Soapstone is a metamorphic rock that is composed primarily of talc, with varying amounts of chlorite, micas, amphiboles, carbonates, and other minerals. Because it is composed primarily of talc it is usually very soft. Soapstone is typically gray, bluish, green, or brown in color, often variegated. Its name is derived from its "soapy" feel and softness.
Many people use the name "steatite" interchangeably with "soapstone." However, some people reserve the name "steatite" for a fine-grained un foliated soapstone that is nearly 100% talc and highly suited for carving.