Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed from calcareous remains of plants and animals or precipitated from solution. Often contains remains and fossils of sea creatures. It is natural Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) and will yield lime when heated. Does not show much graining or crystalline structure. It has a smooth granular surface. Varies in hardness. Some dense limestones can be polished but will never be as shiny as marble or granite. Color tones are typically neutral.
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock. Because of its high talc content, soapstone may feel “soapy” when touched, hence the name. There are two different kinds of stone, popularly called soapstone. Talc, the softer of the two, is used for carvings. The other is called Steatite. Steatite is harder than Talc and commonly used for countertops, sinks, lab benches, fireplaces and ovens. Soapstone is used for inlaid designs, sculpture, coasters, and kitchen countertops and sinks. Due to its ability to absorb and evenly distribute heat, it is also used for fireplace surrounds and woodstoves.