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DWYER MARBLE & STONE  •  DESIGN NEWSLETTER  •  Vol. 2, Issue 12  •  Back Issues click to call: 248.476.4944

Quartzite Slab Finder
Article: Quartzite – A Closer Look
Project Spotlight: RH (Restoration Hardware): Nashville, TN

Quartzite Slab Finder




Quartzite – A Closer Look

by Karin Kirk

Quartzite might just be the hottest natural stone at the moment. If quartzite were on Instagram, it would have thousands of followers, and as with any other celebrity sensation, people would wonder in hushed tones, "Can that be real?" Or, "Looks too good to be true!"

Florencia Quartzite

With its marble looks and granite toughness, sometimes quartzite does seem too good to be true. Overall, this isn't a terrible thing. Quartzite is pushing people to look beyond aesthetics and use the properties of the stone to determine what it is and how we should use it. Beyond alluring looks, a stone's inherent traits are something we can rely on, every time.

Sandstone and quartzite are made of the same mineral — quartz — and they have similar properties. Both sandstone and quartz have a hardness of 7 and will easily scratch glass. As you know, sandstone is a sedimentary rock. Sandstone starts out as humble beach sand. Eventually, sand gets buried and compressed by overlying layers, and minerals carried by groundwater act as glue that binds the sand grains together into solid rock.

Black Fusion Quartzite

Quartzite picks up where sandstone leaves off. It's a metamorphic rock — one that's been baked into an extra-tough stone by the heat and pressure that only comes from deep burial way down in Earth's crust. Such events are usually brought about by tectonic collisions, where continents grind into each other.

Quartzite isn't melted sandstone. It's sandstone that is fused together so tightly that the sand grains lose their individual identities. The minerals crystallize together into a dense fabric of quartz crystals. The deeper and hotter the stone gets, the more tightly it's fused.

Iceberg Quartzite

The heat and pressure that turn sandstone to quartzite is not a definitive, black-and-white occurrence. It's a gradual process, with subtle differences occurring all along the spectrum. There is no exact moment that sandstone becomes quartzite. It's similar to the way that colors blend from one shade to the next. When does Royal Blue become Navy Blue? It's hard to pin down, exactly. Because there is a range of quartzites and sandstones, it's wise to assess each stone as an individual, rather than relying on broad categories or stone names as the last word on how a given stone will behave.

As always, don't take my word for this. Stone names are variable, and stones themselves are variable. The properties will tell you so much more than the names. Learn as much as you can, and let that guide your decision about which stones to work with. Quartzites are fabulous, durable stones with a range of colors, patterns, and potential uses. The better we understand them, the more we can enjoy them!

© UseNaturalStone.com

Project Spotlight: RH (Restoration Hardware)
Nashville, Tennessee

Paver Material Supplied By:  Dwyer Marble & Stone
Material Used:  European Bluestone Pavers
Architect:  Hobbs + Black, Ann Arbor