Soapstone, the common name for steatite, is made up of two mineral substances: talc, which gives it its “soapy” feel and magnesite, along with small amounts of other minerals including quartz. Soapstone has at least 50% talc and has been metamorphosed into stone by heat, pressure, and time. Soft, carveable artistic soapstone has a high talc content. Artists often use this kind of soapstone to carve small figurines, like Inuit whales and polar bears found in gift stores. Harder architectural soap stone contains 60-75% talc and is used for a range of applications, including sinks, countertops, floors, and hearths or stoves.