Soapstone is quarried like granite and marble. It is a steatite stone and its primary components are magnesite, dolomite, chlorite, and talc. It can range in age from 300 to 400 million years old depending on which part of the planet it is drawn from. Soapstone is inert, so alkalis and acids won’t affect it as they will a granite, marble, or slate. As talc in soapstone is soft to the touch, it gives the smooth feeling of rubbing a piece of dry soap.
Because of its truly remarkable and natural heat retention characteristics, soapstone is widely used for masonry heater fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace liners and pizza ovens. Soapstone heaters and fireplaces heat very quickly from burning coal, pellets or wood, the soapstone will then slowly radiate heat very evenly for hours on end – even after the fire has long gone out.