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The lowdown on Super White

October 26, 2012

I am mostly a lurker here so far, and as our kitchen remodel plans take shape I have been enjoying seeing other people's progress and taking comfort that there is a strong community of kindred spirits who like to sweat all the glorious details of a kitchen!

I'm a geologist so perusing the slab yard is always fun. Rarely do you get to see so many fascinating rocks all in one place.

So today when I picked up my backsplash tile and put down a deposit for some small slabs (a separate story), I had a great time visiting various slabs with one of the fabricators. We talked about the minerals and textures that make some rocks winners in the kitchen, and others not so good.

I asked to see some Super White, knowing there is a lack of clarity about what this rock really is. He gave me a piece to bring home and I did some diagnostics. Maybe this is common knowledge to you all, but here's the lowdown.

The rock is dolomitic marble. It's not quartzite - it's not even close to quartzite in terms or hardness or resistance to acid.

Dolomitic marble is a sibling to regular marble. Regular marble is made of calcite. Dolomite is made of calcite plus magnesium. Calcite is CaCO3 and dolomite is CaMgCO3. So this rock started out as the sedimentary rock called dolomite then was metamorphosed (heat + pressure) to cause the grains to recrystallize into dolomitic marble.

My hunch is that this marble would be slightly more resistant to etching than regular calcite marble. But it is still just as soft as marble and has all the other requirements of caring for marble. It sure is a beautiful rock. But no way will it wear like granite or quartzite.

The decorative stone industry has a whole different way of naming and classifying rocks than geologists do. (The first time someone showed me a back granite I protested loudly. There is no such thing as black granite!) But I am coming around to understand how the rocks are classified from the countertop point of view. So yes, the terms are contradictory and confusing, perhaps even deliberately so in some cases. But at least in this case I am certain of what the actual rock type is.

I hope that's helpful or illuminating. And if you have questions about the real identity or geologic history of your countertop, I may be able to shed some light!


Comments (181)

  • Robin Goodrich

    We fell in love with this slab of lumix quartzite but found out it's only 2cm thick. I'm having trouble picturing an island countertop being that thin! What do you all think?

  • karin_mt

    Hi Peke,

    Blue Labradorite is a cool rock. The mineral labradorite is a variety of feldspar that has an iridescent blue-green color. It is found in Labrador, Canada so that's where the name is from. Much of the commercial stone is from Madagascar and sometimes from Russia. Some of these commercial slabs have extra large crystals so the blue color reflects off a large face, which is really neat looking.

    The popular rock Blue Pearl has the same minerals, but smaller.

    It's an igneous rock that is formed in a manner similar to granite. In the kitchen world, it is classified as granite, which is loosely correct (only in kitchen terms, not in geologic terms). It's similarly hard, scratch resistant and acid resistant like all the other rocks in the granite family.

    Hoboken, sigh, sorry to hear about your Super White. It is so beautiful, but it's disappointing from the maintenance perspective. Thanks for your update and at least you can help others by reporting your experiences.

    Brooks, that is a lovely slab! It looks like it has a luminous quality to it that will be incredible with undercabinet lighting. Personally, I think the thinner slabs have a sleek, contemporary look that I really like. That may or may not be what you are going for, but I like it.

  • psyohe


    Is Blue Labradorite the same as Lemurian Supreme?

    So it would be as hard as granite but there are different hardnesses of granite, right? I just love the blue/green that comes through.

    Does real quartzite come in only light colors? I don't like most of the granite colors like the browns, gold, etc. I would rather not have darker colors unless something pops out like the blue/green. Is it mica?


  • psyohe


    Is Blue Labradorite the same as Lemurian Supreme?

    So it would be as hard as granite but there are different hardnesses of granite, right? I just love the blue/green that comes through.

    Does real quartzite come in only light colors? I don't like most of the granite colors like the browns, gold, etc. I would rather not have darker colors unless something pops out like the blue/green. Is it mica?


  • karin_mt

    Yes, they are basically the same thing. But there is always the caveat that different dealers name things differently and of course there is variation in each lot. But essentially they are the same rock.

    All granites are very similar in hardness. The primary mineral is feldspar in most cases, even though the rocks have different colors and textures they are still mostly made of feldspar (there are lots of color variations in feldspar, from white to pink to grey and even blue in the case of Labradorite). So the blue/green mineral is feldspar, not mica. And yes, Labradorite/Lemurian will have the same hardness as "regular" granite.

    Yes, quartzite is almost always light in color with a whitish undertone. OK, I hate to say "always" with anything in geology, but I really can't think of a dark colored quartzite. At least in the kitchen realm, I have never seen a dark quartzite.

    Happy shopping!

    This post was edited by karin_mt on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 9:16

  • psyohe

    Thank you! That helps so much!

  • Cloud Swift

    It depends how dark you mean. Quartzite gets its color from trace elements in the stone. I've not seen any that is very very dark like absolute black but there are very colorful quartzites. When we were doing our kitchen, most of the quartzites on this forum were the colorful ones. I don't recall anything like white macabas back then.

    Some of them are:

    Azul Macabas - which usually has white and aqua blue areas - kind of like a summer sky with clouds. Someone had a darker version with more and darker blue which they found for less.

    Azul do Mar - our stone - you can see some pictures above - true to its name it looks like the sea - lots of blues, flecks of white, some darker brownish bits (sea weed) and some greens. Ours has a lavender greyish current slanting across part of it too.

    Van Gogh or Blue Louis - kind of looks like a Van Gogh painting with a variety of colors sweeping through - usually some blue and reddish browns but there can be other colors too.

    Wild West Green - mostly green with some other colors - I've never seen it in person but it sure looked nice in the kitchen that used it.

  • psyohe

    They sound beautiful.

    When posters refer to the "stone yard" are they talking about a store that sells granite or an actual outdoor place that sells granite.

    We only have distributors and fabricators here. I haven't been able to see much of a selection at all. I have driven 2 hours to see what little I have seen. Nothing is close to home.


  • karin_mt

    Hi Peke,

    I think the actual type of store varies. To me, stone yard means a place with lots of slabs for sale and often these businesses do fabrication as well. There are also kitchen/design showrooms that have granite slabs on display too, but they don't necessarily do the fabrication. I really don't know much about how the business is set up in other parts of the country, but that's a shame that you don't have easy access to view slabs. I can't imagine being able to make a decision in that circumstance.

    Good luck,

  • caitlinsredpup

    Hi Karin,

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge...it is fascinating and so very helpful. I read this thread in one sitting and actually joined gardenweb to ask you this question!

    We are doing a kitchen remodel and are going for a farmhouse feel with cream-colored cabinets and dark countertops. We love the look of soapstone but are concerned about the scratching and patina especially given the amount of baking that I do. So, we are starting to look at dark-colored granite instead. The problem is that most granites have too much shine and movement for us. So after doing alot of research, we have found that many people use dark granites such as Virginia Mist or Jet Mist in a honed (mostly), leathered, or antiqued finish to mimic the look of soapstone with the durability of granite. However, we have gotten mixed feedback regarding durability once the surface is honed. From what we have read, the antiqued or leathered finishes seem more durable than the honed although there are others who have lived with the honed finish without any problems. We saw a slab of black cosmic leathered early today ... it was very subdued, mostly black and just a gentle wave of white. However, my husband was concerned about whether or not it was more porous than the non-leathered/shiny slab next to it and the person really did not convincing answer the question as she just kept saying that it was the same granite with a different finish! We would love to know what your thoughts are on these finishes and whether or not you think they are durable or if there are other options you would recommend.

    Thanks so much!

  • karin_mt

    Hi Caitlinsredpup,

    Welcome to GW!

    I think you are going in the right direction and it makes sense that you are going for a look that is reminiscent of soapstone without the maintenance or patina issues.

    For a given stone, the type of finish does not affect its durability. So if you are truly comparing apples to apples with the same type of stone, the fact that it is polished, honed or leathered won't change the porosity, resistance to acids or hardness. That said, they all respond differently to cleaning - in some cases the polished slabs are harder to keep super clean because that high gloss shows every spot. In other cases (with Absolute Black, for example) people have reported problems with the honed slabs but I can't for the life of me understand why that would be. I think there is something odd going on with Absolute Black.

    As usual, the best approach is to bring home a sample and abuse the heck out of it. :)

  • homebuyer23

    Hi Karin,
    As everyone else has, I thank you for generously sharing your knowledge with us!
    So I visited a stone yard yesterday and I must really like the one slab I saw because I literally have the feeling I want to go visit my slab just to see how its doing...weird?!
    I am no where near ready to pick out my counters but I can't stop thinking about this one, likely bc they only have 2 slabs left.

    Anyway, the woman told me it was quartzite but sure enough I took a sample home and it does not etch glass.
    I haven't read this entire thread, though I have read most of it, so I'm sorry if the answer is here, but if it dosent scratch glass does that mean it's a type of marble and therefore not a very durable choice?
    I will post my picture and if you have any idea what it is and can attest to it's durability I'd be so grateful. They called it "truffle". It was really nicer in person, the sun was beating down on it here, it looks way brighter than it really is...Thanks so much for any insight.

  • karin_mt

    Hi Homebuyer,

    That's a pretty slab. But I can't tell much about it with that photo, sorry. (other than that it's pretty!)

    If you can't get the slab to scratch glass then yes, it's probably marble. Be sure to use a sharp edge of the stone and press hard. If need be, take a hammer to the sample to produce a sharp edge. Otherwise, yes, the results are pretty black and white.

    Try lemon juice and see what happens with that.


  • homebuyer23

    Thanks for looking Karin, I have a close up I'll post and also a better picture indoors of my sample.

    Just looking for any good reason to not now rule this out. I'm so bummed, thought at first that if it didn't etch glass it might just be regular granite which I could live with. But if its marble, I suppose it's out of the running. I will try the lemon juice, but heres the other pics if youre interested or if they tell you anything else interesting.

  • homebuyer23

    And heres the sample they gave me...also a sample of jet mist honed.

  • beekeeperswife

    This wonderful thread is approaching the end. :( I hope Karin will start another one, part II.

    Just to update about our Super White for those interested. We don't have any stains. As has been said over and over it does etch, but the etches are not immediate, like when we tested a sample of marble. So, if you love it, and you do clean up, then go for it. The etches we see do just blend in with the gray, they are not rough to the touch. The only etches that make me the crazy are the perfect circles from glasses that leave a ring. (Still not sure why that happens).

    I've often wondered if I'd do it again. I do love it. But with the amount of care I need to shower upon it, I think "next time" I might just have to go with my true love - calacatta. And yes, my dh has said that same phrase, "next time"..... I can't even get the 90 day list completed by the builder--and we've been here 8 months already--so how can we actually say "next time", this one isn't even done yet!

    Anyway, very informative thread. It really should be added to the sticky thread.

    Thanks again Karin_MT


  • islanddevil

    Oh no, there is a limit to thread length? I'd love it if we could save this too and if Karin could start a new thread. Like "Karin The Rock Whisper Is In" !

  • karin_mt

    You guys are so great. Who knew folks would enjoy rocks so much.

    The all-new Rocks 102 thread has begun!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Continuation of this thread is here!

  • karin_mt


    At a glance your rock looks like gneiss rather than marble or quartzite. But pictures can be misleading, so don't take my word for it. Try the glass test again and also the lemon juice. It would be a shame to give up your TLS (true love slab), but if its marble then it's better to know now.

    You'll have to report your results in the continuation thread, but I'll be there! I love this Rock Whispering business. :)

  • ddgrl1310

    Hope Im not too late here as this is most helpful

    2 concerns:

    If a slab has what looks like crystal chunks in it , is that dolomite and more susceptible to etching ? I found a slab of crystal ice that I love ( below) i have yet to do the scratch test.


    I have read through most of this and have even done the scratch test...the pieces i have tested do scratch glass when i use the rough edge of the quartzite. What i want to know is about the sealers ....Seems the slabs come from the quarry with a shiny top coat- what is that - resin ?? are they sealed again after they are installed ? How does the next layer of sealer penetrate that top coat? Can you help in that dept Karin ? How does one know if they are getting their piece properly sealed

    Thanks so much for any info!


  • karin_mt

    Hi Donna,

    This thread had closed back when this forum was on Garden Web because all threads had a limit of 150 posts. So I kept starting new ones as they filled up. Anyway, now they can be revived and posted upon. But here is a link to the most recent thread and it contains links to all the previous ones. So if you want to spend the rest of your day reading about rocks in the kitchen, you may do so. :)

    Countertop Geology: Part 6

    To answer your questions:

    The way the rock has crystals in it doesn't affect how much it might etch, and in fact it doesn't even tell you much about what the rock is. Marble, dolomite, and quartzite all look too much alike to try to tell them apart visually. The only thing you can do is the scratch and etch tests. If your sample scratches glass that's a great sign! Next, try etching, and staining as well.

    The shiny surface on your slab may just be a highly polished surface, some rocks can be polished to a very reflective and smooth surface. However, it is also common practice to put resin on/in the slabs for some rocks, particularly if they have void spaces or cracks. That would inhibit sealer if it were everywhere, but I think usually the resin is not an even coat across the whole rock. That would leave a very plasticy surface, which would be quite a turnoff.

    Sealing is usually done after installation. Typically the fabricators do it, but you can do it too. It's not complicated.

    Hope that helps!

    - Karin

  • sofibebe

    I wish I had found this thread before our "wonderful" kitchen renovation experience. I too like many others- wanted the look of marble but better durability. We originally started our search with carrera, and were scared away from it. And then we discovered what the stoneyard was calling "calacatta" granite- which, from everything I have now read/seen/heard/tested, is really this "super white" marble. Unfortunately for us, we did all the testing on the sample piece afterwards, call us stupid, but we just went on their word, and didn't realize we should be testing the sample ourselves. When we did, it was after we already were in too deep with fabricating because the internet scared the hell out of me. Of course a very sharp pointed knife scratched it (not that i will be cutting or carving up on my countertops); keys did not, it maybe slightly bit into glass with one of the very sharp edges, but overall no. I left some red wine and a lemon, and some vinegar on a sample for an hour or so, the good news is it didn't stain colors, and it didn't turn it white, but it left a subtle shadow only visible at certain angles. Maybe I should have left it on longer. And who knows where the sample was from.

    We had so many issues with our kitchen reno, that we picked out our slab the week before the kitchen was supposed to be installed, and then cabinets were delayed for 3 months, so our stone sat out in the elements for that long of a time before it was templated and cut. So that was problem one- secondly, and again, the trust factor here, the stoneyard actually send the fabricator a different slab than the one we originally picked- nice right? It actually had much more beautiful flowing veins in it than our selection- but we also discovered hairline fissures in it - which landed of course, perfectly, around the sink area of the countertop- but as it lasted cutting, transport, and installation- i guess this is good news overall!

    Lastly, and here is where even fabricators don't know how to deal with this stone- we ended up with uneven levels of shine on our tops - which the fabricators said was "natural" to the stone- and then proceeded to tell me it didn't need sealer, because it was partially a man made stone- compressed and glued together, and wouldn't take sealer. Oh, and to clean it with Windex, Barkeepers (oxalic acid), and or Soft Scrub. Blasphemy right?

    Then they applied Tenax "color enhancer sealer" to a small area with a scratch to "eliminate it visually" and it left a darker shadow type etch- only visible in sideways directional light. Probably due to only applying it in that one small spot.

    So now i'm looking for someone to refinish the counters- hone, buff, polish, and seal correctly by someone who actually know what this stone is. They'd have to hone off the existing everything, polish, and then reseal. Spoken to a few people, they are pretty confident about restoring it to its shiny condition.

    Now that I know it is marble, i can treat it like a marble- but it wasn't what I had in mind when I selected it for my kitchen due to all of the misinformation. It is quite scary in that now we have this gorgeous, shiny as heck, peninsula, that we are afraid to put anything on. I moved a glass sugar dispenser (that has those little glass bead type of pattern on the bottom) over it and it left faint glossy little lines - those kind of just rubbed out with my hand, but a ceramic pot (where the ceramic wasn't enameled), left little shiny scratches, again really pretty invisible to the eye unless its me looking for it. Needless to say, everything on my countertop now has felt feet under it- as rubber feet also left drag marks on the counter. And my whole island top looks like someone took greasy fingers and left prints everywhere (again, only seen with different light angles)- but this is probably because the fabricators with their wise words used barkeepers, soft scrub and whatever else to "clean" it and left hazy stuff everywhere.

    Someone mentioned BeeKeepers wife having plexiglass templates cut to fit on her counter- is she here? Can she post on where she got them? I'd love to put this on my island, this way i can worry less about it. Right now we just keep a section covered with a silicone matt so we can put stuff on it without worrying about scratching, dripping, etc, and it is easy to wipe down

    For Karin, the stone expert- is it true that a resin on top of these stones might be causing more of the etching? Is it harmful to have the stone honed in place? All of the people i've contacted seem to be very confident in honing/repolishing the stone in place, and it's not as expensive as I thought it'd be.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions as to the maintenance? I have put wooden cutting boards down, and have been ferociously wiping down all water around the sink. I'm sure with time we will be less crazy about it. My main working counters don't get much directional light- only some by the sink because of a window, so I don't think it will bother us much there- but the island is such a big central piece, i am terrified of ruining it. Right now, my plan for entertaining is to put a thick vinyl table protector on top of it when people are over! But I'm not sure if this is something that should be on the counter all the time.

    We fell in love with the stone without knowing what it meant because we were ignorant of the whole testing process. I don't think anything would look as beautiful either way, and we don't have kids now so it's easier.... but when we do- they are eating on the floor LOL! (i kid, i kid) I think i'd rather them ruin the dining table!

    Anyway, here are some images, and I apologize for the extra lengthy post- i just want to put the whole story and experience out there in case there are any other question. Just looking for some help, advice, reassurance that I won't kill anyone at home over this!

    I apologize in advance for the cruddy cell phone photos- Here is our kitchen-

    Here is a shot of the haziness/smudgies i see on the peninsula portion- i can only assume they attempted to "clean" it with barkeepers/soft scrub and whatever else they recommended to me, considering they admitted to removing a rust spot with barkeepers- hey, maybe thats why the side of my sink is so matte compared the rest!

    Sink area- there is a seam in the middle of the sink fyi- so the matte piece is a separate piece.

    Some rubber feet marks- im still unclear how rubber feet would "etch" the surface- they don't come out, not with any amount of rubbing, or the use of the soft scrub in hidden place (just created haziness around it) - perhaps this has to do with any resin that might be on the surface? I don't know.

    And finally, where they used that color enhancing sealer in one spot to "hide" a scratch mark- this was rubbed in for a few seconds. So not sure if the "etch" or darker spot is because it was only put on in one place, and not for the entirety of the piece, or because its a color enhancer, and whatnot. It didn't visible alter the color, just created this - you can see a sublte darker circular shape around that top lightbulb.

    Any insight would be truly appreciated.

  • PRO

    Lots of great info on those threads.

    Sofi- I think that your stone people just didn't know this stone. When products (miracles in bottles) start appearing such as waxes, sealers, color enhancers,barkeepers(oxalic acid compound) and others it can become apparent that fighting the character/nature of the stone is a losing battle. The slab was fine until it got delivered to your house and you complained that this wasnt what you expected. The dull areas you now have were caused by misuse of the barkeepers and the soft scrub. The smudgy greasy areas or spots and the scuff marks or drags(they aren't etches) that you speak of are from the residue of the color enhancer. Super white etches because it contains calcites. However super white polished isn't very porous. So applying sealer or color enhancing sealer and rubbing it around the surface to hide etches ,scratches ,etc doesn't work(well maybe for a little while). Then you are left with a greasy smudgy chemical/sealer residue. A stone refinisher can correct all these issues for you and bring the stone to its original factory finish. Now the issue is how you will maintain it. You will have to learn to live with the stone and accept that it will etch.

  • sofibebe

    Agree in that it looks like - particularly on the island, smudgy all over is from the various things they've rubbed, "cleaned", "polished" it with in random spots. I did do the water test on it and it darkened within a minute or two on the polished area - it did evaporate however without leaving an etchmark, so based on the absorbency i take it it needs a good sealer.

    I did a smaller spot of water on a portion where it has been dulled down (other side of the sink in the pics) and it did leave what looked like a water mark, so not sure if it's just that portion of the stone thats a different make-up, or because it's more honed,- not sure, funnily enough, they applied that same color enhancing sealer to this dull portion to "bring out shine" (seriously?!) and it did not leave the same "etch" dark spot as it did on the shiny island finish. So even weirder that the water left a spot on this particular piece.

    Thanks Stu!

  • mariamoten

    Any advice on calcite? We are replacing our kitchen countertops - I'm in love with a piece I recently found, Everest Leather Calcite, however I don't want marble. Lots of misleading information on the web as to what Calcite is made of...is it marble or quartz? Ultimately I want durability, stain resistant, and as little scratching as possible as we've got 3 young children.

  • karin_mt

    Calcite? That's a mineral. It's the mineral that makes up limestone and marble. So if you don't want marble, then you definitely don't want calcite. I haven't come across any slabs named calcite, however I have seen things like calcita and whatnot.

  • lisagreggnyc


    Please! For anyone looking to use Calcite as a countertop, I have been searching for DAYS and only found some info, in link above, that talks about it as a potential material in the kitchen.

    Karin, I am a big fan and currently undergoing a complete apartment renovation in NYC. I am madly in love with Iceberg White Calcite but am worried about the etching problems, especially as I am installing both LED under-cabinet lighting as well as bright pendant lighting over my island. I have even gone so far as to order a HONED sample (recommended as better than polished by Artistic Tile) and will seal it myself to see if it makes any difference in my at-home stress test w acidic foods!

    Any more information you can provide would be so very appreciated. I have spent MONTHS looking for a composite material that truly mimics stone (including Dekton and Neolith), but nothing moves me like this rock for my kitchen! Is there any hope for using it if I get honed and seal it?!

  • sofibebe

    i had a piece of my super white honed, and it loses so much of its depth- i'm definitely keeping mine polished- we've been very careful with our contertops so far- we don't drag things across it, esp any unglazed ceramic or glass that has those little bumps on the bottom- that'll scratch any marble- quick to wipe up spills- so no stains- i also use these pretty grey silicone baking mats on either side of the oven when i cook to 1- prevent oil and drips from the pans, 2- working space where i don't have to worry about scratches.... easy clean up, and no worries for your tops ... for some reason, the super white doesn't etch like a normal marble, which can tend to get whitened and rougher to the touch. the etch is almost like a darker shadow- still shiny, no difference to the touch, and you can only see this shadow (it literally looks like a shadow, as if something is hovering over it, but again, you have to be at the right angle of light to see it)- i left a little spill from the blender which contained a lot of orange juice and hardened into a sticky streak by morning. no stain, no white rough etch, just a little shadow that i have to try extremely hard to figure out where it is and only i know its there, otherwise, it just blends into the movement of the veins of the stone.

  • PRO

    Yes - for sure a stones finish is in the eye of the beholder. We always tell folks that! Honed can be easier to take care of and a good number of clients would not opt for polished stone. If you understand the nature of the stone you can get along with it much better. If your detail oriented it can be frustrating to try and manage calcite based stones.

    Lisa-my best advice to you is to get a sample, take it home and see if you can mimic what it would be if you had a kitchen full. The honed surface wont show etches as much as a polished surface. Sealing does nothing to prevent etching-

  • lisagreggnyc

    Thanks Stoneshine - I am going to do just that. I am wondering if etching looks particularly bad under LED under-cabinet lighting or pendant lighting (directly over the island). Also, there are several products on the market which CLAIM to help prevent/conceal etchings, but I am wondering if they are promising too much! I do use quite a bit of acidic materials in my cooking, esp lemon and balsamic vinegar. My architect thinks I'm nuts to use calcite so if anyone knows of a similar material which is "safer" please let me know!

    Many thanks again!

  • PRO

    Have you looked at true quartzites? White macaubas is awesome-and there are others as well. We have lots of clients that coexist with their calcite based stones and some that are driven insane by them. We may be the only country in the world where a piece of stone can produce insanity!! I don't think you are nuts for falling in love with a particular stone-the question is can you live with it?

  • PRO

    As far as etching under lights-it seems to show more in natural lighting and the right angles!

  • lisagreggnyc

    Thanks again Stoneshine - do you think any of those products which claim to prevent/remove etching are for real, or are they all about the same, making a few false promises?

  • karin_mt

    Lisa, I feel your pain. I can see how much you want this to work, but I feel like you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The reality is the stone will etch. Nothing will change that. If you are worried about etching to the point where you're looking at different lighting, or considering products that claim to change the natural properties of the rock, then I think marble is not for you. People that love marble love it regardless of the etches and they embrace the whole process. If you are worried about it, I think it will drive you crazy.

    The description in the link you posted is not correct. It says the rock has feldspar in it, which it does not. It is made of one mineral: calcite! Whoever wrote that blurb should have at least gotten that part right!

  • PRO

    Clearstone is the only one I know of. However it has its pros and cons as I am sure they all do. You can have a look at their website-

    I happen to agree with Karin-

  • lisagreggnyc

    Thanks to both of you!

    I am using natural stone throughout my apartment - incl Bianco Dolomite, Pietra Grey (aka Graphite) as well as Thassos and possibly Statuario. All those, however, are in bathrooms. I appreciate your empathy and think I may just have to DO IT! I am not one for manmade materials, Gd help me!

    I actually had a lightbulb go off in my head that MAY help: I can use Ceasrstone (or whatever) near the sink and range, where I will be doing the majority of my food prep. Then, on the island - which essentially juts out toward my living room in an open plan - use the Calcite. I can then compliment the main part of the kitchen using the Calcite at the backsplash ONLY. I know we will be eating a lot on the island, but I feel the chances of splashing lemon or vinegar the island may be more minimal than in the work area of the kitchen.

    BTW - does red wine etch?

    You guys rock (get it?)!

  • karin_mt

    Yes, red wine etches.

    Why not go with quartzite or some other non-marble stone?

  • alley2007

    I think that only you can decide if you will be able to live with etches or not. I agonized over marble as well, so thought I'd share my experience. I was all set to pay a lot more money for calacatta quartzite. When I went to the stone yard to finalize my slab selection, they had the quartzite pulled right next to some beautiful marble. The quartzite did not stand a chance (and this was really nice quartzite - I had already searched high and low for the whitest quartzite with just the right amount of veining). It just isn't white like marble.

    So, I decided to get marble hoping that I could live with etching. Guess what? I absolutely can. My kitchen doesn't get a lot of natural light, so that might be part of it (although there are 3 pendants over the marble island with 200 watts each and tons of can lights). And, I put absolute black granite on the cooktop wall where most of my splatters occur.

    Can you see the etches in the picture below? I can only see them if I bend down so my eyes are countertop level, crane my neck, and have the light shining on them just right. The circle etch doesn't look that bad in person, it was hard to get it to show up in a picture, in fact. Would that drive you crazy?

  • lisagreggnyc

    Hi alley2007,

    Wow - I really cannot see it, unless you mean that tiny circle in the middle of the bright white. I have to ask you what kind of marble that is? I absolutely love the pure white with black veining (as I've grown a bit tired of grey veining)...! Please do share!

    I am happy to hear your comments and think natural stone is worth the tradeoffs. Like yours, my kitchen does not get natural light - in fact it is toward the back of my apartment without a window and the reason I am getting different types of lights installed. I will keep note of your wattage for reference.

    I will also let some of you folks know what happens next week when I get my sample of honed calcite, seal it and perform my multiple acidic food & beverage tests! Cheers!

  • alley2007

    I circled the etches that showed up in the picture below. Don't know how the circle one got there, but splatters like that are all over. The other one was from setting a container on the counter that must have had some lemon juice on the bottom of it.

    It is Carrara "Extra." The veins are grey, but are very pronounced. It is hard to find carrara this white lately. I found this at Dal Tile, which has locations throughout the US. T&M Supply (which also has a great selection of true quartzite) also tends to get beautiful Carrara and they also have locations throughout the US. If you like the pronounced veining, also take a look at Statuario marble. Good luck!

  • Snap Girl


    I'm intrigued and perplexed by the cost of your quartzite.....please tell me more. (: I'm getting quotes from 65 (prob dolomitic marble) to 125 a sq ft.

  • PRO
    Juniper Road Studios

    I just wanted to say that I'm an Interior Designer and have used so many of these stones without truly understanding their physical characteristics and properties. I took geology in college because I knew it would be helpful, but this thread has taught me more in two days of reading than one college class did in an entire semester. I've learned so much that the slab yards have totally failed to mention to me or my clients. You gave me the information I needed to help my clients make better informed decisions. Thank you Karin_mt for your honest answers and wealth of knowledge! You should seriously write a designers guide to rocks. SO helpful!

    karin_mt thanked Juniper Road Studios
  • karin_mt

    Wow, thank you 3-19, that feels really good to hear. Thank you for taking the time to write that. And, I'm very pleased to say that I will be giving a webinar series for the Marble Institute of America, starting next week. The webinars are free and open to everyone, so please stop on by!


    Go up to "Events" to see the other dates and topics in the Introduction to Natural Stone series. I'm excited to do these and I will do my best to make them entertaining!

  • nebster

    I've selected a "super white quartzite from Brazil", show below, that looks pretty close to "arabescato" that I see posted around the internet. I'm now far away from the slabyard and my project is about to begin. Should I push pause and get this stone tested, or does anyone know if this arabescato stuff is usually quartzite or usually marble?

  • karin_mt

    Most definitely pause. It's marble often enough that I wouldn't dream of proceeding without checking it out further. Good catch nebster!

  • nebster

    Most definitely pause. It's marble often enough that I wouldn't dream of proceeding without checking it out further. Good catch nebster!

    Thanks, Karin. Being married to a geologist, but nevertheless not knowing anything about rocks, I appreciate your contributions to the forums here over the many years.

    I have spoken with the gal at the slabyard, and they say they've sold tons of these slabs over the last few years and have never had any complaints, so she felt like they would have heard if people were getting etching and marble performance instead of the expected granite/quartzite imperviousness. That sounds pretty rational, but better safe than sorry!

    What surprises me is that the arabescato is so consistently visually similar with itself. (Especially versus all the other "whites" that are out there.) So I am surprised that a slab would ever look like this and be of a totally different composition. Unless it turns out this stuff is always marble; that would fit with my simple mental model of the world. :)

  • karin_mt

    Thanks Nebster, and now I'm extra curious how the slabs will fare in testing. There is some logic in the salesperson's rationale, but I wouldn't stake money on it. I agree with you that it doesn't make sense that the slabs could look so similar and yet not be the same thing. Perhaps this is where the confusion comes from.

    Married to a geologist - you lucky thing! :)

  • Jancy

    When I was looking at Quartzite I was told Super White would not etch also. I got a sample from the slab and the White part etched, grey part did not. It also scratched easily with a knife. I tested on different areas on the sample.

  • bcg2014

    I wonder if it was sealed if that won't had happened....assuming the samples are not sealed....I am reading this post for info as I am researching Super White

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