Although soft to the touch, like a bar of soap, soapstone is incredibly strong and durable. It is a natural stone that is mostly magnesium and talc, and the Native Americans used it for cookware, because it has tremendous heat distribution capability. The stone is also fantastic for inlays, including fireplace mantels and surrounds, sculptures, sinks, and even kitchen countertops.
This material can stand up to hot pots, pans, and casserole dishes that you place on your countertop. To protect the stone, you’ll want to use hot pads, but you don’t have to. It’s durable enough to take abuse much like granite does without damage. The only thing that happens to soapstone as it ages is it darkens some, but this natural patina enhances the stone’s beauty.