On our premises customers can view extensive stocks of a wide variety of natural stones quarried from all corners of the earth. We are also the UK distributors of Lapitec, a sintered stone made from 100% natural minerals. We also stock an extensive variety of after care products. These are the results of the most up to date scientific research, all designed and developed to maintain and protect your finished project. To avoid confusion and disinformation the names assigned to our natural materials are those that are in common use throughout the stone industry. From a historical perspective and in common with other stone suppliers we have grouped our natural materials based on a traditional but loose classification under the headings of Marble, Granite, Slate, Quartzite, Limestone and Sandstone. In addition to their visual appeal all natural materials possess physical, chemical and structural characteristics that can provide clues to their age and genesis. For many visitors to our premises these products, of natural earth processes over deep geological time, represent one of the ultimate expressions of a natural product of real quality. Although we are passionate about our product and interested to supply additional information where we can, we would like to remind all clients that we not a geological organisation and information provided on this website should not be used as a full geological explanation for our materials.
True marble was originally limestone that has been altered by heat and pressure over time. These materials originally deposited as unconsolidated sediments under water by chemical precipitation and by living organisms, have been buried, heated and subject to huge confining pressures over lengthy periods of time. Such processes of metamorphism have transformed the limestone to a denser, harder crystalline rock. Relic features of the original limestone can be preserved although much altered. Furthermore selective partial melting can result in migration of liquids and other volatiles through the fabric of the marble further altering its composition and structure giving rise to some stunning features including:
Mineral veining (Example) Grigio Carnico
Brecciation (Example) Marron Imperial
Tradition maintains that even today several well known materials continue to be called marbles when in fact they are technically dense limestones that will take a high polish.
Under this heading are mainly those materials that have formed through a process of crystallization of an original liquid molten rock solution (Magma). The resulting wide range of mineral types, their structures, colours, shapes, sizes and distribution, is governed by the original chemical composition of the liquid phase and the changing, temperature, pressure and chemical environments that the molten body goes through as it cools to become solid rock.
In general the crystalline mineral structure of granite is both hard and durable which in terms of construction usage make such materials more hardwearing than the majority of decorative marbles, limestone and sandstone.
All slates are created from argillaceous (muddy) sediments such as clay, mudstones and deep sea ooze. Over time the very fine grained clays and mineral particles in these mudstones are buried by younger sediments. As overburden pressures increase water is gradually squeezed out so that flat platey clay minerals and micas rotate and are realigned perpendicular to the direction of pressure so forming a rock known as shale. This dynamic metamorphism over time and with increasing pressure and temperature drives out the remaining free water. Stronger bonding between tighter packed and increasingly aligned particles in addition to the formation of some new minerals leads to the formation of a rock we can now call slate.
These are sedimentary carbonate materials that accumulate in water as layers or beds through various chemical and biological processes. Predominantly of calcium and magnesium the chemistry of these carbonates often include other elements such as iron that will play a part in the structure, colour and patterning found in these materials. A limestone will frequently exhibit structures and other relic features that give clues to the age and environment that existed when the deposit was laid down.
Example: Jura Beige with fossil ammonites of Jurassic age.
The range of warm beige, golden and burnt sugar colours the result of disseminated iron oxide locally becoming concentrated (mineralisation) in this stone. This is a limestone composed largely from broken fossil shell fragments (bioclasic). The sweeping patterns were created as ocean currents reworked and sorted the loose mineral and fossil fragments on the sea bed.
Sandstones are another sedimentary rock type. The source of sandstones grains are those minerals and rock fragments that remain after weathering and erosion of previous rocks. Such fragments are transported, modified, sorted and deposited in layers and beds usually through the action of moving water and sometimes wind. Silica makes up almost 47% by weight of the earth’s crust. Quartz is a simplest mineral form of Silica. Quartz is also relatively stable, hard, very common and is generally the predominant constituent particle found in sandstone.
Examples: Quartzite Gold (left) and Quartzite Brown (right)
As with limestone the presence of other minerals, rock particles, fossil traces and depositional structures all combine to influence the overall appearance of sandstone. The cement that bonds these grains together to form a stone is wide ranging. It can be siliceous, calcareous, ferruginous, carbonaceous etc. or various combinations of some or all. The nature of this cement naturally will have an effect on the colour of this material and will be one of the main factors governing its physical qualities of strength and porosity.
Quartzite is a non-foliated metamorphic rock which started out as a sandstone with a high concentration of pure quartz. Quartzite is formed when these quartz rich sandstones are subjected to heat, pressure and are chemically metamorphosed into a much harder and durable material. The individual quartz grain recrystallize during the process and form an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals. Physically, quartzite’s tend to be white to grey in colour but can also be coloured with pinks reds and purples by other minerals found in the material.
Example: Bianca Eclipsia (left) and Aurora Fantasy (right)
Lapitec is produced with the hardness of porcelain, the natural minerals from stone and the consistency of manufactured stone-without any of the resins. A unique product now defined as a Sintered Stone, Lapitec is a supreme example of a construction material developed by employing advanced scientific manufacturing techniques. It has only been possible to create such a material by obtaining the most highly refined natural constituents and by controlling the physical and chemical environment of aggregation and crystallisation during manufacture, to a degree not possible before. Lapitec’s composition is 100% mineral with no resin or hydrocarbon based binder components. It’s chemistry and mineralogy is similar to a granite but with a tight, cryptocrystalline structure similar to Porcelain.
Lapitec is produced using 100% natural minerals that can be found in granites and porcelain materials. These carefully selected minerals are then processed using sintering technology and machinery exclusively developed by Breton S.p.A. The sintering process involves subjecting particles to very high heat and pressure in order to fuse minerals together. This process requires no binding agents helping to provide Lapitec with colour stability, recyclability and almost zero porosity. For more information visit the Lapitec UK website: www.lapitec.co.uk