The real beauty of any natural stone comes from its unabashed uniqueness. Granite gets its distinct pattern during its formation. When hot magma within the earth cools under extreme pressure it bonds with minerals in the earth, including hornblende, feldspar, quartz and mica. Different concentrations of these minerals result in the wide colour and pattern variations seen in each individual slab. Even two slabs of granite pulled from the same quarry won’t have the same composition and mineral content. While these grains, crystals and colours come together to form a work of art, they can also create blotches and imperfections in the material.
It is rare to see a slab of natural stone that is entirely unblemished. Color splotches, light or dark spots, fissures or even textural impacts like pitting or grittiness are due to the slab’s unique composition. Cracks found in the surface of the stones are called fissures. Most are almost undetectable, but some are wide enough that quartz bits and epoxy resin are required to fill them in. In some natural stones there will be areas that have a slightly different composition than the rest which, accordingly, take polish differently and cause the occasional cloudy patch and they, too, are perfectly natural.
The thousands and millions of years that it takes for these stones to form means that each slab is exposed to the caprices of time and stands as a testimony to all the events that occurred during its formation: a slight drift in the tectonic plates, a trapped and fossilized organism here and there, or the leaking of an uncommon material into the ossifying sediment.
NATURAL STONE ALTERNATIVES
Natural stone won’t stand up to the scrutiny of perfectionists. If you like the look of granite but want a more perfect, uniform finish, consider quartz countertops. Quartz slabs are made from a combination of raw, natural quartz ground into smaller bits and bonded together with a polyester – resin compound. Quartz surfaces are exceptionally scratch resistant, highly resistant to stains, highly resistant to high temperatures but not resistant thermal shock. Quartz surfaces do not require sealants and can be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild detergents.