White Macaubas with some "rust" in veins

Ott2October 23, 2012

We are looking for White Macaubas for two 8.5 ft kitchen islands. Both islands will waterfall on one (same) side. We need 3 slabs from same lot, where one is a book-matched slab to the other two. I'm not interested in the "blue-ish" toned slabs.

There are a number of slab warehouses near where I live in Texas, but the White Macaubas slabs I have found are either already sold, or do not fit the criteria of 3 slabs, same lot, one book-matched, not blue-toned. The same warehouses do not know when/if they expect to get more in, but do know that it won't be in the next couple of months.

Yesterday, I flew to NJ to look at three slabs I found online. I really like the look of the slabs, and they meet the criteria. The movement of the veins is interesting, and there are none of the smudge-looking or bald-looking spots that I've seen on some slabs. They are very clean looking.

So, here is my question: The grays in the veins range from light to almost charcoal. Some veins also have some brown/rust. When looking at any one of the slabs as a whole, the browns/rusts are not really noticeable. If looking up close, the browns/rusts are definitely more noticeable. The brown/rust veining is not harsh, it just sort of follows the gray veining in places. Having the brown/rust colors in the slabs is not a really a problem as the colors will work well with the overall design. When I asked, the warehouse person explained that the "rust" colors really are because of rust that formed in the stone. Don't know why that surprised me! Lots of the White Macaubas slabs I have looked at have had some "rust", but my NJ slabs probably have more. Is the "rust" considered a flaw in the stone? Or is it just a different look between slabs of White Macaubas? Does the existence of the "rust" make a slab any more problematic during fabrication?

I liked the NJ slabs very much, and they are mine if I want them, but I think I have last minute jitters that some stone-knowledgeable person will see my lovely islands and say "Oh, my gosh! You paid a ton of money for RUSTED slabs!"!

Appreciate any thoughts...

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Hi, I'm a geologist who is pondering a kitchen remodel, so I have been lurking here and enjoying all the different uses of beautiful stones. I can weigh in on this question.

"Rust," in geologic terms is just another mineral. It's iron oxide, and in mineral terms it is most likely hematite. Iron is present in many different rocks and so iron oxide is common too. Sometimes it's that traditional rusty color and sometimes its more yellow or more brown or even black. In any case it's not a flaw. If the rust colored parts follow naturally along the veining, then to me that would seem perfectly normal. What I don't like is when there is a big rusty "bloom" across big patches of the slab. Again, that is normal weathering for a rock, but I don't find it attractive.

What is the color of the veining in the non-rusty areas? Is it grey or black? It might still be hematite just with different degrees of oxidation. There is a way to tell that with a sample of the rock.

As for weaknesses, in a rock like this one there are potential weak planes along any of those colored layers. I assume the rock holds together during fabrication otherwise it wouldn't make it very far as a production-worthy stone. So I wouldn't worry about the rusty layers more than any other layers.

That said, I can't speak with much confidence on the actual piece of stone, so take this advice with a grain of salt (or perhaps a grain of quartz). But if you like it, I doubt that any visitor is going to object over the coloring.

Good luck with your quest for the perfect slab!


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 4:37PM
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It would help if you have a picture to share.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 4:59PM
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I have some small areas of "rust" in my stone. The only reason they bother me at all is when I think it is a spot that needs to be wiped up and then realize it is just a little rust spot. Our stone has only been in about a month but I'm already finding I notice them less and less.
When I was first looking at granite I noticed some slabs had very large areas of rust. I was told by the sales people that some people avoid them and others like them.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Thanks for your feedback! I almost dread picking a final stone because I have so enjoyed wandering through the slab warehouses. Yesterday, I saw a slab that had random little "fish" looking designs kind of imprinted onto the slab. I commented on the fish-looking imprints to the warehouse guy and it turns out that the fish imprints are truly fossilized fish embedded in the slab! When I looked closer, I could actually see the fins, tails, shapes, everything! So incredibly cool! The 4x6 ft slab had a $12,000 price tag, so someone else will get to take that slab home!

karin - Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I like the term "iron oxide" better than "rust"! The gray veins range from light gray to dark charcoal. I really like the dark charcoal colors and the variations of grays, and I'm trying to see the rust/browns as a feature...

Arizonalady1 - I will try now to post pictures. Would love to have you return and share your thoughts on the slabs.

Camphappy - Thanks for sharing! I think I really like the rust, but this seems like such a permanent decision, and this decision will sit in the most open part of our new home! Two big ole' islands of it!

Here are two of the three slabs. The rust colors look a little exaggerated in the light. When looking at a whole slab in person (not so close up), the slabs come across as variations of grays.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Absolutely gorgeous! Enjoy.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Below is a somewhat current rendering of our kitchen. The White Macaubas will be on the two islands. Unless I change my mind. The perimeter countertops will be something dark and honed or leathered. The floors will be quite a bit lighter than in the rendering. Backsplash is also lighter. There is much more electrical lighting in the room now than is indicated in the picture, and the 2 walls you can't see (to the right and behind) are pretty much all windows.
Can you see the White Macaubas slabs above in this application?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Ok, so sorry to post again. I have not figured out how to post more than one jpg file in a single post...
Here is a (really) close up of one of the more significant rust areas on one of the slabs above...

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:48PM
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One more close up, and then I'll quit for a bit! Thanks for the patience!!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:50PM
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Beautiful rock! Thanks for posting the pictures. The rust is certainly not a flaw in this rock. The only decision is if you like the colors or not. I understand that this is a major decision though, so good luck with your continued pondering.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:58AM
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That stone is gorgeous and your kitchen is going to be spectacular!!!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:09AM
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karin_mt and cat_mom... you are pushing me over the edge! Thanks for your feedback...

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Ok if youre not taking those slabs then can I have dibs? I live in PA and It's just a short drive for me ;)
The stone seems made for your lovely kitchen to be. Go for it.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 1:53PM
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ppbenn, cat_mom, karin_mt, arizonalady1:
Well..., I hope we are all right! I bought the slabs. Thanks so much! So happy to be beyond debating this decision with myself, and your input helped move me along. Now to figure out what should go on the perimeter? I feel another thread coming along...
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 6:55PM
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Beautiful! I say go for it! I think the rust adds visual interest!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Nice going! Now they have to ship the slabs to TX? That's an impressive commitment. But I'm glad you've found what you like - enjoy!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:26AM
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