Italian Alabaster – (Hardness 2.0). Alabaster is mostly white in color, but sometimes it will have hints of other soft colors as well. Sometimes referred to as Selenite or Gypsum. Alabaster is the stone of art excellence for sculptors due to its characteristic features. It is a crystalline form of the mineral gypsum, geologically formed millions of years ago as prehistoric lakes evaporated. It is white in its pure form but often has translucent veins or clouds within it.
Alabaster is considered a drawing stone, meaning that it has the ability to draw things to you or draw things away from you depending on what your needs are. It removes negativity and soothes nerves. It is said to be a well-known light amplifier, bringing forth pure white light healing energy around its user and assisting the user to concentrate and think more clearly. The white color summons the spiritual. Alabaster does best with a sun cleansing.
Black Chlorite – (Hardness 2.0 – 3.0). This term is often used to distinguish a group of similar minerals, but is often treated as one mineral. Most often in shades of green to black, but can be found in other colors. Due to its common occurrence with Talc and its relative softness, it is sometimes classified as soapstone. The finish on this stone is amazing, with a high gloss black. I love carving creations from it. In raw form it looks a dull gray, but once you sand and polish it the beautiful shine comes out.
Chlorite is considered one of the most powerful healing stones. It cleanses and purifies the aura, chakras and other energy centers. It can remove negative energy of all kinds including; anger, hostility, illness and others. Creatively, it promotes a state of inspiration. The energy that chlorite brings to healing and the environment is extraordinarily positive. Chlorite is excellent in crystal and folk healing and is used to eliminate toxins from the body. It is particularly healing to the cells and helps their balance. It brings in energy to enhance cooperation and stimulates one’s personal affinity. It is also an extremely positive mineral and can help a person to visualize and create a more positive future.
African Wonderstone – (Hardness 2.0-3.0) Is a type of rhyolite but also covers Pyrophyllite. The most well known is a dark grey to black variety found in Africa, although there are additional occurrences in many countries throughout the world in a variety of colors. Obviously due to its hardness, it is a bit tougher to work with hand tools but it still is possible. I like the African Wonderstone due to its dense and solid structure. Sometimes you come across variations within the gray color which is unique.
Pyrophyllite, which is a phyllosilicate mineral composed of aluminium silicate hydroxide: AlSi2O5OH, is a metamorphosed clay. The clay was formed by the alteration of volcanic ash, which apparently accumulated at the bottom of a quiet body of water. It forms a dense, but soft light grey, or darker grey stone. The strata, in which it occurs, is a 3.0 to 3.1 billion year-old volcanic sediment layer.
Originally, pyrophyllite was quarried and used for building stone, ornaments and utensils such as pots, dishes and cases. Currently, it is milled and processed to produce material used for the production of a wide variety of products. They include acid-resistant lab ceramics, refractory bricks and linings, filler in paint, electrical insulation, boilermaker's chalk, chromic-acid purification pots, and crucibles used in the manufacture polycrystalline-diamonds. Blocks of pyrophyllite are stilled quarried and sold as either "Wonderstone" or "African Stone" for sculpting. It can be carved with rasps and power tools and finished with a beautiful polish
Wonderstone is characterized as an excellent meditation stone, and it enhances creativity. It brings energies of tranquility, emotional balance and helps eliminate worries. It also helps reduce depression and anxiety, giving an overall sense of well-being. Wonderstone can also bring mental clarity in activities and give insight into the right course of action. It stimulates courage in speech and action, and is known to some as a stone of perseverance, resolve and protection.
Colors: Some pure minerals occur mainly in one distinctive color, others may occur in many different colors. For the purpose of sculpture the purity of stone is not really a factor assuming that the impurities do not affect the ability of the stone to be carved. Because most stones are often a mixture of minerals it is possible to find the same types of stone in a never ending variety of colors and patterns. Aside from the carving process, that is what makes each stone art piece unique.
About the Stone:
Stones which are typically used include: Brazilian Soapstone, African Wonderstone, Alabaster and Black Chlorite. Below are some general characteristics associated with the various stones which I am presently using for my art.
Soapstone – (Hardness 1.0) Most commonly used to describe a stone that is predominately composed of talc from with its slippery feel it got its name. As a generic term it has sometimes been used to include stones that are often geologically related to Talc (eg. Chlorite, Pyrophyllite, Serpentine, and Wonderstone) and occasionally is applied to stones that are not related to talc at all. Soapstone has had many uses, including industrial use for countertops, sinks, cookware and hearths due to its resistance to heat, electricity, chemical, and anti-bacterial characteristics. Archaeological discoveries have shown that Talc was carved in ancient Babylonia to make signature seals. I like using Soapstone as it is relatively easy to carve with standard hand tools. Although the typical colors are brown or green, there are others as well and each can have some nice variations within due to other mineral inclusions. It also finishes very nicely.
Soapstones metaphysical properties include treatment for skin problems. It is said to provide comfort to people in how to deal with issues, and development of personalities. It gives the wearer a sense of ambition and calm, assisting in getting used to new situations and to embark on new adventures and challenges. Regeneration of its energy can be achieved by burying it in the ground for a few days.