In designing contemporary fireplaces, the project commences with a basic design concept. Then a simple measured image is drawn up, which then is transformed into a life-size representation that permits a more detailed look at the moldings and the carving details so that more minute dimensions can be determined. After all of this information is ascertained, the details are sent to a stone mill, and the materials are ordered (10-ton blocks are commonly ordered as a starter piece, but each project will require something different).
At this point a three dimensional representation of the drawing will be created. Some artists describe this process, which is the most time consuming part of the creation of modern fireplaces, as "finding" the sculpture inside the stone block. The drawings are transferred to the stone to the exact measurements, with specific adjustments made according to needs. Then the images are shaped, and all the details are eventually carved out of the stone with specialized chisels, hammers and other tools. Then the pieces are shipped and delivered to wherever the fireplace is to be installed.