The Smoke, the Mirrors, the Facts.
Used by permission from the Green Mountain Soapstone Newsletter
I have never really taken much time to view web sites of other soapstone distributors. My interest in this subject was raised while working our booth at Stone Expo, a fair amount on visitors pointed out how more and more soapstone “importers” are appearing on the web. I found this interesting, so I set aside a little time to do some research of my own.
The biggest and most common thing I found (the smoke) is that most “distributors / importers” of soapstone like to present themselves as the actually quarry. And if you read their words quickly as they want you to, then you would believe they are the quarry. Most have all the right words, such as “we have access to”, “we work with”, “our quarries”, “our Brazilian connection”, “the quarries are in the same region as”, etc. Then to support their claims some very nice photos of quarries (a few are ours when I looked closely) are displayed throughout the website. I found all this interesting since we are the only company that quarries and imports from its own quarries. One source, one brand.
Second (the mirrors) I certainly have missed the boat on how many different brands of soapstone have been found! Wow! I counted over 30 different names. Even with all my years in this business I found myself confused before I was done. Seems like every time someone finds a new boulder of soapstone it gets a new name. This probably comes from them working with brokers for material. A broker sources it, buys it and then sells it off to the highest bidder. Instantly you have a new soapstone entry into the market. Problem is seldom will you see that type of stone again. Often these are limited selections with no track history in the marketplace.
My favorites are the obvious fake entries (I doubt these are homeowners, but are the sales force of soapstone dealers) on blogs. As Joe Walsh sings “Seems to me”, those looking for advice on soapstone spend more time telling readers about where to buy it, how beautiful it is and how great a certain brand or distributor was to work with. These crack me up, I wonder how many of those folks know they are only convincing each other.
(The facts) are soapstone is not a material you want to play games with. Just because it comes from Brazil doesn’t make it architectural grade soapstone. In the granite market names don’t make much difference, the material itself will always be durable. With soapstone this in not the case. The percentage of talc content matters. Regular ASTM testing matters. Knowing the quarry location and history matters. Trusting the source, matters!
No smoke, no mirrors, only fact, we quarry the stone; we can take you to a quarry that we own not just take photos of and claim its ours. And NO we do not sell our material to folks outside of our network. Some may claim they have access to our quarry and as most people with a car, they do, they just cannot acquire it! – Rich Saypack