Sourced from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, soapstone comes in various shades: grey, pink and yellow. Large soapstone blocks are cut and roughly shaped in factories on the outskirts of town. With the help of electric machines, the stones are cut to approximate the size and form of the desired end product. If the end product requires a round shape or needs to be hollowed out, this is achieved using an electric lathe. From here the stone pieces are sent for job work to units where artisans specialize in carving. The carving work is done by skilled artisans who reside within the city of Agra. Very basic tools are used to carve fine designs. The artisans have also mastered the art of carving out forms within forms – a technique locally known as ‘undercut’. Once used in large architectural applications, the stone carving of Agra is now mostly done on small products such as jewellery boxes, vases and lamps. Designs are mostly geometric or floral.