The history of stone carving handicraft begins in the 11th to 12th centuries. In those days colored stone products of unparalleled beauty and artistic forms were already being created.
The products are made from hard stones (jasper, rhodonite, chalcedony, jade, malachite, etc...), medium soft stone (such as marble, onyx and porphyry) and soft stones (e.g. gypsum, serpentine, calcite and selenite).
The early emergence of the handicraft, and the large number of talented artists in the Urals and Altai are both caused the fact that a lot of colored stone deposits were found in those areas. That is why the stones, their magical properties and their guardians are the main motifs of the Urals tales and legends, while stone carvers are often their main characters.
As for the present days, the stone carving handicraft has not been forgotten; soft-stone carving factories operate in the Arkhangelsk, Sverdlovsk, Perm and Irkutsk Oblasts, in the Krasnodar Region, the Urals, and in the Krasnoyarsk Region.
The craftsmen of the Urals give preference to animalistic motifs embodied in soft sculptural forms in their work, so, animal figures are among the most common works they produce. The technique of "Russian Mosaic" applied by the Ural craftsmen to carve malachite is now popular all over the world.
Tuvan craftsmen are more inclined to ritual and folkloric motifs, images of spirits in the form of dragons or other creatures or animals, embodied mainly in soft agalmatolit (a stone, combining light gray and pinkish-brown shades). It is the distinctive feature of their handicraft.
Nizhny Novgorod craftsmen carve stunningly beautiful boxes, vases and animal figures of anhydrite (a white stone with a golden hue and veins).
You will definitely find some adornment or trinket among the products of Russian stone carvers for yourself or your loved ones.