Soapstone carving is so easy it's easy to make look difficult!
Time varies depending on how long it takes to achieve the carving you want.
I've done about half a dozen projects and this was the coolest and easiest. The only limitation is your imagination!
As for cost? To purchase soapstone can be spendy. But put your google to work and you may find it naturally like we have where I live.
A DREMEL would be great but it you're short on tools keep an eye out for the "Tool Guy" street vendor. They have lots of different size files and gritted tools. You can also find GREAT jewelry making tools.
I cut the stone into a rectangle with a hand saw.
I wanted it to look like the rock had been picked up and twisted.
The file I used had 4 different grits. Start big and work your way down.
After you get your shape, use big grit sand paper.
I have been told to use several different grits but if you have smooth enough stone, you can simply sand it down.
The one step you can not miss is using wet/dry sandpaper to finish.
Make sure you get into all the crevices or you'll have dry spots like on the pendant above.
The final step is adding the beautiful sheen. I know several people who use mineral oil but it doesn't last.
Varnish of any type yellows and flakes.
I used Tung or "gun barrel" oil. It sinks into the porous rock and I've never had to re-do it. (I did this about 8 year ago...)
Put on the oil in this layers and let dry in between. Three layers should do it.
I hope you find this a tempting project and a fun, easy carving challenge.