Grouped together with marble and commercially called “marble”, serpentine is actually not a marble. It is a magnesium-silicate based stone compared to the calcite based marbles. It has greater acid and abrasive resistance than true marble does. The mineral make up of serpentine make these slabs all have a green appearance, some can be rather translucent while others can be a deep dark green.
A metamorphic rock known for its ability to be processed into thin sheets and maintain its strength and rigidity. It has been used for blackboards and roofing shingles. It is an alteration of shale or mudstone and is softer than granites even though it is part of the siliceous group.
A metamorphic rock that is in the same grouping as slate. It is known for its high chemical resistance and is generally used as counter tops in chemistry laboratories (as it is of the siliceous group). It has a high heat resistance and is frequently used around fireplaces. It does have a ‘sponge’ kind of effect where it darkens when it gets wet or oil from your fingers. It is best when this type of stone is “conditioned” by periodically rubbing with mineral oil to keep the colors enhanced. Being made up of mostly talc mineral (1 out of 10 in Mohs scale), soapstone is very soft and highly susceptible to abrasion damage.
This term refers to a sedimentary type of stone that has ‘sand’ sized particles bond together by other agents. Even though the particles are usually of a hard quartz mineral, the properties of sandstone tend to be influenced more by the binding agents. As one would guess, this is a highly unstable material and is very limited in its use.
Quartzite is a non-foliate metamorphic rock that is created from sandstone. It is composed primarily of quartz which can give these types of stones exceptional strength, density, and hardness. These stones are among the most durable and gorgeous types around, however it can get pretty pricy and difficult to find.