Types of Stone
There are a wide variety of stones used in Zimbabwean sculpture.
Most are locally sourced and belong to the geological family Serpentinite. The stones sedimentary, having originally been laid down on a sandy seafloor, and classed also as metamorphic, since subsequent exposure to intense heat and pressure over hundreds of millions of years has transformed them into hard stone. Serpentines are rich in iron, so when the stone weathers/exposed to the element it can take on a rust colour.
“Zimbabwe literally means “house of stone,”
Stones used in Zimbabwean sculpture are locally sourced, and the country boasts an astonishing diversity of hard rocks that are used for carving, with colloquial names that convey the intrinsic beauty of the medium: green and lemon opal, fruit serpentine, multi-coloured cobalt, semi-precious stones such as purple lepidolite, verdite and dolomite and the lustrous black iron serpentine called springstone. These dense stones have extremely fine grains and uniform structure, making them ideal for expanding sculptural innovation and showcasing the technical skill of the artists.