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I chose to buy these instead of the stainless steel ones because there are more "rocks" here than in the stainless steel set. Upon opening the box, the soap stones had an earthy smell and were a little slippery to the touch when I got them wet. I rinsed them off with dish soap and water, dried them and placed them in the freezer overnight. I used them in my water glass today. I think you need to use several (I only used three) in order to really cool down your drink (12 oz). Maybe they aren't meant for water, and for spirits instead (will update my review when I use them that way). Anyhow - I was worried that with the initial earthy smell, that there would be some lingering taste in the water, but I was pleased to find that there is none! I like the idea of these and hope they work as well in my spirits and wine.