Monthly Archives: September 2015

Greek Marble and Quartzite

Italian marble gets a lot of attention, simply because the country produces some of the most well-known stones on the market, including Bianco Carrara. White stones in general are extremely popular just now, with many white Italian stones like Carrara, Bianco Statuario, Bianco Venatino, and Calacatta commanding high prices. There are other white stones on the market that are just as beautiful, and in some cases more durable, as well as less expensive. One source for these stones is Greece.

Greek marbles and quartzites are a beautiful alternative to Italian stones, especially for homeowners who enjoy the look of white marble. Greek Thassos, for example, is a pure white stone with little to no veining. Called a marble, Thassos is actually a quartzite with a glittering surface that is much more durable and resistant to stains than traditional marbles.

For those who like the look of white and gray stones like Carrara, there is also Greek Ajax. Ajax is also a quartzite, like Thassos, but it has gray veining similar to Carrara or Venatino. The difference is in the way the light hits the stone; quartzites appear sugary or glittery, while marbles appear to be smoother.

In addition to these quartzites, there are also several white Greek marbles as well. These stones have varying amounts of veining, from extremely mottled and veined stone to stones that have few veins on a white background. A partial list of white Greek marbles to consider include Volakas, Naxos, Sivec, Pighes, Nestos, and Ambrosia. Of these, Volakas is among the most popular with a look similar to Carrara, while Ambrosia has the most distinctive look, with coloration that appears like light gray and pink clouds on a white background. The other stones may have streaking or veining which give each one its own appearance.

If you enjoy the look of white marble, but want to find a version that is more durable or less expensive than those more well-known stones, consider looking to Greek stones to find the answer.

Completing an Installation with Stone Wall Plates

There are many types of natural stone that are perfect for use in areas that get a lot of direct attention or focus, such as walls. In many cases these stones may also be installed in areas that are broken up by wall plates such as outlets or light switches. Because the standard plate covers are plastic and uniform in color, they can really detract from the look and style of the wall as a whole.

Decorative wall plates are usually the answer when a homeowner wants to preserve the look of the wall as a whole. If natural stone is being used as the wall surface, then natural stone wall plates make the most sense to help keep the look of the space intact.

There are a few considerations when using stone wall plates, however. The first is dye lot. Natural stone has a lot of variation, and in some stones this variation can mean that the stone is a completely different color from one lot to the next. So a switch plate cover made of the same stone as the wall behind it may not match, and may even stand out or clash. One example of this would be the marble Ming Green. Ming Green can be very light and pale yellow/green, or it can be a much darker blue/green. If the dye lots are too far apart from one another, the installation won’t match.

The other major consideration to make is that not every stone may be available as a wall plate. Exotic stones or less frequently used stones may not have options for plate covers. Alternatively, there may be covers in one stone of a certain size, but not enough sizes to complete all the covers on the wall.

In either of these cases, it may be best to try to find a stone that coordinates with the installation, rather than matches it. For example, a wall done in Bardiglio may work well with switch plate covers of Bianco Carrara.

Using stone switch plates can be the perfect way to finish any stone wall installation. Just be sure to seek out plate covers that coordinate with the finished wall to get the best results.

Turkish Marble

When most people think about marble and the choices of stone available to them on the market today, the most commonly associated type of marble that comes to mind is Italian. Italy is well known for its large stone quarries, like that in Carrara, which produces the well-known white and gray stone. Marble can be found all over the world, however, and one of the largest producers of stone is a place most people don’t associate with marble at all – Turkey. Turkish marble is stunning in its beauty and array of colors. It can also be less expensive than more well-known stones, giving homeowners more choices than ever before.

While Italian Carrara is probably the most frequently used and requested white marble, Turkish Carrara can make a beautiful alternative in homes where people want something just slightly out of the ordinary. Unlike Italian Carrara which has a soft gray background with darker gray veins, Turkish Carrara has a white and yellow background with busier gray veins. The looks is reminiscent of the more popular and traditional Carrara look, but with a unique appearance that can set it apart.

For homeowners that want a warmer look to their marble, another popular Turkish stone is Giallo Antico. This warm yellow stone has a soft golden color with subtle veining, which gives it a very rich, deep look.

And for those that want a more natural or rustic look to their stone, there is Seashell. A soft, peach colored stone studded with tiny shells. The stone has a naturally antiqued surface, which makes it a beautiful addition to family rooms, entryways, and some kitchens. Viewers will have a fun time looking for the tiny shells embedded deep in the stone.

While Italy may get most of the attention in the marble world, be sure not to overlook Turkish marble for a more unique and interesting addition to any



Backlighting Stone

As more exotic natural stones are used throughout homes, and stone leaves behind its traditional styles to be used in more contemporary settings, more people are beginning to use this material in different ways. One of these is through backlighting, or lighting up the stone from underneath so that the surface of it glows.

Not all natural stone can be backlit. In fact, most stones that are used on backlit walls are cut to incredibly thin pieces that lack structural integrity on their own, simply so that light can pass through them. For thicker surfaces, such as countertops, tables, and bars, translucent stones such as onyx or white marbles like Alba Chiara are probably the most frequently used, but new technologies that bond the molecular structure of stones to give them brilliant and bold new colors have also created a range of stones that transmit light, which allows them to be backlit in very contemporary settings.

There are a lot of ways that stone can be backlit. In many cases the lighting mechanism has no way of being reached once the stone is put in place, which means that if the light were to go out, it could not be replaced. Therefore most backlit projects make use of LED lights which last longer. Rope lighting is one of the more popular methods because the lights can be more evenly distributed behind the stone. Unfortunately, for very thin or very translucent stones, the rope may show up along with the lights when the stone is viewed from certain angles. To prevent this, sometimes a lexan box that has been sandblasted can be used beneath the stone, or strip lighting that is embedded in a substance beneath the stone can be used as well. LED panels may also be used to give more even lighting, particularly in the case where the stone is thicker and needs a brighter light source.

Backlighting some natural stone is a beautiful way to add some contemporary touches to any area of a home. With more types of translucent stone appearing on the market, backlit stone may begin appearing in even more installations soon.