Posts

Blue Roma Quarry - A Definitive Guide to Quartzites

The Definitive Guide to Quartzite

Use Natural Stone is a great online resource for learning everything natural stone.  Here’s a great article we found on a Guide to Quartzites. It answers a lot of commonly asked questions about one of our favourite Brazilian stones.

Read the full article, The Definitive Guide to Quartzites by  Karin Kirk here.


The Definitive Guide to Quartzite

Quartzite may be the most confusing natural stone out there. A quick internet search will reveal an unsettling disparity of information. Some people say it etches. Some say it doesn’t. Sometimes you hear it’s a hybrid between marble and granite. Yet, others report that it’s harder than granite. Which is it? Why are there such conflicting reports about quartzite?

Let’s use my favourite tool – geology – to suss out the answer to this mystery.

I’ll get right to the point: quartzite is commonly mislabeled. Some quartzite is the real deal, but sometimes marble or dolomitic marble are labelled as quartzite. Because each of these stones behaves differently, people might understandably conclude that quartzite is variable. But it isn’t; quartzite has very consistent properties. Unfortunately, it has variable labelling.

Emerald Green - Victoria Stone Gallery

Emerald Green Quartzite at VSG.

What is quartzite?

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock made almost entirely of the mineral quartz. Quartzite begins its geologic life as sand grains, perhaps on a beach, desert dune, or riverbed. Over time, the sand grains become compressed and stuck together to form sandstone. If the sandstone gets buried ever more deeply underneath layers of rocks, it gets hotter and more compressed. With enough heat and pressure, the sand grains lose their original shape and fuse to their neighbours, forming a dense, durable rock. The process is similar to individual snowflakes merging into solid, glacial ice.

Quartzite is usually white or light-coloured because quartz sand is light coloured. Additional minerals carried by groundwater can impart hues of green, blue, or ion-red. Van Gogh and Azul Macaubas quartzites are examples of vivid colouring.

Regardless of colour, quartzite is made of one thing: quartz. That’s helpful because quartz has distinct properties that make it easy to tell apart from other minerals. (Note I’m talking about the mineral quartz, not the composite countertop material that is also named quartz.)

Properties of quartzite

Hardness

You needn’t be a geologist to appreciate the hardness and durability of quartzite. Not only does this make for a tough stone, but it also makes it easy to tell quartzite from the imposters. Quartz is 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. That means it’s harder than glass and harder than a knife blade. These things are easy to test with a sample of stone.

Mohs Hardness Scale - A Definitive Guide to Quartzites

If a rock that is labelled as quartzite is soft, then it was mislabeled. The unfortunate term “soft quartzite” has emerged to try to explain why a rock that is labelled quartzite is actually not hard and durable like real quartzite. There is no such thing as soft quartzite though. There is only one kind of quartzite and it’s hard. A rock labelled as soft quartzite is most likely marble.

Resistance to acids

Quartzite will not etch from acids like lemon juice or vinegar. If a rock labelled as quartzite becomes etched from acid, then it’s been mislabeled. Marble and dolomitic marble, on the other hand, will etch from these acids. Dolomitic marble etches slightly more slowly than regular marble. But quartzite will not etch at all from normal kitchen acids. Not one little bit!

Porosity

Quartzite has a range of porosities. Some, like Taj Mahal or Sea Pearl, have been highly metamorphosed, and the minerals are bonded together tightly. White Macaubas and Calacatta Macaubas have been exposed to less intense pressure, so they are more porous and will benefit from sealing.

Things that do not help distinguish quartzite from non-quartzite

The country of origin, price, or the name of a stone are not reliable indicators of what type of rock you’ve got. In many cases, it’s not even possible to tell marble and quartzite apart visually.

What’s the difference between quartzite and granite?

Granite is a whole separate category of rocks that form from liquid magma. Visually, granite has distinct flecks of darker colours in it, while quartzite has either no dark colours at all or has subtle, flowing areas of different colours.

Sometimes quartzite is mislabeled as granite, which is not the worst mistake because they have similar properties. Granite and quartzite are both harder than glass, and neither will be etched by acids. Geologically, they are different classes of rocks, but that is less important than how they will behave on a countertop or as floor tile.

Shop our range of Quartzites.


Related Posts

Carrara Marble Quarry

Builders Turn to Carrara Marble Quarry

The Carrara mountains in Italy have been producing beautiful white marble since antiquity. In modern times, they produce the most volume of marble in the world

Read the article below for an insight into how Italy’s Carrara Marble Quarry is standing now and still one of the most desirable choices of stone.

Browse our range of Carrara marble.

 


Builders Turn to Italy’s White Gold

There is no end to demand for ‘Italy’s white gold.’

For many people, that white gold is not metal but marble from the town of Carrara in Tuscany. The marble mining work in Carrara is ancient. Workers first began removing stone from the mountains of Tuscany more than 2,000 years ago.

The ancient Romans were the first to recognize the beauty of the marble. Millions of people still go to Rome to see famous monuments made with the stone. Two examples are the Pantheon and Trajan’s Column. And then there are famous statues like the David and the Pietà by the sculptor and painter Michelangelo.

So what is happening in Carrara today?

A visit to modern day Carrara

Sculptors, other artists and designers of buildings have never stopped making trips to the Tuscan town.

M.J. Anderson, an American, first visited Carrara 36 years ago, when she started creating sculptures. She loved the look of the beautiful stone.

Anderson says she likes to take things apart. “The great thing about carving marble is that once that stone is gone, it’s gone. You can’t lament about it and this keeps you moving forward in the creative process,” she said.

Sculptors like Anderson know they are dealing with something very special.

“There’s no surprises when you are carving it. The molecules are put together very well and there’s so many different kinds of marble here. That’s what’s so special.”

That is what is bringing in orders and big money from all over the world. Carrara’s marble is in great demand in the Arab world and in countries like China, India and Thailand. Buyers want the material to use in the rooms and floors of their homes. Others want art made of the stone. For example, a few years ago, a request came for a huge block of marble to be used in a massive statue of Buddha.

An increase in the building of mosques and Islamic centres, especially in the Arab world, has meant even more demand and big business for some marble companies.

The Saudi Binladin Group, one of the world’s largest builders, got control of 50 percent of Marmi Carrara in recent years. Marmi Carrara owns a third of the marble quarries that are operational in the area today.

“Just the name Carrara basically says it’s the world’s best marble. It is the most beautiful. It has a centuries’ long history of being the best marble in the world and people come here looking for and wanting the very best,” Anderson said.

Read the full article here.

The biggest quartz slabs, Trendstone XL.

Quartz Slabs Just Got Bigger | Trendstone XL

Reconstituted Stone Slabs in an increased size, so your quartz kitchen tops can be bigger without the hassle.

The biggest quartz slabs, Trendstone XL.

Trendstone XL – the world’s biggest quartz reconstituted stone slabs.

It is rare to get any sort of slab past the 3-metre long mark. Long slabs are desirable in many cases, as smaller slabs have limits on what you can do. With Trendstone XL, there is less wastage, less labour required and turn around time faster. This all means saving money for everyone involved, the stonemasons, builders and the end user.

Trendstone XL is only available in Australia at Victoria Stone Gallery in Dandenong, Melbourne. Customers, both trade and private, can buy from us. Bulk orders for projects are welcome. Trendstone XL is open for other distributors to make contact, if interested, please reach out to us here at Victoria Stone Gallery.

<p><strong>Please include attribution to www.victoriastonegallery.com.au with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=’https://victoriastonegallery.com.au/quartz-slabs-trendstone-xl/’><img src=’https://victoriastonegallery.com.au/cms/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Trendstone-XL-jumbo-quartz-slab.jpg’ alt=’Trendstone XL, the biggest reconstituted quartz slabs.’ 540px border=’0′ /></a></p>

ThinkGlass Countertop photographed by John Stillman
,

Marble Countertop – Where The Kitchen Starts

Granite and Marble Countertop in the Kitchen.

In a well-designed kitchen, prep space is key. The countertop often stands out simply because it covers so much space, especially as the kitchen becomes a primary living area, and islands become the norm.

“We know the countertop and island are playing a much more prominent role in kitchen design. And now everything starts with the stone or marble countertop,”. Says Nick Harris, v.p. of marketing at Caesarstone U.S. in Northridge, CA.

“Designers are working with homeowners to make sure the workspace is visually appealing. But also utilized to its fullest potential. Simply put, the goal for today’s kitchen is form and function, with sleek, orderly and multi-purpose living spaces,” says Mar Esteve, director of marketing for Neolith by TheSize, headquartered in Almazora, Spain.

Because surfaces are so prominent, there is great demand for variety, and the field has never been wider. Manufacturers are creating new colours, patterns and even new materials that allow homeowners to personalize their space with surfaces that perfectly suit their desired style.

Aesthetically, neutral tones are on top. The look of natural materials – stone or wood – is often a top priority. Finishes are trending toward a textured, matte appearance rather than high-gloss, shiny surfaces. At the same time, designers are getting creative with mixing and matching materials to give the space a unique flair. Creative edging choices, such as waterfall edges that reach from stone or marble countertop to floor, are also on the rise.

NATURAL AND NEUTRAL

The kitchen’s large and growing expanse of countertop space has many designers and homeowners looking to blend these surfaces seamlessly into the overall design rather than drawing too much attention to themselves. This creates a trend toward neutral tones and lends itself well to the earthy colours of natural stone or wood.

WATERFALL EFFECT

A pull toward the natural world is not only prompting designers to lean toward materials that have the appearance of natural stone or wood, but also to mimic the way that elements flow in nature. The waterfall edge on a kitchen island presents surfacing material in a clean, continuous line from the top of the counter to the floor, much like water cascading off a mountainside.

“Waterfall islands are a big trend in the design industry,” says Massimo Ballucchi, marketing director at Stafford, TX-based Cosentino North America.The increase of square footage in kitchens has allowed for these spaces to include islands and additional surface space.

Becker says, “Kitchens are increasingly becoming the showpiece of the house. And we’ve seen an uptick of islands becoming the central point of the design. Designers are using this as an opportunity to experiment with waterfall edges, extra-large seamless surfaces and using different materials. Including colours and textures, in the same space.”


LESS SHINE, MORE TEXTURE

Regardless of material choice, matte finishes and increased texture are increasingly being chosen for surface finish. “Textures are becoming more popular in both engineered and natural materials. Ranging from a matte or honed finish to a textured or leathered finish,” Congress states.

Becker agrees: “Leather- and matte-type finishes have become increasingly popular throughout the last year. And will continue to grow in 2018.”

This trend is consistent across a range of materials. “Texture is slowly moving from ‘look at me’ glossy on stones to matte with subtle textures for stones” adds Chmiel. “Honed or slate looks for stone remain popular,” she adds.

MARBLE COUNTERTOP? GRANITE? QUARTZ?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which material to use in a countertop. Design and colour are the first considerations, says Mays. Then homeowners are looking at durability and how easy the surface is to clean and sanitize.

“When you consider all of these needs, it’s clear why quartz and laminate are the materials that are leading the market,” she states.

Quartz has that natural stone look and feel, as well as the easy cleanup and scratch and stain resistance, so it has been a big draw for homeowners.

But we’re also seeing laminate as an in-demand material. Homeowners are drawn to laminate because of its lower price point, and with advanced printing technology, today’s designs can also provide that natural, neutral style that’s been trending.” 

Kath sees quartz continuing to grow more and more among those who can really afford it. With consumers able to research and easily learn what options exist, and what’s best for their lifestyle, they tend to choose quartz because of its beautiful appearance without the worry.

Read the full article at www.kitchenbathdesign.com and have a browse at our online catalogue for your new granite or marble countertop!

Related Posts

Photo of Dajaman Contemporary Kitchen by Christine Hill
,

Kitchen Benchtop Renovations – How To and Why

The Kitchen: It’s Important

The kitchen can be a make-or-break room for potential buyers, so if yours is looking a little worse for wear and you plan to sell in the near future, a renovation might be a smart move. But which upgrades will make you a profit? Benchtop? Cabinets? We’ve asked a panel of four experts to reveal all.

Kitchen Benchtop

Photo by Proper Photography

“There are two simple rules when renovating a kitchen,”

says architect Steffen Welsch of Melbourne firm Steffen Welsch Architects. “Don’t half do it and don’t do it on the cheap. A kitchen is an important space – it needs to be cohesive and everyone appreciates quality.”

Jenefer Macleod, the principal designer at eat.bathe.live, concurs, adding: “Potential buyers are pretty savvy and will notice if the kitchen is poorly planned and bad quality”.

The Benchtop

The benchtop is one of the first things buyers see when they walk into a kitchen, so it’s well worth splashing out on. “Replacing a cheap laminate benchtop with another laminate benchtop is not a value add,” says Daniel Briffa, director and principal building designer at Adan Creative Designs. “Even if the old benchtop was in poor condition, at the end of the day the kitchen still has a laminate benchtop.”

“Upgrading to a better-quality material will add instant appeal to your kitchen, and natural stone is a great choice,” says Azmi.

“Splashing out on a decent benchtop and adding in an appealing splashback means you could then potentially choose more cost-efficient cupboards and still achieve a very appealing look,” adds Welsch.”

“Any stone bench more than 20 millimetres thick is going to look luxurious, and will add real value to your kitchen,” says Azmi. Welsch concurs, adding; “I prefer a honed finish for natural stone over a glossy one. It feels softer and won’t mark as much.”

Read the full article here.

Images sourced from
dalldesignerhomes.com.auproperphotography.com.au.

 

Scan of Ebbets Field Marble Natural Stone Slab

Natural Stone At Home? How Much Is It Worth?

Like everything, natural stone types go in and out of fashion, bringing the cost up and down. The trends and styles in design dictate the demand upping the supply increases and the costs. Lucky for some, this means the stone you have in your home could double, triple or even more in value just by the clock ticking. Check out this article we came across about one lucky mans’ find…

In 1990, a Brooklynite was at a New Jersey construction salvage yard examining a pile of marble slabs for a table top. After a short bidding war, he obtained a 21-pound slab of Italian natural stone for a very modest sum and lugged it home where it resided for the next 25 years. The owner knew it had something to do with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ fable ballpark from 1913 to 1957.

The holy relic, from Ebbets Field’s ticket rotunda, recently sold for $72,000 in a Heritage auction. Shipping was only $45 due to Fed Ex’s great rates.

“It stands as the most significant artefact from the storied Brooklyn landmark in private hands. Second only to the original cornerstone at the permanent collection of the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Heritage noted.

On February 23, 1960, before a wrecking ball, painted at the whim of a dark humorist with the white hide and red stitching of a baseball, swung the dramatic blows that wiped the Dodgers off Brooklyn’s map. Salvaged were any contents of monetary value. For five dollars, the seats were unbolted and hawked off. Discarded bats and photos were sold at auction. And, as the exterior walls of the grandstands fell, the valuable white marble of the rotunda was carted off and repurposed in the Tri-State area’s inexhaustible rush of progress.”

Browse through the Victoria Stone Gallery collection to find the perfect stone for your project at a great price.

Natural stone truly can add to the value of your home more times than not. Stay on top of trends and choose wisely!

(Source, forbes.com, ha.com)

Stone Applications For The Home

Stone Applications Inspiration to Compliment your Home

Granite, marble, quartz and quartzite can be used for much more than benchtops. Natural stone, wherever put in the home creates a peaceful yet strong environment for you and your loved ones. Both natural and man-made quartz surfaces are used in various stone applications. From wall to floor, splashback, a chopping board or coaster.

If budget is a concern, opt for a smaller item and still experience the luxuries that granite, marble and quartz can bring to your special space.

Check out the examples below:

Marble tiles at the bathroomKitchen with Stylish Green Wall in Warm ColorsAtmosphere Fireplace Room with Armchair and TableGranite Benchtop ApplicationGranite benchtop Company Gallery Image-9Unique-Applicationsodyssey double vanity

Cool and Classy, Modern and Stylish Kitchen with Black Granite Stone Worktop

Modern kitchen granite worktop and ceramic sink with mixer tap

10 Unique Stone Applications

Have a look at our Pinterest board for inspo and our product catalogue for what we have in stock!

Caring for your granite benchtop
,

Granite Benchtop – Caring For It!

One of the major perks of having granite surfaces in your home is that they require very little maintenance. Granite is one of the hardest minerals on earth, so is by nature extremely strong and durable. It is also heat and stain resistant. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a little bit of loving, with a good routine using basic equipment and product, your granite benchtop will serve you well for many years.

The Granite Benchtop Company recommends this fail-safe method for caring for your granite benchtop, to make sure it stays looking as good as the day it was installed.

The method we advise to our clients here at GBC is really basic – a 30:70 mix of Methylated Spirits and water. Inexpensive and easy!

  1. First, you’ll need to do a surface clean of the benchtop to remove any loose grime. You can do this simply with a paper towel.
  2. Once the surface is clear, mix together a 30:70 mix of Methylated Spirits and water.
  3. Apply the solution to a cloth and wipe down the stone areas.
  4. Once you’re done, use a paper towel to pat the excess water off of the surface.
  5.  To finish, we highly recommend using a micro-fibre cloth to remove any excess dust or leftover solution. This will ensure your benchtop is clean, safe for use and super shiny!

If you have any questions regarding caring for your benchtop you can contact us. 

*** It’s important to watch what you use on the granite, over time some harsh acidic kitchen chemicals can take their toll on the surface. Chemicals with acidic properties are the one thing that can corrode the sealing of granite, so do not use any product using vinegar or lemon. ***

*** Soap or detergent is okay to use periodically. However long term use will result in a build up on the surface***

Check out Victoria Stone Gallery’s Granite selection here.