New Black Granite Skyfall Quarry

New Black Granite Exclusive to VSG

Exclusive to Victoria Stone Gallery, from Brazil, is our new favourite black granite, Skyfall.

This low maintenance, high-performing, jaw-dropping, black granite is perfect for those wanting a real statement piece – suitable for any application.

Skyfall is a new material quickly gaining recognition, come and see it for yourself!

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

The stunning Skyfall quarry is located near Cachoeiro, Brazil.

Our suppliers visit the quarry weekly to check out the blocks being produced, before selecting them for VSG.

The journey is inspected closely throughout its processing stage.

New Black Granite Skyfall Quarry

It is followed right up until it is seen out the door by VSG Brazilian-based director, Chris.

We’re proud to bring Skyfall Granite to Australia.

Get in touch with the team for retail or trade pricing, and sizes.

Shop the rest of our Granites!

Jet Black granite kitchen benchtop

Jet Black Granite – An Alternative to Zimbabwe Black

Jet Black Granite – An identical alternative to Zimbabwe Black

Jet Black is one of the finest-grain, natural black granites on the market.

The slabs are naturally the darkest, untreated, and best-performing.

Jet Black is one the hardest natural stones. Perfect for kitchen benchtops, bathrooms, fireplace surrounds, amongst many other applications. 

Available in the highest quality of all finishes; polished, honed and leathered.

Jet Black an alternative to Zimbabwe Black

Source: architecturaldigest.com

Shop Jet Black, a great alternative to Zimbabwe Black Granite.

Jet Black slab, alternative to Zimbabwe Black

Smeg's White Induction Cooktops

Induction Cooktops & Stone Benchtops

Induction Cooktops are hot on the market right now!

They are super-fast heating, instantly responsive to changes in temperature settings, easy to clean and look immaculately sleek.

These new-age stove tops generate heat using electromagnetism, rather than gas or electricity making them much more energy efficient out of the three. Induction cooktops cook food faster and lose less heat in the process as they generate heat directly to the pan.

We have had customers through recently asking if induction cooktops can be installed into natural and recon stone benchtops. And the answer is yes.

Here are some looks that we’re loving right now.


Smeg’s all-white induction cooktop. Also available in black – but look at how flawless it is on a Calacatta marble benchtop.

Smeg's White Induction Cooktops

Smeg’s all-white induction cooktop on Calacatta marble

 

Smeg's White Induction Cooktops

Smeg’s White Induction Cooktop

Binova’s invisible hob built into a recon marble-look benchtop.

Binova's invisible Induction Cooktops

Binova’s invisible induction cooktop


Convinced yet? Browse our catalogue online and see what stone surface you would pair with an induction cooktop!

NEW: Hard Marbles that behave & perform like a Quartzite or Granite


All photos are of actual stock.


Available exclusively at Victoria Stone Gallery.


Arrange a viewing to see the slabs and let us tell you more about them!


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Hard marbles being quarried in India

Hard Marbles from India / Less Worry in the Home

Often we have customers come into our gallery who have already ruled out picking marble as their natural stone kitchen benchtop or island. Some don’t want to deal with the maintenance and others are under the impression that all marble is too delicate.  This can be true if looking at Italian or Greek marbles which need a little extra TLC. They require being resealed more often and are more absorbent and porous compared to a quartzite or granite. But here, we have a huge selection of hard marbles from India and other parts of the world.

These are slabs that are classified as marble but perform like a quartzite or granite and are a perfect option for your home!

Geologically, how are these hard marbles harder than your typical soft marble?

From the beginning of the natural process, sedimentary stones start with limestone; a compacted seabed of crushed shells.  This is the softest and most porous of all the marble family. The top powdery layer of the limestone bed doesn’t contain any of the seashells but more of a fine powder of crushed shells and lime. This mix compacts very well and is what is called a dolomite.  Dolomites are typically harder than limestone, thanks to its fine powder that compacts better.

When the limestone or dolomites are further compacted with heat and pressure, they enter a metamorphism process and become marbles. If the compaction is extreme, this is when the resulting marble can turn harder and denser.  Think of Greek or Italian marbles not getting to this point, hence them being softer, less dense and more porous.  This stage in the process establishes the difference between soft marble and hard marbles.

There is no scientifically proven answer as to why these harder marbles are coming from Indian quarries.

Maybe because they have been quarrying for much shorter than the 2,000 years that the Carrara mountains have been excavated from. Some have speculated that the Indian quarries have been untouched for so long that the minerals have been left beneath the crust of the earth to crystallize under heat and pressure for a longer period. Or it could simply just be due to the forces of nature over millions of years.

Not only do these harder marbles quarried in North India outperform the Greek and the Italian marbles but they come in such a wide variety of different colours and patterns. They are also the noticeably inexpensive option. Here’s what’s out in the market:

Fantasy Brown is a well known Indian hard marble amongst the industry.  Its makeup, performance and its type is summed up perfectly below, from the article Is Fantasy Brown a Marble or a Quartzite?.

“It mostly does perform like a quartzite or a granite. It’s a great stone. Geologically it does have some calcium carbonate & thus is a marble. A very hard marble. Even so, we have never noticed it etch, but since there’s some calcium carbonate we called it what it is – marble (just in case).” – Jeff @ Architectural Granite and Marble, Ltd. (AG&M).

Other common Indian hard marbles are:

San Simone
Aba White
Mercury Black
Bruno White
Atlas Green
Cyprus White
Chateau Blanc
Rainforest Brown
Eclair White

As it goes for any stone, we do still strongly suggest to our shoppers that sealing is a must for these hard marbles.  The slabs are still compromised with calcium carbonate that reacts with acidic substances.  A sealer applied by an industry professional will protect and buy you much more time to wipe up spills that can react with marble!

 

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New Marble Arrivals at VSG

We have new marble arrivals and our warehouse is filling up quick! After just over a year here in Melbourne’s South East, we are about half way to full capacity of beautiful large format natural stone slabs. We love getting new shipments and arranging the new slabs in our gallery. Our most recent shipments have been of white marbles that are absolutely gorgeous. There’s nothing like seeing it in the flesh, so get in touch to make an appointment. In the meantime, here are some slab photos for you to enjoy.

Statuario Marble

A premium grade white marble from the famous Carrara region in Italy.

"Slab

Venatino Marble

Venatino is a very popular white and grey marble from Carrara. It is a super affordable Carrara marble, so is commonly used for domestic and commercial applications.

White and grey marble available at Victoria Stone Gallery

Venatino slab 2018

Elba Marble

Elba marble is a white and bluey-grey Greek marble, very popular in the Melbourne market. We have beautiful, clean, large slabs, 3 metres by 2 metres!

Slab of Elba Marble available at Victoria Stone Gallery

For more information on these, or any other of our stones just get in touch.

– The team at Victoria Stone Gallery.


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Green Marble Bathroom
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The Best Natural Stone Resources

The Best Natural Stone Resources

We found this article from Delgado Stone, offering advice on the best natural stone resources on the web. We think it’s pretty good, and regularly use these websites for inspiration when deciding what stones to import into Australia. If you’re looking to learn more about natural stone – look no further! Check out the list below. 

Houzz.

Anyone who has used Houzz for anything can attest how easy it is to get lost for hours (or days) on their website. One click leads to another which leads to another. It’s amazing to see some of the architecture and design work done with natural stone or any other product. Yes, there is a marketplace but if you are looking for design inspiration of any kind, Houzz should be your first stop.

Use Natural Stone

This is a great one-stop destination for anyone interested in the use of natural stone from around the world. A visit to usenaturalstone.com provides articles, videos, professionals, and links to countless other resources. If it has to do with natural stone they either have it on their website or they have a link to help you find it. We follow this website closely to learn about news, trends, and to share with a customer when they have questions. Don’t skip over this awesome natural stone resource.

Pinterest

You’re probably wondering why this isn’t #1. If it’s images you’re after, it’s images you’ll find on Pinterest. Here you will find quotes, images, recipes, design work… the list goes on. If you need images to inspire you go visit Pinterest… you will leave here with more inspirational images then you’ll know what to do with!

Architectural Record

We subscribe to the print edition and still follow this website closely. Most people think this website is for architects only but a quick visit tells a different story. They have something for everyone: Projects, Images, Continuing Education, News, and plenty of other information. Add the Architectural Record to your list of resources for building and design. You won’t be disappointed.

BSI + MIA

These two organizations recently merged to create a “Mega Resource” for the Natural Stone Industry. Following this organization will help anyone interested in the use of any natural stone: veneer, granite, quartzite, bluestone, marble… you get it. The Building Stone Instituteand Marble Stone Institute have joined forces and now provide one amazing resource for all of us in the building and landscape industry.

Stone World Magazine

When naming the best natural stone resources it’s tough to leave off Stone World Magazine. Like any magazine there are ads but if you look past that you find some excellent content and information. They continue to write great articles and feature industry experts to help generate more value to the reader. For those of you who are tech savvy, you can download their app and check it out on your phone or tablet.


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Fantasy Brown close up
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Is Fantasy Brown a Marble or Quartzite?

Fantasy Brown has just arrived at Victoria Stone Gallery! But there’s a bit of speculation over what sort of natural stone it is. Is it a Marble or a Quartzite? Long answer short, it’s a hard marble that performs like a Quartzite. This article that we came across today talks the science and formation behind this peculair stone, and discusses in detail whether Fantasy Brown is a Marble or Quartzite.


There are thousands of natural stones available in the world right now. But every now and then there comes a granite, marble, or quartzite that we just can’t get enough of, we get regular calls about, and homeowners simply must have.

Fantasy Brown is one of those stones. Cool gray waves and smooth swirls tumbling diagonally across the slab, stunning mineral formations, and the faintest hues of green and rose make this a truly unique stone. But what is it? Is it quartzite as so many fabricators label it or are the suppliers who categorize it as marble correct?

“It mostly does perform like a quartzite or a granite. It’s a great stone. Geologically it does have some calcium carbonate & thus is a marble. A very hard marble. Even so, we have never noticed it etch, but since there’s some calcium carbonate we called it what it is – marble (just in case).” – Jeff @ Architectural Granite and Marble, Ltd. (AG&M)

The answer is a little complicated. Most broad stone types like marble or granite include a wide variety of different mineral compositions. Some marbles are much harder than others, and the same goes for quartzite. So, the precise geological term for a stone is not always a guarantee of how the stone will last or stand up to normal wear and tear.

Technically Fantasy Brown is a Marble, but There’s More to the Story

Geologically speaking, it contains the mineral calcium carbonate, which is a defining feature of marble. However, it’s an extremely hard marble with a very low risk of etching or staining. In other words, it behaves like a quartzite.

“Because we can’t expect our clients to know the finer details of how each individual stone will perform in the kitchen, we classify them according to durability. That means that in our showroom, you will see Fantasy Brown labeled as a quartzite.” – Kasey King | Sales Consultant at Tate Granite | Tate Ornamental

Fantasy Brown Quartzite is a durable, reliable countertop choice. With proper sealing once to twice a year, you won’t have to worry about etching or staining. Quartzite is scratch resistant, but we don’t recommend cutting on your natural stone, as it will dull your knives!

Fantasy Brown

Actual photo of Fantasy Brown slab available at Victoria Stone Gallery

Marble vs. Quartzite? What’s the Difference?

Both are metamorphic stones. One of the three main types of rock (the other two are igneous, which includes granite, and sedimentary).

Marble is created when limestone is “recrystallized” through exposure to heat, pressure, and/or chemically-active liquids. These forces change the composition of the stone, leaving behind an interlocking pattern of white crystals. The swirls and colors found in marble are technically impurities. They occur when clay, sand, iron, and other materials find their way into the metamorphosing limestone.

“Marble is softer than granite and quartzite, which makes it more susceptible to scratches over time. The calcium in the stone means it may etch when exposed to acidic liquids like lemon or vinegar.” – Lauren Little Rhodes | Sales Consultant at Tate Granite | Tate Ornamental

“The stone is what I call a “combo stone”. It’s a combination of quartzite minerals and calcite. alcite being a soft mineral and quartzite being a hard one.  So this stone, depending on its density plus quartzite to calcite ratio, can be pretty darn durable but that durability will fluctuate with the ratio of quartzite to calcite in the slab. The more quartzite, the more durability. We have sold a lot of this material and have had rave reviews from customers on how much they love this stone. I think a lot of customer satisfaction comes with properly educating customers on the type of stone they are choosing and how to take care of it.” – Laura Bolen | OHM International, Nashville, TN

While marble comes from limestone, quartzite is created when those same “metamorphosing” forces of heat, pressure, and chemically-active liquids come into contact with sandstone. This difference is what gives quartzite its glassy surface. Quartzite can range from slightly harder than marble all the way to harder than granite.


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White and grey marble island top

Marble vs Quartzite – What are the differences?

Marble vs quartzite? Both are both naturally occurring rocks, that share similarities. Though they share certain functions and physical features, marble and quartzite differ greatly in geology so in turn, performance as a benchtop material.

Island bench made from white quartzite in a modern kitchen

White quartzite island benchtop

Chemistry of Marble and Quartzite

Marble is a mineral that is primarily comprised of calcite. Natural physical and chemical impurities add to this makeup, giving patterns and veining. Unlike marble, quartzite is not a mineral, it is made up of sandstone and quartz, both sedimentary rocks. Quartzite also takes on environmental impurities and inclusions, producing different colours.

How are Marble and Quartzite formed?

Both are metamorphic rocks, meaning that they are changed by pressure and heat, but don’t melt. Marble begins life as a limestone. Quartzite is made when quartz grains found in sandstone are fused under pressure and heat.

White marble quarry

Carrara Marble Quarry

What are the main features of marble?

Marble is white when pure and is much stronger than limestone, the rock from which it forms. Colours and patterns we see in our final marble slabs, are caused from impurities and inclusions introduced to the marble in the forming process. The common colours of marble are green, pink, black, beige, brown or grey. Marble has weak chemical bonds so is easy to quarry, carve and polish. These bonds also mean that marble is susceptible to attack from acid. To see if the stone is a ‘pure’ marble, it will fizz upon reaction with acids.

White and grey marble island top

Carrara marble island top

What are the main features of quartzite?

Like marble, quartzite is white when pure, and is much stronger than sandstone, the rock it’s from. Depending on the rock’s mineral impurities, quartzite takes on different colours and patterns. The most common colours of quartzite are white and dark grey. Unlike marble, quartzite is a tough and hardy material, being very resistant to chemical and physical weathering

Marble vs Quartzite – Countertop material?

Quartzite is commonly used as a construction material for benchtops, cladding and flooring. Many find it attractive as a benchtop choice as it so indestructible and requires little to no maintenance.

Marble is also used as a construction material for buildings, tiles, counter tops, cladding, floors and other architectural surfaces. As marble is softer than quartzite, it is also used for monuments and sculpture, as it is easily carved and sculpted. Marble is often used as a countertop material, despite it’s softness. To read more about marble and it’s performance, check out our post on marble and 5 facts you might not know.

 


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Super White Dolomite quarry in Brazil

All You Need To Know About Super White Dolomite

Super White Dolomite…

Is a fantastic natural stone option to have in the household for kitchen benchtops, island tops, splashbacks and bathrooms. It has the desirable marble-look, but Super White Dolomite is harder than a typical marble and comes in large-sized slabs. Here at Victoria Stone Gallery, we are fortunate to have a close relationship with the quarry, which is how we are able to secure a direct, consistent quality stone for Melbourne homes.

We have a lot of customers come to our Warehouse to check out this highly sought after, exotic stone. Here are some questions we are frequently asked…


Where is Super White from?

Super White is sourced and quarried from the South of Bahia, Brazil. They are then transported more than 800km to reach the city of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim (this is where our director lives!), here they are carefully processed, before being transported directly to Melbourne, Australia.

Super White Dolomite quarry in Brazil

Super White quarry, Brazil

There’s more than one type of Super White?

In the international stone market, there are four different types of SW. Super White Calacatta, Super White Arabescato, Super White Light and Super White Dark. In our Warehouse, we have a regular and consistent supply of Super White and Super White Calacatta. Each type is graded by the quarry depending on its tones and patterns. The grading reflects the price, offering affordable options.

Super White Dolomite Calcatta

Super White Calacatta available at Victoria Stone Gallery

What is Super White made out of?

The slabs are a unique makeup of dolomite and quartz. The large white parts are a dolomite marble, which is harder than a typical marble. The quartz veins running through the stone aid its structure.

If it looks like Marble, is it still durable?

Very! Don’t let the look delicate, marble-look let you wonder otherwise. Because of its make-up, Super White dolomite is less porous, stronger, resistant to heat, more durable and less prone to staining and etching

Super White Dolomite slab

Super White Dolomite available at Victoria Stone Gallery

So, Super White is very durable, does it still require much maintenance?

Super White is a great option for the household but still requires care and maintenance. It should always be sealed by your fabricator or installer and we recommend re-sealing it about once a year, depending on the usage and exposure to household products and sunlight.

Treat it like any other stone! Clean it on a daily basis, wipe spills up as soon as possible and don’t put hot pots and pans straight onto the surface.

What sort of finishes is it available in?

Polished, honed, semi-polished. Tip: a honed finish over polished will be more forgiving to any damage and act as extra protection. If you find a slab here that you love the look of but is only available in polished, speak to your stonemason about getting it honed!

Can the slabs be book-matched?

Yes, Super White comes book-matched.

Super White Dolomite Bookmatched

 


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