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The craft of stonemasonry has existed from civilizations dawn, utilizing natural stone for the creation of building structures as well as fine art.

Stone, which in Hebrew is pronounced ay-ben, and in Greek, lee-thoss, forms in one of three general ways: by the cooling of molten material from the earth's interior (igneous rock e.g. granite, basalt), by the stratification of worn mineral material (sedimentary rock e.g. shale, sandstone), or by rock that has been transformed by great pressure or heat (metamorphic rock e.g. slate, marble). Although stone has no life, it's actually part of the "living" earth, in that stones are formed from natural processes (see The Seven Days Of Creation), and then wear or erode away, releasing the elements to eventually continue the cycle.

Stonemasonry was one of the earliest trades in civilization's history. Mankind originally lived outdoors, when necessary found shelter in caves or built houses of wood, with wood furnishings. In places where suitable building stone was available stone could be utilized. At times even the doors of homes were made of stone, swung on morticed pivots, and were generally fastened by wooden bolts. The ancients relied heavily on the stonemason to build impressive and enduring monuments to their civilizations. The scriptures speak of masons, and the stonecutters. They purchased timber and cut stone for repairing the LORD's Temple, and they paid other expenses related to the Temple's restoration. (2 Kings 12:12) The Egyprians built pyramids, the Persians erected palaces, the Greeks their temples and the Romans their architecture.

The skills of the medieval stonemason were in high demand. Members of the guild gave rise to the classifications of stoneemasons: apprentices, journeymen and master masons. The Renaissance saw stonemasonry return to the prominence and sophistication of the Classical age. The rise of the Humanist philosophy gave people the ambition to create marvellous works of art. The center stage for the Renaissance was Carrara, Italy. City states such as Florence erected magnificent structures, such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Fountain of Neptune, and the Laurentian Library which was planned and built by Michelangelo Buonarroti, a famous craftsman of the Renaissance. The Marble Palace referred to as the Architectural Jewel of Saint-Petersburg," is another impressive structure. It is distinguished among St. Petersburg 's masterpieces of architecture not only by its architectural features, the exquisiteness of its exterior and interior decoration.

Pietra dura or pietre dure, called parchin kari in South Asia, is a term for the technique of using cut and fitted, highly-polished colored stones to create what images in stone. It is considered a decorative art. The stonework, after the work is assembled loosely, is glued stone-by-stone to a substrate after having previously been "sliced and cut in different shape sections; and then assembled together so precisely that the contact between each section was practically invisible". Stability was achieved by grooving the undersides of the stones so that they interlocked, rather like a jigsaw puzzle, with everything held tautly in place by an encircling 'frame'. Many different colored stones, particularly marbles, were used, along with semiprecious, and even precious stones. It first appeared in Rome in the 16th century, reaching its full maturity in Florence. Pietra dura items are generally crafted on green, white and black marble color base stones. Typically the resulting panel is completely flat, but some examples where the image is in low relief were made, taking the work more into the area of hardstone carving.


Inlaid stone flooring is flooring with a decorative pattern which is set into its surface. Many inlaid floors are made from wood, with contrasting patterns and ornaments in different types of wood which will show up well against the primary flooring. Stone, tile, metal, and other materials may be used in inlaid flooring as well. Stunning examples of inlaid flooring can be seen in old buildings, although the technique is less common in modern construction since it can get very expensive. Inlaid stone floors are beautiful, especially when well maintained, to retain the quality of their original craftsmanship.

When Europeans settled the Americas, they brought the stonemasonry techniques of their respective homelands with them. The abundance of colors, textures, and natural variations found in stone provide an endless supply of design possibilities. Bringing natural materials into your home provides aesthetic, artistic, and stylistic expression you will long enjoy. Stone is practical, attractive and retains or increases it's value through the years. Today, natural stone such as marble and granite comes from quarries throughout the world. Your choice of a durable stone for your home or business is an investment, that will remain beautiful for years to come.


Most architectural stone today is quarried from caverns within the hearts of the mountains, and hillsides of this world. A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone. Quarries are usually shallower than other types of open-pit mines. The natural stone is transported in blocks from the quarry by truck to the processing facility where it is sawn into slabs and polished. To obtain granite from a quarry either digging, cutting or blasting process is used. This process of obtaining the stone is called quarrying. Once quarrying is done, the processing of granite starts. The four operations that are involved in the processing of granite are:


From my 29 years of experience with various phases of the stone trade, I can assist you with every step of the process, from selecting the appropriate stone material based on your decorating need, to explaining various aspects of the various types of stones which you should be aware of in making your final selection.

This includes:

  • The selection of your materials.

    Your selection of materials and consultation regarding shade variations in the stone, natural striations, oiling of slabs by the industry, and how this affects your stone, laminations for increased thickness or greater strength in necessary areas, pin holes or natural veins found in the stone, and how we deal with these in the fabrication of your material. I can offer you design advice if you need assistance. Feel free to give us a call in the Issaquah, Washington area at (425) 391-8487.


    Stone Finishes include:

  • Honed

    A flat to low sheen gloss. Different levels of gloss can be selected. This surface is smooth, but often is very porous. This texture is common in high traffic buildings. Honed stone colors are not as vibrant as polished stone. The polishing process is halted before a reflective shiny surface is achieved, giving a matte finish to the stone. The satin surface produces relatively little light reflection. Generally, a honed finish is preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds and other locations where the presence of water might make a polished finish slippery or where severe traffic would wear off the polished finish. Different levels of gloss can be selected. Maintenance - Seal, Dry Mop, Wet Mop, Wax

  • Flame Finish

    The flamed surface is achieved by applying blow-torch strength heat to the surface of the stone. This causes the surface to melt, and some of the crystals to shatter, leaving a highly textured surface which is ideal for exterior paving, or wet areas requiring optimum non-slipperiness. Maintenance - Seal, Dry Mop, Wet Mop.

  • Glossy Surface

    The glossy surface wears away with time due to heavy foot traffic and using improper maintenance procedures. This surface is very smooth and not very porous. The reflectivity of polished crystal brings out the brilliant colours and grains of natural stone. The shine comes from the natural reflection of the stone's crystals and is not from an artificial coating. To maintain this, we recommend resurfacing every 3 years. Or if you find that you need a stone doctor, to repair an already existing countertop or or you've purchased an antique vanity top with a chip or a blemish which you feel is a detriment and does not add to the aestetic value, but you are fond of the piece, simply give us a call, and we'll make your stone look like new. Maintenance - Seal, Dry Mop, Wet Mop, Wax

  • Tumbled

    - A slightly rough texture that is achieved by tumbling small pieces of marble, limestone and sometimes granite to achieve a worn appearance.

  • Sand Blasted

    - This surface is the result of a pressurized flow of sand and water that provides a glossy texture.

  • Sawn

    - A coarsely polished finish achieved by using a gang saw.

    The difference between "honed" and "polished" granite.

    "Honed" or "polished" refers to the type of finish on a slab of marble or granite. The finish of honed marble or granite will range from a flat to a low sheen gloss, which gives the stone a softer look. Polished granite refers to the glossy, highly reflective appearance, giving it a smooth, sleek look.

    Rock is a hard substance composed of various minerals. The most common are those combinations of minerals forming the earth's crust. Eight elements, alone or in combination; make up 100 common minerals, but less than 20 are widely distributed in the earths crust. Quartz, Calcite, Feldspars, Micas, Augite, and Hematite make up all rocks.


    Marble is what happens to fairly pure limestone after metamorphism. Heat and pressure cause the grains of calcite in limestone to combine into larger crystals. In this hand specimen of marble, the crystals are large. For fine marble of the sort used in buildings and sculpture, the crystals are small. The color of marble can range from the purest white to black, ranging through the warmer colors in between depending on the other mineral impurities.

    Known for its beauty and elegance, marble is a timeless classic. Throughout the centuries, it was the material of choice for artists and architects to create magnificent sculptures, monuments, and buildings such as the Taj Mahal in India and the Greek Parthenon. Inspired by such masterpieces of antiquity, architects and designers of today use marble to add an aura of sophistication and splendor to any space.

    Marbles are comprised of calcium carbonate mineral calcite, though they contain smaller amounts of other minerals which contribute to their color. Marble is recrystallized limestone that formed when the limestone softened from heat and pressure recrystallized into marble where mineral changes occurred. The main consistency is calcium and dolmite. The color range is extensive and marble is heavily veined. Carrara, Thassos, and Bianco Rosa are considered true marbles.

    Marbles often occur interbedded with such metamorphic rocks as mica schists, phyllites, gneisses, and granulites and are most common in the older layers of the Earth's crust that have been deeply buried in regions of extreme folding and igneous intrusion. The change from limestones rich in fossils into true marbles in such metamorphic regions is a common phenomenon; occasionally, as at Carrara, Italy, and at Bergen, Norway. recrystallization of the rock has not completely obliterated the organic structures. The demand for natural stone has increased at a tremendous rate in the past 20 years. The stone industry, is a major industry of many countries around the world: Brazil, Guatemala, Italy, Greece, Indonesia, Australaia, Zimbabwe, India, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, Canada, the United States. Spain is one of the largest producers of high-quality marble. It is imported to the United States for all types of building projects, and it is a very good building material. Marble was used in the building of the temple, 1 Chr. 29:2. Pillars of, Esth. 1:6; Song 5:15. Merchandise of, Rev. 18:12. Mosaics of, Esth. 1:6.

    Marble does not split easily into sheets of equal size and must be mined carefully. Blocks of marble are mined with channeling machines, which cut grooves and holes in the rock. Miners outline a block of marble with rows of grooves and holes. They then drive wedges into the openings and separate the block from the surrounding rock. The blocks are cut with saws to the desired shape and size.

    Marble is classified into 3 major catagories: 1) Domite: If it has more than 40% magnesian carbonate. 2) Magnesian: If it has between 5% and 40% magnesian carbonate. 3) Calcite: If it has less than 5%.

    There are 3 types of rock on the surface of the earth. 1) Sedimentary or layered rock. 2) Metamorphic or changed rock. 3) Igneous or volcanic rock. Marble is of the first 2 types. Dolomitic Marble is created from the action of limestone under pressure, heat and various minerals pass through the rock during formation. The 3 major groups of Dolomitic Rock are:


    Travertine began as limestone, and with the passing of time, through geological shifting, has found its way deep in the Earth. The porous nature of limestone makes it a reservoir for liquids. Aquifers, which are the enormous underground pools of water that feed our wells and water our cities, are the remnants of ice age melting, which sank below and was absorbed by limestone. Heated by the Earth's inner core, the water rises as steam and hot pressurized water, to form hot mud baths, "Old Faithful", " Mammoth Springs", and other gizers. This rising hot water, disolves the limestone and brings with it granules from below, forming mud beds on the surface. If enough time transpires, and the mud beds cool, they will crystallize into solid stone called travertine.

    Travertine is a unique stone rich with historical significance. The word travertine comes from an old Roman name for Tivoli, a town in Italy where large deposits of travertine exist. The brilliant beige stone, characterized by irregular surfaces and edges, has been a principal building material in Rome since the Roman Empire. Travertine clothed the exterior of the Colosseum and was later favored by Michelangelo for his sculptures.

    Travertine is usually hard and semi-crystaline. It's frequently found to be beautifully coloured and banded as a result of the iron compounds present or other minerals. Usually a cream or reddish color. It's formed through the accumulation of calcite from geysers bursting forth from extremely hot springs of water, and underground rivers deep below the earth's surface. As the water falls and evaporates, it leaves behind the discolored limestone, which rehardens into stone. The new stone is full of gas bubbles which gives travertine it's characteristic appearance. Generally, travertine takes a higher polish than stalactite or stalagmite whose chemical composition and origin are similar. The compact crystalline variety of travertine has been used as building material since ancient Roman times.

    Travertine can be cut on either a "vein" cut, which is against the bedding which reveals the bedding planes, or a "fleuri" cut, which is along the bedding plane and reveals flowery, often circular patterns. This cut is also referred to as a "crosscut" pattern.

    The largest building in the world constructed mainly of travertine is the Colosseum in Rome. Another notable building using travertine extensively is the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California. The travertine used in the construction was imported from Tivoli. The website of the Getty Center contains more information about the use of travertine in its construction, including some videos of travertine being quarried and cut for use. Travertine has formed 16 huge, natural dams in a valley in Croatia known as Plitvice Lakes National Park. The stone is most widely used in Italy, Greece and Turkey, Mexico.