes, tiling, and art sculptures. Since it is so soft, it is very easily cut and carved.
Although Soapstone comes from all over the world, it is primarily derived from Pakistan, China, and Brazil. Some Soapstone comes from Australia, Canada, and Germany as well. Each area has its own unique beauty and colors. Soapstone, which on the hardness scale is rated at one, compared to a diamond, which is ten, is nonetheless quite hard. It is also non-porous so it will not stain, like granite or marble. Water can not penetrate it, nor will it tear apart from freezing.
Quarried like Granite and Marble, Soapstone is a steatite stone, with its primary components being magnetite, dolomite, chlorite, and talc. It ranges in age from 300 to 400 million years old. True Soapstone is inert. Alkalis and acids, which affect granite, marble, and slate, do not affect Soapstone.
How to determine if your soapstone is real?
To determine if the piece that you have in your collection is true Soapstone, and not resin made from a casting mold there are two simple tests that you can conduct. To determine if your piece is a form of resin or plastic, heat up a standard straight pin, (the pin needs to be red-hot), then push the pin into the bottom of the piece in question. If the pin melts its way into the material then it is definitely NOT Soapstone. The other test that you can perform is to scrape some material off from the bottom of the piece. If it is real Soapstone, these shavings will have no odor and will feel like talcum powder, slippery to the touch.