quartzite doubts

donnajillOctober 2, 2013

We purchased a polished slab of mother of pearl quartzite for our kitchen counter. Having read many online warnings about "counterfeit" quartzite, we had them cut a small piece from the corner and took it home to test. The top is shiny and finished and one side is newly cut and unfinished (picture shows the side view). The finished top, however, has spots that seem to have lost their shine. It looks like some kind of sealant or something was applied that perhaps was compromised by our tests. This doesn't seem right.

I'm confused because it seems to pass some tests but fail others. We put lemon, lime juice, red wine and red wine vinegar on top and there was no staining or etching. But some of the liquids rolled off onto the plate so the quartzite sat in it overnight, and the red color was definitely absorbed into the unfinished side. I took a nail and was able to scratch the top, but I couldn't make any scratches in the side. The last thing I did was to try to scratch a glass bottle with the edge of the quartzite, and it passed that test with ease.

I don't know whether to be concerned about the side absorbing the red color. I am definitely concerned about my ability to scratch the top. I want to talk with the fabricator, but at this point I'm not even sure what questions to ask. Or should I take my questions directly to the source of the stone? Any advice?

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I have just installed Taj Mahal quartzite and it appears to be very durable. I know that it was sealed by the fabricator installation folks in my home. I have certainly spilled lemon juice, olive oil. So far so good, but I have not let the juices or oil sit on the surface over night. I don't think id worry too much about the side absorption problem. Good luck.

Ps it will be gorgeous

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:24PM
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Nice work on getting a sample and putting it through its paces!

My best guess is that it's quartzite. The fact that it easily scratched glass is the clearest indication. My hunch is that the top is sealed and when you scratched it with a nail you scratched the sealer or scratched the polished surface. It sounds like it didn't etch, which is another point in the quartzite column.

The unsealed part of the stone absorbed the red wine color, so it's porous. That makes sense, but it's more important that the sealed top resisted staining. So I think you're safe there.

On the surface that you scratched with a nail, my advice would be to examine the scratch and try to determine how deep it goes. Can you tell if it really goes into the rock? Can you polish it out? Try scotch brite.

My question to the fabricators would be to learn what they treated the top with. Maybe there are other options that are less likely to scratch?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:01AM
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I have Madre Perla/Mother of Pearl and it's been bulletproof for 3 years. I had never even heard of counterfeit quartzite -- I just trusted my fabricator who told me that this was a very, very hard stone and that it would never stain. He was right. I've left red wine sitting out on the counter at night, and then just wiped it off in the morning.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:18AM
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Thanks so much, I'm going to talk to the fabricator about it this afternoon. I do think it's a sealer issue. I've read conflicting information about this and I'm not sure if quartzite should be sealed at all. Is just polishing it enough? @pipdog, do you know whether yours was sealed?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:10AM
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I have madre perla brushed. Mine is bulletproof as well. Mine is sealed.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:17AM
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I think most quartzites do need sealing. It depends on porosity which varies between stones, and some of the types of quartzite have a fairly high porosity. Moreover the light color makes it so that stains would be more visible.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that started out as sand. The sand grains lost their structure due to heat and pressure and new crystals formed. That process may have left microscopic pores in the rock or the pores may have all filled in.

Therefore, the porosity of quartzite varies a lot. Some like the Azul do Mar we have is very low porosity and doesn't need sealing. Some needs sealing. If it needs sealing, then get it sealed and it will be fine. Sealing isn't a big deal.

I've read that polishing can sometimes fill in the pores so the polished surface of a stone isn't porous but the unpolished surface is. I don't know if that's true but it could explain what you saw with your stone.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 12:58PM
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The sample I had did this-the polished side, well, I could NOT get it to stain if I wanted it too. Or etch. But the side that was not sealed, soaked up blackberry juice that ran over and was purple. But after a day it just evaporated away...so I def think it needs sealing...

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:54PM
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