If you’ve gone shopping for marble either for your floor or for your countertop, you may have come across some marbles that are secondarily labeled as “quartzites”. This can be a little confusing – after all, marble is a calcium-based stone. If the stone you’ve been considering for your home has the word “quartzite” in its description, you’re in luck; quartzites are much harder, more durable, and far less likely to stain than true marble.
Pick up a piece of Blue Celeste or Thasos White. You’ll immediately notice that these two stones seem to sparkle with a grain, rather than having a smooth, veined surface like most marbles. That’s because these two stones are quartzites, which gives them slightly different properties than other stones.
Like marble, quartzite is a metamorphic stone. While marble is made up of calcite, however, quartzites are made of quartz that has undergone a metamorphic transformation. This leaves the stones smooth and glossy like marble, but with the hardness and durability of quartz.
Both marble and quartzite can occur in a variety of different colors, although both are considered purest when white. You can generally tell the difference when examining the stones by looking at the stone under light; quartzites tend to sparkle and appear to be made of compressed sugar, while marbles are visually smoother and contain more veins.
The biggest difference between the two stones comes in terms of durability. Quartzites are less likely to stain and etch or to have surface damage upon contact with acidic materials such as lemon juice. If you were to place a piece of pure white Thasos next to a piece of Calacatta and place a drop of water and a drop of lemon juice on each one, the Thasos would be less likely to darken from the water or dull from the lemon than the Calacatta. This makes quartzites an ideal choice for countertops and high traffic/high use areas such as foyers and bathrooms.
Every stone is slightly different depending on the different minerals that it possesses and the variations in its composition. If you come across some quartzite in your hunt for marble, don’t feel that you’re getting a lesser product; most quartzites are just as beautiful and much more durable than marble, making them a coveted choice for many installations.
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