How to repair an African soapstone carving

Old Jun 24th, 2009, 12:42 PM
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How to repair an African soapstone carving

I have a soapstone carving that I bought in Zimbabwe. The carving has a chip in it, and the chip is very noticeable. The carving is green in color, it is white where it has been chipped. Does anyone know what is used in Zimbabwe to polish the soapstone. i'd like to disguise the chip if possible.

Thanks in advance.
SWillams is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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Just do what they do--rub more shoe polish on it.
Gritty is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2009, 07:11 AM
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Are you sure it's soapstone, and not verdite? I ask because verdite is green, and I've never seen any green soapstone. I don't have any advice for you. I do know soapstone is very soft and prone to chipping and breaking.

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Old Jun 25th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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Before you fool with it too much, you should probably find out what kind of stone it really is. Verdite is now considered semi precious, banned from being mined in some areas and, therefore, more valuable. There are many different shades of serpentine including green. Soapstone is soft and scratches/chips very easily.

I used to own an art gallery and carried some exquisite South African pieces, mostly serpentine and verdite. I learned that serpentine stone when mined is colorless (white.) The artist has no idea what the finished piece will look like until it's polished! (Chipped soapstone has the same color underneath, just duller in finish.) The fact that your piece is white underneath makes me suspect that it's probably not soapstone.

When customers would occasionaly damage a piece in my gallery, the artist made repairs on serpentine using vegetable oil and a blow torch - not for the faint of heart.

Personally, I'd leave your piece alone. Unless you know a professional, you run the risk of doing further damage to something that you obviously love.

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