As with most things in the home, your natural stone surfaces can tell a story. That story may be more than 300 million years in the making, because stone is formed and hewn over the centuries. Offering countless physical and visual differences, natural stone possesses unique features that vary based on where the stone comes from and how it was formed.
Natural stone surfaces are just that – naturally occurring substances in the earth’s crust. But depending on where in the earth’s crust the stone was found, and how it was impacted by the elements, stone takes on varying qualities. At its simplest, natural stone can be roughly categorized into the three types of rock: sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic.
- When sediments are washed or blown around until they settle over time under pressure, the result is sedimentary rock. Limestone and travertine are two common types of sedimentary rock.
- Formed when magma – molten rock from beneath the earth’s surface – cools and solidifies, one of the most well known types of igneous rock is granite. The movement of the cooling magma, which often traps complex minerals, results in a host of unique patterns.
- Metamorphic rock is created when either sedimentary or igneous rock is placed under intense heat and pressure. This type of rock is found within the earth’s crust, and the deeper the rock is, the higher grade the stone. Slate, found closer to the earth’s surface, and marble, which is created deeper in the crust, are both types of metamorphic rock.
Regardless of the type of rock, the resulting color, pattern, and texture of natural stone are directly related to how and where the rock was formed. It is the beautiful reason why natural stone patterns are never exactly the same.
In each type of rock, there are fissure lines, sometimes visible depending on the cut of the stone. These fissure lines are earth’s scars, which result from movement in the earth that was later repaired. Fissure lines provide inherent character resulting directly from the history of the earth, for example, an earthquake from millions of years ago.
Dots and colors within a stone slab could indicate a number of things. It could be fossilized material, which then changed over the course of time and given the pressure it underwent. It could also be minerals or gemstones caught up in the creation of the stone, which then resulted in a new aesthetic.
When selecting the type of stone to use in your next design project, let its formation help guide your selection. Consider your lifestyle needs, and then find the product that best fits those needs while providing the perfect look for your space.
The imperfect qualities of natural stone are what make it unique. If you look closely, you can reveal a world of history in a single slab.