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It’s easy to fall in love with a gorgeous natural stone sink, bath tub or countertop. But just like any other relationship, you want to know a little bit about the object of your affection before making a lasting commitment.
Each of our sinks is carved from a single block of stone quarried from hillsides where the rock has formed over eons. This means each block has its own character, with infinite variation in its crystalline structure. The differences are evident in distinctive veining, mineral inclusions, minor pitting or areas of deeper coloration. The coloration and features of each block of stone will vary one to another. These are the features that create the beauty and value of natural stone.
The main types of stone used to create sinks and tubs are onyx, marble, granite, travertine, sandstone and soapstone. Specialty stones such as river rock and petrified wood are less common, but welcome additions to the collection. Here’s a little information about each of these beautiful, natural materials.
Onyx is a smooth stone. Its surface can be highly polished. Underlying the sheen is crystalline structure and intense veining. These factors make each onyx sink entirely unique. No two onyx sinks will ever match, but any two pieces made from the same type of onyx will coordinate beautifully. Onyx comes in three types: Multicolored, Honey Onyx and White Onyx.
Multi colored onyx ranges from pale green with little veining or variation in color to reds, browns and oranges in patterns reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting.
Honey onyx is more uniform in coloration than multi-colored but can still contain swirls, stripes or mottling. Its colors range from pale whitish/yellow to a brownish/yellow.
White onyx also contains many variations in color. Sometimes this stone is almost pure white with little variation in veining. It can also contain flecks of deeper whites, yellow, reddish or rusty colored veining.
These stones will always have color anomalies, non-structural fracture lines, and inconsistent veining. Marble comes in every color from stark white to stark black. In between are yellows, browns, reds, greens and blues. Each of these colors of marble also ranges from almost solid colored to extraordinarily veined and figured, making for some of the most beautiful and costly materials in the world.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock made of calcite. Formed when seas and lakes evaporated, the stone often contains fossil remnants of sea creatures. There are typically some voids in the surface of the stone. When limestone is used to create a sink these voids must be filled with a mixture of stone dust and epoxy matched as closely as possible to the stone.
A form of limestone, travertine often forms near bubbly mineral springs. Trapped gas bubbles create a pitted surface. These pits can be filled with an epoxy resin mixed with stone dust to match the stone. Filling the small holes and pits gives the travertine a more finished look. Polished travertine makes a beautifully refined sink.
A sedimentary rock, sandstone was created when sand was deposited in estuaries and tidal flats eons ago. Sandstone contains random concentrations of minerals that show up in the stone as spots, freckles, or colored patches. The occurrence of these mineral inclusions is a natural expression of this unique material. All Sandstone vessels carry some degree of anomalies.
At first glance some black granite looks solid black, but upon closer inspection you’ll find even the blackest granite contains small irregular flecks of gray, silver, gold or copper-colored mineral deposits. Black granite is an igneous (formed of magma) stone and comes in many varieties from the very fine-grained Absolute Black that looks almost like Obsidian (volcanic glass) to the frothy looking Grandiorite, which is not actually a granite but is often sold as granite.
Green and Gray granites come from boulders that have developed naturally weathered exteriors over millions of years. The color is highly variable from pale green to dark, slate green. There are usually some whitish inclusions as well as some pitting in the polished surface. Depending on the shape, some of the weathered face may wrap into the polished rim.
This semi-precious material is actually a fossil created when trees are buried under mud. The wood decays and minerals invade the cavities between and within cells of the natural wood. Sometimes jasper, quartz and even opal can be found in fossilized wood. Usually it is brown, but can be grey or green. A limited number of sinks are made from this special material.
Small, rounded boulders make great vessel sinks. Usually granite, they start out almost the right shape, last forever and can be infinitely re-polished. Some sinks are carved directly into the whole rock, others are made by cutting the rock in half, to make a pair of matched sinks.
When a sink is created from any type of stone there will always be differences in texture, grain and color on different parts of the piece. In a manufactured object these kinds of variations are often considered defects, but in natural stone, these enhanced areas of coloration, rough textures and dramatic fault lines are a sign of the individual character of products made not by machine, but by the earth itself.