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Steatite (Black Pipestone) for Carving

Steatite, also called Black Pipestone, is a soft metamorphic rock rather than a mineral. It is mainly composed of the mineral talc. Steatite is dense and close grained, with practically no stratification or natural cleavage lines and has a high transverse strength and high resistance to crushing.

On Mohs Scale of Hardness Steatite has a range of 2 to 5. Because of its high talc content, it's composition is mainly hydrated magnesium silicate. Also referred to as soapstone, Steatite also contains varying amounts of chlorite and amphiboles.

What makes this rock so nice for carving is that it resists the tendency to split, flake, chip or spall. Its texture is "soapy" to the touch, much like the red pipestone or catlinite. Steatite is light gray in color; however, when carved, polished, sealed with wax or oil and heated its color turns to a deep, rich hue of black.

You can also check out our Red Minnesota Pipestone for carving that special pipe.


In response to inquiries from our customers about wax for sealing and finishing Catlinite and Steatite pipes, we are now including a FREE, one ounce button of quality BEESWAX with every order; enough for finishing pipes or several smaller items.

international shipping


S414a BLOCK - Carving piece 6.75-7.5" x 5.0" x 1.75-2.0"
Angled corner.
S414b BLOCK - Carving piece 6.0-7.0" x 3.5-4.5" x 1.25-1.5"
Angled corners.

Standard Sizes

Piece # Size Price
1 7.25" x 4.25" x 1.75-2.0"
Nice piece.
2 6.0" x 3.5-4.0" x 2.0-2.25"
Angled corners.
3 4.9-5.0" x 4.25" x 1.5"
Nice piece.
4 4.25-5.25" x 2.5-3.25" x 1.25"
Angled corner
5 3.25-3.5" x 3.0-3.25" x 1.0-1.25"
Angled Corner. Nice for small project.

steatite pipe Dear Carl and Linda,
"I recently ordered a couple of blocks of pipestone to carve pipes with. One of Steatite and one of Catlinite. I ordered the Steatite to practice with before I started in carving the more expensive Catlinite. However the result I obtained with the Steatite far exceeded my expectations. The stone is wonderful to carve and takes a good polish. It goes from rasp to file, to 320 grit, 400, and finally 600 literally in minutes. Wow! Beeswax brings out a rich and beautiful black. Amazing stuff. Please find an attached photo of my first effort. Feel free to use it on your website."
David Smith




Supplying quality educational materials for teachers, collectors and other educational organizations since 1995.