Updated: Apr 24, 2019
One of the reasons we love the stone business is that it is never dull. There is always something new to learn and it's always fascinating to us in many ways. The dimensional stone industry while growing is still relatively small compared to let's say porcelain and ceramic tile, which I believe is something like 7 X the volume of natural stone (don't quote me on that, I think I heard that a trade show somewhere. Perhaps I'll follow up in a future blog post). As a result, it is not regulated. Further, to a large extent technical data is not always readily available. There are various industry trade groups like the Marble Institute of America, for example, that do provide a great deal of information yet, there is no formal standardization that is uniformly regulated, monitored and enforced throughout the stone industry at large.
As a result, names for the same material can and often do vary from company to company, and particular stone types can sometimes be misclassified. Such as the subject of this Blog Post, a wonderful stone from Brazil commonly called "Super White" (we've always called it Palisades White....see what i mean...). If you type SUPER WHITE SLABS into your browser search bar you will get somewhere in the neighborhood of 781,000 hits. Scanning quickly, you will see classifications of this stone as Granite, Quartzite and Marble. Which one is it?
Let's take a quick look at Super White and compare it to Quartzite and Granite based on just its appearance:
Super White (our latest shipment of 3cm Slabs)
Granite: Arctic White (Kashmere White)
All Three are white (grey) all three have some movement, yet each one looks a bit different with regard to veining, composition, clarity, and overall structure. For those interested, I've provided several links for you to glean more information from below.
However, before you get to that, let me give you a few hints to start you off:
Looking at the super white, its wavy, flowing, watery. The veining or slab movement is more dramatic (for lack of a better word) than quartzite or granite and blends in a way that you typically do not see in the other stone types.
Next, the Giotto quartzite: the veins are thin, while the background is homogenous and dense. The background composition is very uniform and compressed. You do not notice individual crystals. It almost looks like it could be manmade. Of course all quartzite are different, but these traits are cues for you to consider. (see our previous blog on THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO QUARTZITE for more info)
The granite is.......Granular! Speckled. Most granites no matter the color have this quality. Not all, but most. If you see a grainy quality to the appearance, from a visual point of view, in many cases, you can bet on it being granite.
Now there are more accurate tests you can do to identify stone as marble, granite, quartzite, limestone etc etc. You can carry around some glass and some diluted hydrochloric acid and see how each stone reacts to both. Granite and Quartzite can scratch glass, marble and limestone can not. Marble and limestone will dissolve (effervesce) from exposure to acid, Granite and Quartzite, generally do not.
As far as hardness goes, the pecking order is as follows from hardest to softest:
So what is SUPER WHITE then???? Super White is a Dolomite, Which is a marble. it's a somewhat harder stone than typical marble, yet it is a marble non the less. That means, while it may be more resistant to acid and harder to scratch, it will in fact, etch from acids (citrus, lemon juice) and it can also be scratched.
Reminder: As I noted at the beginning of this Blog, we call our Super White PALISADES WHITE. Which you can view in our MARBLE SLAB GALLERY. We do have a true quartzite called SUPERWHITE that you can also see in our QUARTZITE SLAB GALLERY.
Is Super White right for you? To answer that question, I have included below some helpful links on the subject, and a short video where I contrast the visual difference between Super White and Quartzite.