Stone Terroir: The Importance of Viewing Material Before You Purchase It  

Viewing Stone Before Purchase

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But what if those thousand words include phrases like: “Wait, are you serious, that color looks nothing like the color in the picture.” Or, “No, it didn’t look like that on the company’s website. The stone didn’t have those quartz flecks, and the pink highlights were different. Now the kitchen countertop isn’t going to match the wood cabinets.”

Think about it for a moment.

In person, the hotel where you choose to spend a two-week vacation only faintly resembles the one advertised in the glossy travel brochure, and the car color you pick from a magazine or advertisement may end up being vastly different than what you expect once you see it in person.

The same principle is at work when you choose natural materials for home projects. However, while splashy travel brochures and fast food menus are doctored, photo-shopped, and given the Instagram-effect, the color of a natural material, like stone, can vary from quarry to quarry, and vein to vein, making the pictures of marble or bluestone in a home decor magazine or online sample wall different from what you’d see and experience in a store.

Stone Terroir

Terroir is a French word commonly associated with wine. It’s the environmental factors such as soil, terrain, climate, and sunlight that give wine grapes their distinctive flavor and aroma. In other words, a vineyard’s location, whether it’s surrounded by mountains, valleys, and bodies of water, as well as the amount of sun, rain, and wind it receives all affect the basic makeup of the wine.

Terroir can be applied to stone quarries, too. It takes millions of years to naturally form stone in quarries, and not all of the stone is of the same quality. The color and characteristics of the stone are indicative of its location in the quarry. For example, the main artery of a quarry, often called the “hearth,” produces different block than what’s found in veins deeper in the mountain. Like grapes in a vineyard, the stones from each quarry are unique; they’re true markers of a place and the forces that created it. An analogy might go something like this: the high-quality marble pulled from the Carrara quarry in Italy is like the wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France.

Finally, what is the quarry experiencing when the stone comes out? How is the quarry being mined? All of these things can have various effects on the stone and what it may or may not be used for.

Experience the Stone in Person

Stone is a product that should be experienced before it’s purchased. While stone isn’t a living thing, like wood, its combination of minerals and consolidated sediments is similar to an ecosystem. Now, we’re not suggesting that you head to a quarry, fire up the blasting equipment, and haul off some stone in a newly acquired mining truck. But viewing the material before you purchase it, looking at and touching the actual stone in a store, is better than ordering it from a brochure or even an on-line photograph, as the picture in the brochure or on-line is not always what you’ll receive.

When it comes to choosing natural stone for a home project, it’s best to view and experience the material in person. While a picture might be worth a thousand words, the last thing you want when the stone arrives at your doorstep is for those words to be: “Oh, no. This isn’t what we wanted at all.” So, if you’re ready to get started on a natural stone project, have your client stop into a showroom like the one here at Connecticut Stone, and take a look through all the natural stone products we have to offer.

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