What Is The Difference Between A Rock And A Stone

Rock painting is a super enjoyable creative activity that is just as fulfilling when done alone, or together in a group. The kind of results that you can get from rock painting can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to, which means that beginners and experienced artists alike can enjoy the process of putting their designs onto a small, natural canvas.

The Difference Between Rock And Stone

And when it comes to rock painting, the name itself gives it away – you need to have rocks, in order to participate in rock painting. “But hold on a minute – aren’t rocks and stones the same thing?” you might ask yourself. Well, technically, yes – and no. Here are the differences between rock and stone.

What Is Rock

The word rock lends itself to imagery of big, towering pieces, with rough jagged edges and cliffs facing the open sea. However it can also basically mean a small piece that can be held in the hand rather than being lugged around using ropes and special tools.

In summary, a rock is made up of stone, and all kinds of other mineral matter that naturally occurs in the earth’s crust. They form in the crust and make their way into the earth’s surface in several ways, such as lava from volcanoes, or forming in deep underwater caves, or becoming fossilized deposits on the surface of the earth.

Types Of Rock

When it comes to rock, there are 3 types that are generally known, and these are Metamorphic, Igneous, and Sedimentary.

Metamorphic rocks are described as rocks that have become completely different from the initial rock they started out as. This is due to being subjected to high pressure, heat, and minerals as they go about their lifespan.

Igneous rocks are basically solidified lava from volcanoes, where it starts out as hot, molten, mineral-rich substances and solidifies when it comes into contact with water or cools down with exposure to air.

Sedimentary rock is rock that has been weathered down to a particular shape and size thanks to naturally occurring geological processes such as erosion, precipitation, and dissolution. They basically start out as large rock pieces that slowly become smaller and smaller due to exposure to the changing weather patterns over the years – one of the msot famous examples of sedimentary rocks is our very own Grand Canyon, in Arizona state.

What Is Stone

Stones are generally understood to be smaller rocks that can be held in one’s hand. However, it goes a little bit deeper than that. While it is true that stones and rocks are made out of the same thing, stones are actually combinations of different extracted minerals like limestone, or sandstone.

They are also not as layered as rocks can be, due to the fact that they have completely different structures and porosity levels as big rocks. In saying that however, the general understanding is that stones are the hard subtstances that combine to form the structure of natural rocks.

Types Of Stone

There are many different types of stone in the world, but the two most common ones are limestone, and sandstone, which is used in construction applications all over the world.


Limestone is a sedimentary rock, and it is composed of calcium carbonate, although it may contain some amount of magnesium carbonate in some cases. It is used as an essential component in the making of concrete and cement, and in road building applications all over the world. 


As its name suggests, sandstone is made out of tiny sand particles that are bound together into a cohesive solid mass thanks to the process of lithification which cements the entire stone together with the help of quartz, calcite, or clay. It is used mainly in medical applications and is a popular material in treating wounds and broken bones.

Sandstone has a very unique luster and pattern, because it is made out of compacted grains of sand that have been locked together over a very long period of time, and with the addition of other minerals such as quartz and calcite, many different layers and colors can be found in sandstone.

Is It Rock Or Stone

So we now know a little bit more about rock and stone, but how different are they, really? Well, in a general sense of the word, a stone is easier to hold, move and throw than a rock.

But when it comes to a scientific difference – stones are made out of rocks, and many little stones will make up a big piece of rock. The former process is much easier as all you need to do is break up a large rock to get stones, however, the latter process will take a much longer time to do – at least a million years or so!

So if you’re holding a rock or a stone in your hand, chances are you’re holding a piece of the earth’s natural history – so embrace it and showcase your creativity on nature’s natural canvas by painting your best designs on it! 

So What Is The Difference Between Rock And Stone

Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, rocks and stones are different in more ways than one, and hopefully, this article sheds a little bit of light on those differences.

Geologists use the word “rock” to describe any compacted mass of mineral matter, and which forms on the Earth’s crust. And they use “stone” to describe extracted material which is used in building purposes or any other application. Therefore, for a geologist, “stone” should be used in combination with prefixes, that form the words limestone, or sandstone for example.

No matter which term you choose to use, there’s no doubt that rock painting is an activity that goes deep into an almost primal human instinct that our earliest ancestors used to have when they painted on cave walls and rocks (and stones!). This is what makes rock painting such a fulfilling and enjoyable activity that can be done by children and adults of all ages, and is enjoyed worldwide.