Soapstone varieties

home4all6October 30, 2012

I have been planning on soapstone in my new kitchen for years, one of the very first things I knew I must have.

And now the time is quickly approcahing, and I have to figure this out NOW!

I am looking for something with not too much veining or movement, very dark, black or gray but not green. Low-ish maintenance and durable enough for a large bustling family of 6.

So, I am copy/pasting my notes on the many and varied types of soapstone, which I have compliled to helpme as I go to the stone yards and see what I can see here in the Chicagoland area.

I thought I'd share it here, for posterity--it's kind of a compilation of things I've learned here on GW.

It's by no means a complete list, so please feel free to comment and/or add on.

Soapstone varieties:



Belvidere--hard, but turns gray quickly?

Church hill--hard to find

green mountain--avail at hummingbird

"We have a large island of Original PA soapstone from Green Mountain Soapstone and 7 months later it looks the same as when it was installed. I don't notice any scratches and certainly no dings. We used the wax they sell as well and have only applied it twice. It is pretty durable for sure and not a hint of green. Green was a no go for me as well."



NOT barocca--soft!

not santa rita venata--too soft

Old Dominion--hard to find--also too soft

Bucks county?

Quiet Beleza?

Dark Noir?


Mariana from walker zanger (shareher's kitchen)

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Hi. My opinion about Green Mountain Original P.A-it is hard and if you do get a scratch it either blends in or you can sand it out). It is very durable with nice veining but not overpowering. You can call Green Mountain to get an authorized dealer near you. I am so happy I didn't use granite/caesarstone-nothing wrong with them but I knew SS would look best.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 9:42PM
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I have Anastacia which I LOVE. It is on the harder side, but not the hardest. I have been living with it in my kitchen for about six months and have no problems with the durability. I get some scratches, but they don't bother me/aren't noticeable.

Mine has tonnes of green though. I love it for its moodiness. The green really comes out with oiling and with bright or direct light. From a distance or in lower light conditions it reads black, then come up close and turn on some more light and SHAZAM. You have this fantastic green! You might be able to find some slabs without very much green that can be minimized with your layout if you get lucky, but if green is absolutely out then Anastacia might not be the stone for you.

My island:

Of note I have Anastacia on both perimeter and island. The perimeter is definitely quieter, and looks mostly black in this photo. The middle section of my perimeter is from one slab cut in half pieced dark to dark. It is definitely a less vein-y and less green section of the stone. Here's a crummy mid-reno photo of that same section, but it illustrates the green that is still visible, you can see the edge of the sink to give you perspective of where on the perimeter this piece is located. If you do your best to ignore the large, circular, white dust flecks in the photo (one of the large white circles is the cutout for my instahot) you can still see the significant amount of patchy green that is in this piece.

Good luck with your search, hope you find a stone that you can love!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 3:33AM
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I'm also in the market for soapstone and have been doing some shopping/research about varieties available in my area (Maryland). I plan to post a comprehensive summary of the businesses I interview very soon. In the meantime...

I had a long conversation with a Sales guy at Green Mountain about a month ago. He told me that their P.A. quarry is not producing at this time. Brazilian authorities have not renewed the quarry's permit in order to control supply. The quarry may come back online in a few years. Or, maybe not.

So, for now, Green Mountain is getting its soapstone from another quarry about 50 miles away (give or take). This product is called "Majestic" and is just starting to reach the US. Good luck finding a distributor that knows it by this name. Everyone I speak to simply says "Soapstone is soapstone. It doesn't matter what it's called." Sigh.

According to the guy I spoke to, Original PA was about 25% talc, hence it's hardness. He said the Majestic seems to be about 35% talc. I touched a slab last week and it didn't scratch nearly as easily as my Barocca samples did. So I'm hoping that's a good sign.

Anyway, in addition to the Barocca you've listed, I'm finding that "Smoke" and "Smoke Leather" are two names that keep popping up around here (Maryland). Nobody can tell me where it's from, but I've seen it at 3 distributors/fabricators.

This weekend I'm going to see some Old Dominion. I'm so bummed to read home4all6's description that it's soft. Oh, well. I'll still take a look.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 7:54AM
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I'm saving for soapstone and I'm in Maryland. My fabricator will be Granite Grannies, but they'll get the stone from wherever I choose -- or they do. They don't care. :)

I'll link to this thread, because I want to see what you come up with! Good luck!


    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:49AM
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We have smoke soapstone in our kitchen; we are in the PNW. We love it; it is very grey with quiet veining, if that makes any sense. But-it IS on the softer side. We were in VA a few weeks go and toured Alberene Soapstone and saw a lot of Old Dominion. It is very similar in looks to ours but again, on the softer side (the person we talked to said it was ~3.8).
A photo of ours:

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Joining this thread to watch for replies! I love soapstone and am going to,find room in the budget for it!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 12:42PM
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I have the Belvedere installed in my kitchen for over a year now. Definitely harder than most stones. It does scratch, but minimally, and is much better since I re-honed it down to 80 grit.

My neighbors have a much softer stone that looks like Barroca and they are not happy with it at all due to softness and scratching, but they didn't really research their choice before they got it, so weren't expecting that.

The color of mine is always grey/black, with only a couple pf spots of greenish, that I never really notice, but I didn't want green either. Your comment says it "turns gray quickly". I don't oil but 2 or 3 times a year and after one year, I have noticed it's starting to be blacker in color, while still on the dark gray side. I love this stone- really easy to clean and I get a ton of compliments on it's beauty and movement.

Here's a photo of just the stone, shortly after I wiped it down with only water so you can see the difference in looks of oiling the stone. With oil on it, it appears to give the stone a depth that's hard to describe. In this photo it does look a bit greenish, but it doesn't to the natural eye. Also there's a shot of my lovely runnels in just plain dry stone.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Thanks for all of these replies! I appreciate all the input--it's all quite confusing and overwhelming! Just to clarify, this is all info I have gleaned from the collective wisdom of GW. I haven't touched or seen (or licked) a single slab yet. Looking forward to see what is available in my area soon. We won't need it until the beginning of 2013 so I don't feel too pressured just yet :)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Just to update here...
I recieved my samples from Dorado today. And it's a slew of varieties I haven;t heard of, of course :)
1. Noire--very dark, honed
2. Porte Alegre--very green, "crystally" looking. I would have called this a granite, but it's extrememly soft, easily gouged with fork
3. Pratima--oil is drying up quickly, has white veining
4. Indigo--looks a bit more varied, not as dark overall
5. Minas--very light when unoiled, very soft
6. Beleza--fairly dark, very little white veining, almost has a "woodgrain"appearance in it's coloring. fairly hard.

I will post some pics during naptime.

Anyone heard of or used these??

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:07PM
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A fabricator told me Noire is actually a schist, not a soapstone.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 3:07PM
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marcolo, thanks for that bit of info. So, what does that mean? I think the Noire is my is the darkest and the hardest. It's kind of velvety to the touch.

Here are a few photos, with a link to the album:

After oilingand scratching:

I scratched them all with a fork, in the same location, on the line between the oiled and unoiled parts.

Here is a link that might be useful: dorado soapstone photos

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 3:35PM
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I received a sample of Old Dominion the other day in the mail.

The good news: it didn't scratch as easily as my Barocca samples.

The bad news (for me): No veins. Just a very dark, grey, foggy appearance. True, the sample is only 5" x 5". But, I was a little discouraged by the lack of veins.

I'll see a full slab this weekend. Maybe I'll like it better.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 4:03PM
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peridot-we saw a lot of Old Dominion from Alberene SS a few weeks ago and the veining varied from not much, as you described, to a fair amount. Some was pretty similar looking to ours.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 4:12PM
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peridot- All of my Old Dominion has a good amount of veins, not too much or too little. Hope you like the bigger slab but if it does not have much veining you can call Alberene and speak with them, they were very helpful when I bought counters from them.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 5:19PM
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We have green minas in our kitchen and we love, love, love it. And we've been using the kitchen for over a year and there have been no scratches or chips. And it's a beautiful color of green.

We bought the soapstone from Teresina Soapstone in California and they shipped it to us in Oregon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laurelhurst Craftsman Soapstone

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:10PM
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I love the Noire! it looks as if it held up to the scratch testing well. I am hungrily reading this thread as I am now about to begin the Soapstone hunt.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:00AM
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In the lower right you can see my Noire sample from Dorado. Very striated veining and um, a slight problem.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Marcolo, did you drop the Noire from the roof of your house as part of your testing?!
We have PA and love it, but yes, I took the last slabs from my fabricator. Not sure if anyone has any left. The moderate veining can read a little green in certain light and when oiled. I haven't had time to oil it in two months but I'm loving the unoiled. It's aging very nicely, and darkening and the veins seem less green. The thing about soapstone is the color will change over time and depending on care, but for me that's the beauty of it!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:21PM
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I got the following samples from Old Dominion: Old Dominion, Alberene, and Church Hill. They didn't have Climax at the time. I could easily scratch (actually CUT) the edges with a butter knife. I know the edges are the most sensitive, but it was bad. I also dropped a couple objects from 6 inches and 10 inches (a coffee mug, a plate, and a knife). I don't remember which one chipped the soapstone, but there was one that chipped all of them. It was very beautiful, and I still long for it, but it just wasn't a good fit for our countertops.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:40PM
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The Noire arrived cracked, right in the well-packed box. Not a great sign, I thought.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:33AM
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