Soapstone has its roots in New England, but as the years have passed the once bustling quarries of Vermont and New Hampshire have slowed and eventually closed. Nearly all the soapstone brought into the US market today is imported from Brazil or India. There is one US quarry that still produces soapstone, the Albarene Quarry in Virginia.
Alberene Soapstone Co. was founded in 1883 and is the only remaining supplier of American soapstone. Originally used by American Indians to carve bowls and cooking slabs, after the industrial revolution soapstone became the go-to material for chemistry labs, hospitals, even famed jewellers Tiffany’s used soapstone for their acid tanks. As the 20th-century progressed soapstone made its way into homes as laundry tubs and griddles and was used commercially for electrical components.
During its peak in the 1920s, Alberene was the nation’s largest soapstone producer, operating on 6,000 acres and employing up to 1,000 workers. However, numerous ownership changes and sporadic production cycles nearly shuttered the operation until a group of investors bought the company in 2010 and reopened a dormant quarry.
We are proud to offer US quarried soapstone to our New England customers. Churchill soapstone offers all the great qualities of soapstone, a metamorphic rock, soapstone is nonporous; heat, acid and bacteria-resistant; and feels slightly “soapy” to the touch. It contains talc and has a veined, somewhat mottled appearance. Churchill typically has a plain charcoal gray color before mineral oil treatment, becoming black with subtle white veining after mineral oil application.
Interested in Soapstone for your home? Get a quick quote here. We have beautiful displays and samples in our Boston Design Center showroom, visit us to learn more.
Is Soapstone right for your kitchen? Read more here.