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DWYER MARBLE & STONE  •  DESIGN NEWSLETTER  •  Vol. 2, Issue 10  •  Back Issues click to call: 248.476.4944

IN THIS ISSUE:
New! Real-Time Slab Inventory
Article: Why Gneiss Is Nice
Project Spotlight: Private Residence

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Why Gniess Is Nice

by Karin Kirk


Don't take gneiss for granite



Titanium

Gneiss is among the most common commercial stones, but you may not have heard of gneiss because it's almost always classified as granite. Geologically speaking, granite and gneiss are similar, so classifying them together makes sense.

You can think of gneiss as a metamorphic version of granite. Both are made of feldspars, quartz, mica, and dark colored minerals like hornblende. Both have tightly interlocking minerals, and are minimally porous. Their properties and uses are similar.



Blue Dunes


The difference between granite and gneiss is in their overall texture and movement. Granite is evenly speckled. It formed from liquid magma that cooled and crystallized. Granite is like rocky road ice cream — a solidified conglomeration of different ingredients.

Gneiss, arguably, is more visually interesting. It's characterized by stripes, linear bands, or flowy rivers of color. This pattern is called foliation and it's a result of the rock being squeezed and heated. Gneiss is like ribbon candy — it's been folded and swirled while hot, and then left to harden. The stone captures the expressiveness and movement that come from its dynamic origins.

The striped, wavy look of gneiss comes from extreme amounts of compression. The random orientation of minerals you see in granite is an inefficient use of space, sort of like the ragtag pile of magazines you left next to the couch. Those magazines take up less space if you stack them all the same way, right? This principle applies to minerals too. They align themselves in the same direction when they get buried a few miles deep and pressed between colliding continents. If the pressure on the stone is evenly distributed, you get straight or gently flowing stripes. If the compression involves folding or twisting, as it often does in geologic crumple zones, then you get a stone with wavy or ribbonlike texture.



Amarone

Gneiss Aesthetics

One of the fun things about natural stone is the huge range of aesthetics that are expressed in stone. Gneiss is no exception; it comes in many variations, and can appeal to many different styles and tastes. While all gneiss is striped or banded, the bands can be straight, gently wavy, or chaotic. The colors can be mostly dark, or mostly light. The stone can be black and white, or black and pink, or black and gold, or nearly any combination thereof.

Note that a stone of a given name can have different patterns depending on which direction it is cut and which part of the quarry it is from. When shopping for gneiss, it's helpful to select specific slabs to get the look you want.

© UseNaturalStone.com


Project Spotlight: Private Residence
Slab Material Supplied By:  Dwyer Marble & Stone
Material Used:  Aurea Stone Venatino Sfumato
Architect:  DesRosiers Architects, Bloomfield Hills
Builder:  Custom Homes By Derocher, Royal Oak
Kitchen & Bath:  Bella Cucina Designs, Sylvan Lake
Fabricator & Installer:  P.M.P. Marble & Granite, Troy