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karin_mt_2

Countertop Geology: Marble and quartzite and granite, oh my!

karin_mt
9 years ago

This is round three of the Great Rocks Thread! It appears we at GW have a large appetite for discussing and sharing pictures of rocks.

Please post your rock questions here. I've copied the first post from Rocks 102 here to lay the foundation.

Quartzite and marble are hopelessly (deliberately?) mixed up in the decorative stone industry. My point, aside from just loving rocks, is to help folks learn how to tell the difference between the two so you are not at the mercy of a sales rep when a multi-thousand dollar purchase hangs in the balance.

Quartzite is much harder than marble and will not etch when exposed to acids. You can tell the difference between quartzite and marble by doing the scratch test.

Take a glass bottle or a glass tile with you when you go stone shopping. (Glass tile idea is courtesy of MaggiePie11, what a good idea!) Find a rough, sharp edge of the stone. Drag the glass over the edge of the stone. Press pretty hard. Try to scratch the glass with the stone.

Quartzite will bite right into the glass and will leave a big scratch mark.
Any feldspar will do the same. (Granites are made mostly of feldspar)

Calcite and dolomite (that's what marble and limestone are made of) will not scratch. In fact you will be able to feel in your hand that the rock won't bite into the glass. It feels slippery, no matter how hard you press.

PS - don't press so hard that you risk breaking the glass in your hand. You shouldn't need to press that hard!

For reference, here are links to the other rock threads, in which many types of rocks have been discussed. If you read through both of these threads you will earn an honorary degree in Kitchen Geology.

Rocks 101: The Lowdown on Super White.

Rocks 102: Marble, Quartzite and Other Rocks in the Kitchen.

With that, let the rock conversations continue!
-Karin

Comments (159)

  • Holly- Kay
    9 years ago

    Lol Karen! Yes I believe that granite is quite old already. Antiquing, I believe, just gives the stone a more subtle sheen rather than a highly polished surface. I am worried that I won't care for a high gloss surface after it is installed. I wish I could compare my slab with antiquing and polished.

    I am not sure how the antiquing is accomplished. I don't know if that is something done upon fabrication or if it can be done after install. I believe also that the colors would be more muted wth an antiqued surface but I am not sure.

  • ginny20
    9 years ago

    Peke, I feel your pain. The first stone I fell in love with - in fact, the one that made me realize I didn't want engineered quartz after all - was Jerusalem Limestone. It was full of fossils. I envisioned fossil hunting in my kitchen. I read everything I could find on it, testimonials about how much people loved it and how it held up really well, and tried to convince myself that it wasn't really too soft for a kitchen counter. Finally, a GC who was also a certified KD told me, "No, really not a good idea, you will regret it." So, sadly, I left the fantasy behind and started looking at granite. I love my granite, and instead of fossil hunting, I hunt feldspar and quartz crystals. I can hunt fossils out in the yard if I want.

    Iceberg blue, like Jerusalem limestone, is like that gorgeous-but-bad-news boy you have to let go so you can move on and find a good man to marry. Your true love is still out there.

    BTW, I really liked that Know Your Stone site. I wish I had had my DD read it before her Earth Science Regents this morning.

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  • Peke
    9 years ago

    Ginny, ok my bad boy is gone. I am now looking for Azul Caribe, Blue Titanium, Azul Domar, Caribbean Blue, and cross cut White Macaubus.

    Here is a picture of Titanium Quartzite from stonecontact.

    Every other place I see it shows a black slab.

  • kksmama
    9 years ago

    Wow! Can you see that IRL? I saw a "titanium black" featured as the stone of the month on this website, http://www.elegant-granite.com/ Clearly no relation to the picture you posted. Hang in there, Peke! 5 years from now you'll hardly remember the hassles of this stone selection process but you'll still be enjoying a rock it took thousands of years to create.

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    Peke,

    I love this! Too busy for a kitchen like mine, but it is beautiful,

    Karen

  • Peke
    9 years ago

    The colors are perfect.

    Kksmama, no I haven't seen it IRL. The rust streaks would match my cabinet color.

    Karen, It is probably too busy for mine too. I just love the
    aquas. Peke

  • Aamich
    9 years ago

    Peke, i think it would look fabulous surrounding a fireplace. Can you imagine how nice it would look in the light from a fire? The colors are fantastic. You must be traveling all over the place to find such a variety of stone. Thanks for sharing all the pictures.

  • Peke
    9 years ago

    I just figured out that "titanium" has been mislabeled. I really think it is a blue "fusion". What do you think?

    I just type in blue quartzite and find slabs from all over. My traveling has been limited to Dallas and Tulsa. Dallas is 3 1/2 hours away and Tulsa is 2 hours away so I have to travel to look at anything beyond builders grade gold.

    I think I figured out something else....but I might be way off base. It's about quartzite.

    Karin, is it possible that there is a quartzite that looks more like crystals? They look totally different than all other hquartzite when close up. Maybe they are the " soft" quartzites. I am thinking of cristallo/kristallo, iceberg blue, etc. A fabricator near me said cristallo was one of the hardest stones to cut. It was the first quartzite they had ever cut.

    Here is a close up of the "crystals" I am talking about. (crystals might not be the best word. It is more like small shapes of stones.)

    Peke

  • Peke
    9 years ago

    Here is a close up of the cristallo the fabricator said was very hard.

  • Peke
    9 years ago

    This is fusion. I think it looks like the picture called titanium.

  • JoanLast
    9 years ago

    Hi all! I'm deep in the throes of renovation this week. I bought all my tile. I'm deciding between 2 kitchen designers and cabinets. They both should be getting me quotes this week. My guest bathroom vanity is very small (27 in wide). I'm doing this piece of fusion, with a banjo, and an 8 in backsplash. I'm looking for a clear glass vessel sink with a touch of green. Hoping to leave FL next week with a lot more finalized. Fell in love with the fusion...

  • ginny20
    9 years ago

    JoanLast, I can see why you fell in love with it. Gorgeous.

    And yes, Peke, I think what they called Titanium looks an awful lot like Fusion, now that you mention it.

    I'm curious what Karin will say about the quartzite "crystals." I'd say that looks like quartz rather than calcite, but I'm not trained. Didn't Karin say that calcite would have sort of rhombus/parallel cleavage, while quartz has hexagonal crystals and uneven fracture. It sure is pretty, whatever it is. I love that crystalline appearance.

    Are you going to go see Fusion anyplace? Boy, I thought it was a big deal to go 1.5 hours away to check out a stone yard. Can you get them to send you email pictures of some of their slabs so you can at least know which direction to drive?

  • JoanLast
    9 years ago

    Peke,

    I love that "titanium quartzite". Could you ask them to e-mail you more pictures of the slab or to verify the name? I've seen a lot of different slabs of Fusion here in Florida. My fabricator just lost a job with 7 slabs, because it was just too expensive. The variation from one side of a slab to the other side is huge. I would have to see the slab before committing. Fusion is beautiful, but busy. The blues in the slabs I saw were much darker. I didn't notice much aqua in the Fusion slabs I looked at. My sister just had a pretty blue granite installed this week. I'll have to dig up the picture and send it. I should be sleeping right now, not thinking about all this kitchen stuff. LOL! Renovations and being 53 are not helping my sleep!

  • JoanLast
    9 years ago

    Peke,

    This is my sister's Blue Sky. I'll be able to see it installed on Wednesday.

  • karin_mt
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Peke, yes, a quarzite can have "crystals," and a marble can as well. What it really is is larger crystals, which can mean the rock was closer to melting, or did partially melt, or had water present which allows larger crystals to form. The rocks that look more grainy just have smaller crystals; simple as that.

    There is no such thing as soft quartzite, and the size of the crystals has nothing to do with the hardness of the stone. So you can rule out those variables.

    Both marble and quartzite can have small crystals, medium-sized, or large crystals. But if the crystals are larger you might be able to see the rhombus shapes or subtle lines that intersect at 120 degrees and 60 degrees in marble, making diagnosis a little bit easier. It's unlikely with quartzite that you'd see hexagonal shapes.

    If the fabricator says it's very hard, that's a good sign of quartzite!

  • kksmama
    9 years ago

    I think I found it! I've looked at a lot of slabs, and I think I considered all materials and colors: marble, soapstone, wood, black, white, blue, brown, tan, silver - they all looked good to me at one time or another.
    The Sweeby test helped me come around to seeing that I wanted a calming, neutral pattern with a black background. This isn't at all a good picture, I'm taking dh for final approval and will get a sample. But this seems like the super hard, bullet proof stuff and it did scratch glass easily. IRL you can see what looks like waves of sand and all the movement goes one direction. They say it is from India, so far I can't find any info on it on any other website. Karin, any thoughts?

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • kksmama
    9 years ago

    A better picture. But it doesn't look nearly so busy in person. Maybe because the slab is so big? I feel badly for the TKO who have to drive further to see slabs, I'm finding only the loosest association between how something looks in pictures and how it looks IRL. This picture is too intense for me, too much pattern and contrast but I didn't think so when I was there. I think this might be called black markino, still can't find any info on it on the web.

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    Hubby and I went to the Parade of Homes in Jerome Twnshp today. It is near Columbus, OH. We saw some very interesting granites and marbles!

    I found a new favorite, Alpine White, honed, but not completely, as it had some streaks of shine scattered throughout. Looks like a marble. It is not Super White. They call it granite, but is it really granite? I saw another stone that either was quartzite or granite with big quartzite crystals, but I forgot to ask the "hosts" of that house. Then there was a third granite, that if I loved green I would definitely use that stone. The pattern was linear sage green with white and cranberry colors, garnet maybe? A very subdued piece.

    Blue Pearl or Alpine White? Or both?

    Karen

  • JoanLast
    9 years ago

    I'm going to the Parade of Homes next week. You've got me excited to check out the granite!

    Thanks!
    Joan

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    We didn't go into every house because we were on a mission to look at the wood floors by Schlabach out of Millersburg. I love what they do! Wish I had known about them when I added onto the house ten years ago. I hope they are competitive with pricing. We looked at house #13 love the gas lights at front door and the floor. I think #6 had the Alpine White granite. Number 3 may have the green and garnet granite. This granite is on the front cover of the booklet. Where is the kitchen with the quartzite type island? Can't remember, but it should be on the west side of the street. So tired right now, it all runs together, plus it was HOT. There was one house with, "what were they thinking granite?" see if you find it!

    I remember when this was a sleepy little area. Now it is too much like Muirfield. Why does anyone want to spend that much money and then watch your neighbor in their backyard? Wish they could have developed an equestrian community because it is so close to Glacier Ridge, plus there are two riding stables nearby. I think Columbus would have benefitted from this idea and it might have worked since it is near the city. Oh well, my rant for the day. Have fun, because they are quite nice.

    Karen

  • karin_mt
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    KKsmama,

    Nice find, I'm happy for you! The rock is a metamorphic rock called gneiss (pronounced "nice") and it's going to be totally durable. Gneiss forms from heating and compression of a rock to the point where the mineral ingredients separate into bands. Each band has similar minerals in it, so it looks like stripes of different colored minerals. The banding is perpendicular to the direction the compression came from. So in the second photo you posted, it got squeezed from the lower right and upper left.

    Because the rock was hot and semi-fluid, the bands become swirls in some places.

    Gneiss contains the same minerals as granite and will behave similarly. I'd expect it to hold up really well.

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing the happy news!

    Karen, I looked up Alpine White and it looks like more than one stone goes by that name. In one case it was one of those mystery rocks that looks like either quartzite or marble and the stone yard listed it as AKA Super White. But other photos showed a granite-type rock that looks sort of like Alaska White. If you do a Google image search you'll see both kinds.

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    Joan

    Maybe you could take pictures and post them. I don't have that capability with my old flip phone!

    Karen

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    Karin,

    I have seen where they can be called the same. All of the Super White to me looks different. A much stronger marbling and darker, but it could have been the shipment. It was too funny with one of the reps, because I kept calling it Alpine White, she kept saying it was gray! But it's white! LOL

    Karen

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    Karin,

    I have seen where they can be called the same. All of the Super White to me looks different. A much stronger marbling and darker, but it could have been the shipment. It was too funny with one of the reps, because I kept calling it Alpine White, she kept saying it was gray! But it's white! LOL

    Karen

  • JoanLast
    9 years ago

    Karen,

    I looked at a great house in an equestrian community in Blacklick when I moved to OH a few years ago. We're on the reservoir 10 minutes east of the Parade homes.

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    Joan,

    Yes,
    It seems like all of the good equestrian communities are on the east side. Rocky Fork Hunt Club is near Gahanna and there are several stables in the Johnstown area. Tami Longaberger bought a huge property to raise Thoroughbreds, but dispersed the herd when she became pregnant.

    We couldn't live on the east side because my husband transferred from PA to work at Scotts Miracle Gro in Marysville. We live in the Boonies of Richwood.

    Karen

  • kksmama
    9 years ago

    Thank you, Karin! I'm super excited now, I had kinda thought that I wouldn't love my countertops, it was easy for me to find reasons NOT to like all the other slabs I'd seen. But this one is perfect for me, it has just the right amount and kind of movement, and the right balance of the right colors. DH and my kids like it too.

    I brought a sample home today and taped out a grid, put red wine vinegar, lemon juice, muriatic acid, ketchup, raspberry jam, coffee, and tumeric with oil on it and left for a few hours. No changes. I whacked it hard with the heavy handle of a butter knife and did put a crack in it (and then easily snapped that corner off) but the sample is 1cm so I hope that my 3cm counters wouldn't do the same? I was able to scratch glass with it, but a sharp glass corner also scratched the stone a little when pressed very hard. On the broken edge, small glittery flakes (mica?) are numerous. I feel terrible about the abuse I've heaped on this cute little square!

  • JoanLast
    9 years ago

    Love all the great torture research!
    Karen, we should meet at Doc Henderson's and commiserate over a great lunch:-)

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    Joan.

    What a great idea. Haven't been there for a while.
    My email is trisox1984@yahoo.com

  • j_hack
    9 years ago

    Off topic but... So funny to know there are so many people on GW around Columbus!

  • lucas_tx_gw
    9 years ago

    Hi Karin,

    Is there any difference between a 'quartz' and a 'quartzite'?

    It's interesting, Antonlini seems to have both, but the 'quartz' is not the engineered kind.

    If the link doesn't work google antolini naica quartz

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pure Quartz?

  • karen_ohio
    9 years ago

    j_hack

    Great comment. If you don't live in Ohio, at least we do have something in common besides rocks. June is a great month. :-)

    Karen

  • ginny20
    9 years ago

    lucas - Ooh, ooh! Pick me! I know this one! Who would have thought that prepping DD for her Earth Science Regents Exam would have been so useful?

    Pure quartz sand can turn into sedimentary sandstone. Sandstone metamorphosizes (through tectonic forces, as the site says) into quartzite. It is pure quartz - quartz is the mineral, quartzite is the rock. As pure quartz, it has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, which makes it pretty hard.

    That is beautiful stone - so subtle.

  • j_hack
    9 years ago

    I am in Columbus. We just moved back from West Virginia (thankfully). We are having a house built in Grove City currently, but we have lived all around Columbus... Pickerington, Hilliard, Grandview, and Columbus itself. We are happy to be home for sure. My wife is ready for me to stop with research, but I'm not ready or finished! There are so many choices to make!

    Thankfully Karen has chimed in with all the rock info and everyone's pictures help to visualize it all. So thanks everyone for the info and pics!

  • lucas_tx_gw
    9 years ago

    Thanks Ginny20.

    I haven't seen that one, though there are dealers in the area that carry that line, and even more important, I haven't seen the price yet ;-)

    But need to look at all possibilities!

  • lucas_tx_gw
    9 years ago

    Thanks Ginny20.

    I haven't seen that one, though there are dealers in the area that carry that line, and even more important, I haven't seen the price yet ;-)

    But need to look at all possibilities!

  • Holly- Kay
    9 years ago

    kksmama, I just saw your post here about your counter top choice. It is beautiful! What a nice choice! I'll bet you are glad you didn't find anything earlier. Looks like this was just meant to be!

  • Holly- Kay
    9 years ago

    kksmama, I just saw your post here about your counter top choice. It is beautiful! What a nice choice! I'll bet you are glad you didn't find anything earlier. Looks like this was just meant to be!

  • gone_south
    9 years ago

    The slab that animacafe posted on June 1, that looks like a collection of pebbles, is Black & Gold Marinace (sometimes also called Mosaic among other things). It is literally the bottom of a riverbed in Brazil, all the small stones are the pebbles and stones that collected at the bottom of the river, and the black rock filling in all the space between them is a sedimentary rock (as Karin explained in an earlier thread). So it's technically a mega conglomerate, and a really interesting stone. When we first saw it, we loved it but thought it was too wild for our kitchen, but in the end we ended up using it and absolutely love it. We had the finish leathered, which removed the polished glare (and makes it look more natural) and gave it a very subtle texture which ends up being something that people can't resist "petting." It's a wonderful granite and we are thrilled that we took the risk over something safer. I posted a thread with pics earlier (my iPhone photos don't begin to do it justice, but you can get an idea) and I'm posting it here so anyone interested can see that such a "wild" granite can end up working. It's not to everyone's taste, but we love it. And thanks to the fine folks at Garden Web, we ended up with a wonderfully functional kitchen that is a joy to work in.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Reveal thread

  • kksmama
    9 years ago

    Fabulous reveal, Gone_South, thanks for the link! Those counters are perfect for your space and vice versa!
    Thanks, Holly-kay, I really am thrilled with the Godiva and I am fairly sure it isn't just because I'm a chocolate fiend. Funny about all these decisions: once you find the "right" answer it is easy to move on to the next question...the ones that aren't quite right keep nagging!
    Karin, I hope you're around to start Round 4 of great rocks, I'm not giving up on Peke!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Rocks #4 marble, granite, quartzite

    This post was edited by kksmama on Thu, Jul 4, 13 at 10:13

  • karin_mt
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    KKsMama,

    Good for you to put your rock through the ringer. I wouldn't worry about a 1cm slab breaking when you whack it. Just about anything would break under those circumstances. The only thing I'd watch out for is large overhangs that are parallel to the grain of the rock. But with a 3 cm slab that rock will be pretty strong. Yes, the glittery bits are mica. Muscovite if they are silvery or biotite if they are black.

    Keep us posted with how the templating and install goes - I'm sure you will since we are all following you vicariously!

    Lucas,

    Quartz is the mineral and quartizite is the rock that is made out of quartz. It's splitting hairs really, because as you point out the rock is made of 100% quartz. That's a beautiful rock, wow! Are you going to get it?

    (PS - Nice job Ginny on describing how it forms!)

    Gone South,

    Oh yes, I fondly remember your cool riverbed rock. I am still hoping to get a table with that someday. Thanks for posting your follow up info and link.

    Goodness, this thread has filled up fast - less than a month! I will start round 4 (for Peke).

    Karin

  • eewm
    7 years ago

    I'm hoping this thread is still active, although old, because we are in the midst of a counter top decision. We love marble, and we are okay with the patina look. We found a slab labeled "afayron" that we really like (i'm thinking it afyron from turkey) and some stone yards have told me that this is a sugar marble and softer than say, carrara, and it will chip easily. the stone yard that's selling this slab tells me "marble is marble" and he doesn't know it's origin, but he buys everything from Italy. Any thoughts?

  • alley2007
    7 years ago

    I would try posting on the most recent counter top thread which is still active. Here is a link:

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/2692150/countertop-geology-part-six-lets-talk-about-rocks-some-more

  • eewm
    7 years ago

    thank you.

  • raebutt
    7 years ago

    I am surprised at how many people are looking at the same stone choices. I am wondering if this is location or age related or just coincidence. I am not doing a white kitchen and want a warm granite with a lot of movement. I am looking at Typhoon Bordeaux and River Bordeaux to go with walnut cabinets and a wood grain look porcelain floor in random plank. I have been to multiple slab yards and noticed that for these two granites the color and movement vary widely. Is there anything I need to be aware of with these slabs?

  • karin_mt
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Just a heads up that all old GardenWeb threads used to automatically close after 150 posts, but now that is no longer true. But to keep things simple, if you have a new question use the most recent thread, which is #6 in the series.

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/2692150/countertop-geology-part-six-lets-talk-about-rocks-some-more

    Thanks!

    (PS - that's what Raebutt did and her question has been answered, phew!)

    - Karin

  • curlyqs3b
    6 years ago

    My new granite countertop (1 month) has water stains. Now I am told it is quartzite. It has m

    arks that are not scratches. They are coming from inside the stone I've been told. It was sold to me as granite, but acts like marble. Some of the "stains" disappear in a few days. Others are still there. What can I do? Manufacturer says sealing will help, but can't help with the marks already there. Do I have any recourse?

  • karin_mt
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    What article? And how is this misleading?

    I missed Curly's post above. That rock is sandstone and it's porous. That's why there are water marks and stains. It definitely needs sealing and hopefully that got resolved.


  • Lena Pennacchia
    last year

    Hi Karin, not sure if you are still replying but I clicked onto Rocks 102: Marble, Quartzite and Other Rocks in the Kitchen but it stated this article is no longer available. Can you please direct me to how to view it. Thanks from Australia!

  • karin_mt
    Original Author
    last year

    The page didn't load for me either. But it wasn't an article, it was just a previous thread of countertop questions and comments. If you're looking for "countertop geology" articles, they are all here: https://usenaturalstone.org/author/k-kirk/