The incredible colours and delightful imperfections of natural stone
What do you need to know about choosing a natural stone when it comes to colour?
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re seriously considering natural stone for an upcoming interior design project or makeover. Of course, we can’t fault your taste, because as we never tire of saying, stone is a fantastic choice for walls and floors, not just for the many practical advantages it offers, but first and foremost for its unrivalled aesthetic value.
There are a number of factors that make it special, starting with the fact that every single piece is unique. No two blocks will ever have the exact same nuances of colour, vein patterns or the so-called inclusions such as fossils or quartz traces that are such an intrinsic element of stone.
However, before you narrow down your choice, there are a number of factors to consider so that you end up with the right type of stone that is in line with your taste and any architectural or design necessities of the home it will grace.
Colour is, unsurprisingly, one of the major considerations and with that in mind, we put the spotlight on a trio of popular neutral shades and look at a white, a grey and a near-black variety of natural stone.
In nature, colours are never perfectly uniform and this is no different when it comes to stone. After all, it is a material that has been created over thousands of years by the environment it is found in, its structure and surface appearance transformed and defined by the elements.
If you are looking for a material that is cookie-cutter perfect and homogeneous, you should probably forget stone and opt for a manmade solution. If, however, you are happy to accept imperfections created by nature and are looking for something truly one-off, timeless and incredibly practical, natural stone ticks all the boxes.
And yes, you are going to find little holes, baby fossils and irregular vein patterns, but these are the things that make it so sought after and special. That said, the leading experts in the sector understand how to get the most out of stone and minimise any jarring characteristics so that you end up with a pleasing, harmonious effect. At Salvatori, for example, we grade our tiles by colour and veining to ensure they are as homogenous as possible, and offer laying guidelines to help create the best layout for the room in question.
With that said, let’s now take a look at our three different stones as we explain what to look out for.
Bianco Carrara is a lustrous marble that lends itself perfectly to both outdoor and indoor usage. Its colour palette ranges from white to grey and contains greyish veins of shades from light to dark, which can vary in form and thickness. You will sometimes find pale yellow marks, caused by the oxidisation process, along with subtle white or yellowish lines created by dolomite crystals. Other typical characteristics include small traces of quartz and tiny holes which are officially referred to as taroli.
Despite its “imperfections”, Bianco Carrara has long been considered the marble par excellence, prized by sculptors and architects throughout history and used for some of the most famous monuments and works of art in the world.
With its somewhat austere beauty, Grigio Versilia is a sombre and distinctive marble. Its intense cool grey tones are interrupted by swathes of dramatic white veins, making it an elegant and striking solution. Compact and hardwearing, it can be used in a variety of contexts both indoors and outdoors, and its low level of porosity makes it suitable for wet zones and kitchens.
As with Bianco Carrara, every block, slab and tile will differ in terms of the graduations of white and grey, and you will inevitably find miniscule holes, fine lines and other small “flaws” that are intrinsic to its structure and beauty.
Pietra d’Avola, a gorgeous limestone, is a lead-coloured grey in its natural state, and you can see this in our Cotone finish. With a colour-enhancing treatment, however, it is transformed into a glorious rich dark-brown with an intensity of shade that can vary from grey-brown to near-black.
Its hardwearing properties make it a versatile choice and an excellent option for areas that are subject to high foot traffic, while its lustrous dark tones make it perfect if you are looking to create a sophisticated, moody atmosphere.
In terms of its particular characteristics, Pietra d’Avola will often contain small yellowish marks, bright white quartz traces, thin pale lines and variations in shade.
So, that’s a quick look at three different colours across three different stones, each of which is versatile, hardwearing and unfailingly elegant. The characteristics that distinguish them should never be considered as flaws, but are to be embraced an intrinsic element of the stone, created by nature. If you love the idea of using such a product for your walls and floors, why not get in touch and let us help you find the perfect stone and texture? We would love to share our technical and design experience with you.