Stone Selection: Schists & Soapstones
Schists are another a metamorphic stone. However, schists started out as a slate (which metamorphosed from shale and clay) rather than a limestone or sandstone. These stones (schists) can be either medium- and/or coarse-grained and sometimes retain the distinct layering of slate. The layers are less likely (depending on the material) to have a natural cleft than slate however due to the metamorphism that has occurred.
Soapstone is a sedimentary stone composed of talc and chlorite. Chlorite is what gives soapstone it's green colouring, hence the more chlorite present, the greener the stone will look. Talc is the mineral that will, if not oiled dry out causing the soapstone to become flaky. Talc also gives the soapstone it's slippery feel. Soapstone is very dense, but also easy to scratch and carve. It is the material of choice for chemistry lab countertops and also well suited for ornamental carvings.