Natural stone is a creation of nature. Like so many natural formations, every piece is unique and matchless. Within each piece of stone also lies the history of one particular place on our planet. Today's limestone floor for instance, was once a mass of tiny sea creatures, then an ancient seabed, and after millions of years of uplift, a mountainside where the limestone was discovered in our day.
Your natural stone was cut out from a mountainside originally in huge 50,000 pound blocks of stone. The blocks were then sliced into slabs which were then refined to give its natural colors a mirror like depth, smooth soft surface or left slightly rough to enhance its rich natural texture.
The luster, hardness, colors and variation are all indications of the stone's mineral composition and origin. This unique blend of characteristics is what makes your natural stone a one-of-a-kind, beautiful yet practical surface for your home.

There are two factors that determine stone's characteristics.

Origin - How was it made?

Composition - What is it made of?


Igneous Stone - "Born of Fire"

Granite comes from igneous rocks, formed slowly, as it cooled deep underground. Their minerals look like small flecks typically spread consistently throughout stone. Some other types have veining (linear waves) like marble. They are hard (cannot be scratched by steel) and dense.

Sedimentary Stone - "Cementing of Grains"

Sandstone and limestone would fall into this category. These stones are formed through the compacting of grains or pieces of any kind of existing rock material. These existing rocks may have been weathered, transported, deposited and then cemented over millions of years by the movement of the earth's tectonic plates. From the formation of the continents to an earthquake or volcanic eruption, all of these events have helped form this stone. Sedimentary stones may even contain fossils or other distinct features formed at the time of deposition.

Metamorphic Stone - "Changed in Structure"

Marble and slate are metamorphic stones. They were formed at extremely high pressures and temperatures below melting. The presence of swirls, linear patterns or banding is a key characteristic. Slate is a fine grained, metamorphic rock, which cleaves in flat, almost smooth pieces. Marble is a metamorphic limestone that loses the fossils and other features during the recrystallization.



These stones are made mostly of quartz-like particles called silica. They are very hard, durable and generally acid resistant. Examples: granite, sandstone, slate and quartzite.

Calcium Carbonates

The minerals in these stones were formed under pressure over millions of years from the bodies of tiny fossilized creatures. These stones are softer, less durable than silicates and acid sensitive. Examples: limestone, marble and travertine.


Natural stone is found in countries all over the world... from Angola to Zimbabwe. Depending on the type of stone, it is found within the earth, mountains, low lying areas such as plains, or former sea beds where the collection of sediment has occurred.

Your stone selection probably started with a sample chip, but that's not where it started for us.  It all goes back to the earth. While the finished product may be glamorous, the task of finding and selecting and processing natural stone to bring it to the final application is a long and arduous process.

Natural stone is mined in quarries all over the world. Blocks of stone are cut from the earth. Then the selection process starts to find the right blocks.

Once selected, blocks are loaded on trucks and shipped to a factory to be cut to our specifications. The processing of natural stone is one of the most critical steps that ultimately lead to customer satisfaction.

After processing, selecting and inspecting the final order, the material is packaged, loaded into containers and delivered to the closest dock. It is then placed onto a steamship: destination USA. After arrival, usually at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, the container is unloaded from the steamship and goes through US Customs inspection. Upon clearance, the container is delivered by truck to our warehouse.



Natural stone has varying levels of hardness as classified by Moh's scale of hardness. The harder stones will better stand up to frequent usage and heavy, hard or sharp objects. Therefore, harder surfaces would have fewer scratches over time or none at all. However, some homeowners, similar to Europeans, desire the worn, lived-in look and therefore welcome the signs of everyday usage. Think about your personal preference for stone appearance and select the stone with the appropriate level of hardness.


  • Find an inconspicuous testing area on the stone surface or use a sample piece.
  • Use the following testing tools to scratch the stone: fingernail, penny and steel nail or knife blade.
  • If the stone is softer than your testing tool, you should feel a definite "bite" and see an indented scratch. If the stone is harder than your testing tool, there should not be an indented scratch.

If your testing tool is scratching the stone, then you can presume that items in your home with similar hardness to the tool will scratch the surface.


Although we usually think of stone as "hard," it is a porous material. Natural stone has varying degrees of porosity depending on the type of stone. If left unsealed, spills and everyday messes can easily penetrate the surface. The liquid eventually evaporates but the stain is left behind.
Highly acidic substances such as orange juice, coffee and wine will also etch acid sensitive stones and leave a dull mark. Acid resistant stones such as most granite, slate and sandstone will not etch.

Granite Countertop Sanitation

Consumer is offered a wide range of surface materials for use in countertop applications. Once installed, these countertop surfaces will be exposed to a variety of contaminative substances. Therefore, surface cleanability (how easy one can remove contaminants from the surface utilizing normal reasonable cleaning practices) has become key safety issue to the consumers.

Marble & Granite Supply of Illinois

6666 W. Howard Street

Niles, IL 60714
T: (847) 972-1161
F: (847) 972-1530


Please note that the information on this page is a general summary of industry-accepted tips in stone care that we have compiled to help you in your stone selection and care. Please note that natural stone varies substantially. Ask your stone specialist what works best for your particular stone.