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Question about Labradorite

Posted by newyorking (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 21, 09 at 18:05

I saw Labradorite countertop last week at Woodmode and fell in love with it. After searching long and hard for the perfect granite, this was it. However, it is super duper expensive... does anyone know cheaper reliable sources of granite? Also, can you please post pictures if you have this countertop? Originally I wanted brown cabinets with white countertop, but now am confused. Labradorite will look best with natural or caramel. But I probably will not be able to afford it as a countertop and may need to stick with island...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Question about Labradorite

I am using labradorite for our kitchen counter in the house we are building. Yes, it is expensive, and I would definitely love to hear of a reasonable source, too. But I do think this may be a "buyer beware" situation. Labradorite is also used to make jewelry, so chances are anything too cheap would not be a very good slab.

I should mention that from what I understand, it is difficult to install - it apparently chips more easily than most granites - and should be installed by a professional (and I will definitely check the contractor's license for proper liability coverage).

The countertop people I am working with suggest we go to the wholesaler and pick out the slabs we want - apparently, even at the outrageous price, they vary enormously.

I looked at a house that had a very large labradorite counter today. It had black walnut and cherry cabinets that looked very good with the slab - and they had knobs made of cabochons of labradorite, something I really liked and will imitate. The kitchen had blue-grey metallic floor tiles that worked far better than I would have expected. There was another counter section that was stainless steel, the rest of the counters were matte black. It sounds dark, but the kitchen had large windows and it all worked very well together.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Thanks. Do you by any chance have photos of the place you saw? What was the color of the Labradorite? Was it Bianca, brown, blue or green? I like green and blue australe the best. The place I visited had better green, but online I liked blue australe. Am still looking for a reliable source. Will you get the knobs custom-made? I am thinking of either staining maple to brown or doing a non-stained American walnut. I am leaning more towards unstained walnut. To match the Labradorite island, I plan to do either Verde Butterfly or Ivory Fantasy. I am waiting for my designer to build out both looks so that I can decide. I am expanding my kitchen so all labradorite countertop is way beyond my budget. I was quoted a price of $200 per sq. ft.

Can you provide more info on installation? I have a contractor who will provide the countertop, but I saw the slab in another place. I want to make sure that the contractor is able to install it. In any case, the island may not need much cutting.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I do not have photos. I have noticed that photos rarely do the stone justice, so I did not bother. This was green, with the largest intense blue inclusion that caught the natural light in the backsplash - great job on installation. Luckily, I am working with the same people who did this.

Knobs: not sure where to find the knobs, but will contact the builder when I get to that stage and find out. They looked custom.

Woods: I would definitely go with natural, whatever the wood. Not a fan of stains, I prefer to look at the wood as it comes naturally (with a sealer, that is).

Your price is about what I was quoted. I did find tiles (I believe they were 12x12")at $45.00 each. But I understand they are no longer made, so whatever is available now is it. Again, I was told to choose the installer with care. I opted against the tiles because I feel they may be far more busy than I would like. They would, however, give the option of rotating each tile to best light advantage, something that can be difficult to do with a slab.

Installation: I was just told to be very careful choosing an installer. The stone apparently is more delicate to install than most granites, but I am not certain that is the only reason. I would be very careful anyway - labradorite is just plain expensive. Also, I intend to go to the wholesaler and pick the slabs I want, and I would hate to see them damaged by an installer - the trip to the wholesaler will take a minimum of four hours!


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Newyorking, I would really suggest caution. The Labradorite is expensive for many many reasons. I would look for the best fabricator you can find. The material is delicate in the handling stages.

Just my .02 cents.

James


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Ok I will exercise caution. I still have 1-2 months to go. What did the place have as backsplash that reflected the blue of the Labradorite? Also, are you by any chance in the New York metro area? If so, can you recommend places to see the slab? I checked out Marble Inc. in Ridgefield, NJ but they did not have as many in stock. NYC is ridiculously expensive, so am looking for places in NJ or even CT. Thanks!!! Its so hard to find people who want Labradorite that there is very little information or kitchen pictures. The one I liked online is Blue Australe but at Marble Inc. the Green looked better. So I need to see more slabs.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

The backsplash was labradorite, with a number of inclusions of different colors. It included a large spot of intense blue that caught the daylight. It really was something to see, beautiful.

I am not in the New York area - unfortunately! - I love the place. I am in Oregon. Apparently, from what you mentioned, the cost is about the same though.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Which one was the backsplash? Blue/green/bianco/antique/australe... which one are you considering? Regarding the price, that was from Marble Inc. Honestly I don't even have the nerve to find out prices in NYC (ha) but will probably go with my designer in the next couple of weeks to a few NYC places - most of them are open to trade only. I would rather roam around entire NJ and CT than get from NY - the cost of roaming would still be less than NY cost :)
Maybe I will install the Labradorite backsplash in another lifetime :)


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RE: Question about Labradorite

i just paid $30 per sq. ft.. that is a wholesale price. most of the other places i went to were around $40-$120 per sq. ft.. The stuff I bought for $30 looked just as good as the stuff for $120. The material is not too bad to work with but, it surely isn't the easiest. I did a job with the material and fell in love with it. What color backsplash do you think will go with this??


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RE: Question about Labradorite

You paid #30 per sq. ft. for LABRADORITE??? Are you sure??? Which one is this? Can you post photos? Where did you get it from? And where did you get the price of $120?

Initially I planned to use this on the island only. But my (new) designer is recommending that I use this as a backsplash. Cabinets are walnut natural or stained cocoa (need to decide), countertop white base granite similar to Kashmir White, and backsplash Labradorite. I also have a raised area around the island for which she suggested Labradorite as well. Since my top cabinets are not up to ceiling, she is suggesting clear glass tiles above the cabinets. Not sure if I will do that, but I prefer the idea of Labradorite as backsplash than countertop especially after reading wildebloem's comment.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

newyorking, did your designer recommend not using labradorite on a flat surface? If s/he did, why? I have not bought the materials yet, so if you know of a potential problem, I would love to hear.

My intention is to use it as a counter and backsplash. It definitely shows off better on an upright surface, but it is still fantastic on a flat surface.

If someone offers labradorite for $30/sf, I would not buy without hand-picking the slab(s). The approximately $200/sf price I was quoted, by the way, includes installation. Not sure if I clarified that.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

It maybe overkill with countertop and island and backsplash with the Lab. I am using that as a feel-good logic because I don't have the money to do everything with Lab. I will however go to various wholesalers and see if I can get a lower price. I can do Bianca white island and countertop and backsplash blue australe, or everything blue australe depending on pricing. Which stone are you buying?


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I have just the Island in Labradorite. In my case the Island was free. The rest of my counters granite took up one slab. I did want a different colour Island, and didn't like the idea of buying a whole slab for a 3 x 4 island.

So the fabricator said that they keep remnants from other jobs. And sometime the former client no longer want them. So we could look through them and there would be no cost.

So we found this:


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Wildebloem, my designer did not mention anything being wrong with all Lab countertop, island, and backsplash. Its primarily the high cost that I can do either flat or backsplash. She suggested it as an alternative to doing only flat Lab.

Nutbunch, who is this fabricator and where is he/she? An address please? I live in the New York metro area and don't mind driving 4-5 hours for this awesome fabricator!! Any recommendations on wholesale granite places?


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RE: Question about Labradorite

newyorking: the kitchen I saw recently had a very large labradorite island with labradorite backsplash. The bar section of the island, quite tall, was of a dark wood, may have been black walnut. The other kitchen counters were stainless steel (one large piece including sinks) and a very dark granite, possibly black, that was matte rather than shiny. It sounds like an odd mix, but it really worked - and I do usually like things very very simple.

I was shown a number of woods by a cabinet maker yesterday. One was myrtlewood, which has a nice grey-blond color that may well work with the labradorite if I decide to go light (we have not picked wood flooring yet). There was also a very light mahogany, something I have never seen before. Warmer than the myrtlewood, so it may not work as well. There are a number of darker woods I am considering with it as well: black walnut, wenge, mahogany. The only question I have at this point: unless there is a clear favorite, how in the world does a person choose?!


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Wildebloem, which labradorite type did you see and want? I am curious because then I will consider those lab options. Regarding wood choices, what helped me was going to Crate and Barrel, the only place with exotic wood selections. Most cabinet places have maple, oak, and cherry. Some had bird's eye. Crate and Barrel had gorgeous walnut, alderwood, mango wood, elm, mahogany, etc. I love mahogany and mango wood, but decided on walnut probably because it would be relatively less expensive and lighter in color. I do recommend that trip - it may help in your decision - it sure did help me!! Another one is Anigre - a friend of mine did Anigre natural with Diamond Phoenix countertop and backsplash and it looked really good. Anigre has a nice shiny surface which may go well with Labradorite depending on the stone type you like.
A great site to view wood pics and types is http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I chose something named, "Green Eyes". Muddy greenish colour, really - some darkish, some lightish areas, not too attractive by itself, to be honest. But it has all sorts of intense colours in inclusions - bright blue, gold, orange, etc. Large to point-sized patches, nice variation.

I bought a 5' remnant that I put on a wheeled cart to drag from room to room and check out how the light works. Works great. If you can find a remnant, do it, it really helps. (I tried tiles, but they just did not give that much information.) I took several photographs of the slab, but they do not do it justice at all.

I found out yesterday that this type in 2 cm will take underlighting. I intend to take 3 cm for the kitchen counters - it is supposedly more brittle than most granites, so I feel the additional thickness may help. But there are backsplashes and other things that may well look good with a little backlighting. I am not certain what, if any, difference that will make to the inclusions though.

Thank you for the Crate and Barrel suggestion. I will be going by a store when we go to the wholesaler to pick slabs, so that will be a perfect opportunity to stop.

Incidentally, one of the builders who used labradorite for counters highly recommends low-voltage lighting over the slab. He says it really brings out the inclusions.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Nutbunch thanks for the pic - I love the island! So lucky to get it for free...

Wildebloem, to clarify, I was talking about Crate and Barrel furniture - dining and side tables and dressers. Dining tables were the best in giving an idea about wood. They have a walnut wood table by Rohe which I really liked and would look good with Labradorite. Since you like dark colors, you may like dark mango wood or elm. I am so getting the dark mango wood as a dining table.

Green Eyes is gorgeous!!! Different places use different names so its hard to identify one. I thought that the one I saw in Woodmode was blue australe but at the granite place I liked green better. I found out this morning that there is one called Luminera Labradorite which is similar. I will visit as many places as possible to get a better sense.

The granite place I visited would not give me a better sample because the stone is expensive and they don't like to waste. I also did not get to see slabs properly because on weekends they don't remove the slab and I had to make do with the dark dingy view.

Is the backsplash supposed to be thinner than what would normally be required for a countertop? I will try both voltage lighting to see which one works best. The one at Woodmode was the best piece I have ever seen, but they would not give me its name unless I signed up for a project with them. Somehow I found out online that its labradorite.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Woods: I like all sorts of woods, dark to light, but I have seen labradorite used with darks only and it really worked well. I really like myrtlewood, which is very light, but I am not sure yet how well it works with stone.

I did not get a sample, I just bought a remnant. I did at first get a tile and a small block on loan from one of the stores, but it just did not tell me enough. So when I found a five-foot remnant with a weird shape, I talked them out of it and just bought it. If nothing else, I will just lean it against a wall somewhere and enjoy it for years to come.

I would not work with a group that would not let me see a slab properly - even the most inexpensive granite is too expensive for guesses! I would not consider someone who would not give me the name of something of interest either. Sounds like they do not want you to find a better price - maybe they are overcharging? I have told everyone from day one that we are getting several bids for each stage of or item for the house. If they cannot deal with that, we do not work with them. We do not necessarily go with the lower bids, but we do want to know we are not paying far too much.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I agree about not working with someone who would not show slabs. I don't understand why they were so cautious. While they don't remove slabs on weekends, they were overall vary of giving me samples or removing any Labradorite or Onyx slabs. They are one of the cheapest places, I think, but I am going to shop around and look for the right slab.
Regarding Woodmode, I was there just to get an idea of kitchens - I have a contractor who makes cabinets as well. It was strange that Woodmode did not want to reveal the name of the countertop - their explanation was that they don't remember. I don't believe that because the store guy was the contractor and himself set up everything in the store and new everything else. And how can you not remember labradorite if you have installed it yourself? Maybe they don't want people stealing ideas...


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I would assume the cheaper places probably sell the 2 cm, while the more expensive ones are 3 cm. I would also guess the inclusions in the more expensive ones would be more attractive. Just guessing though, there may well be other reasons. For example, I just got another bid for the kitchen slab that was $3,000 less than the others. All are 3 cm. The main difference: the store with the lower bid is new - sort of. It was a very well-respected fixture in our town for decades, until it went bankrupt earlier this year (the housing market in this area dropped like a rock, pushing a number of long-established companies out of business), leaving 150 or so people hanging. The same person is restarting under another name, trying hard to get people interested again of course. Because the kitchen slab is so expensive, I wanted several bids. This may be that one chance to get in on a very good price - or a chance to get burned if he decides to pull the same trick.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Do you think places price Labradorite based on inclusions? The place I visited priced it based on the type (green, blue, bianca, etc.) rather than the slab, and inclusions would vary by the slab I believe. How do you ask places to bid? I have one contractor who will get all the material - I guess you are asking different people to bid for the job. I would like to do that just to get the best prices - how do you do that? I know you like dark colors, but Anigre wood is worth taking a look at in comparison with your labradorite remnant. It may look good - I personally prefer walnut for my kitchen.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I am not sure if inclusions actually affect the price, but I should think so. Maybe some suppliers do not get the best materials? I do not really know.

How to ask for a bid? Lots of ways to do that, really - and I believe we have tried most of them by now! Let me try to explain as best as I can.

We took five years to design our house that we are now building. We fully intended to hire a general. But we are saving as much as 100.000 dollars, probably more, by taking on the task ourselves. Aside from the fact generals add a percentage (some as much as 30% or even more) to the costs of work and materials, we were troubled by the fact the generals tend to work with the same subcontractors, no matter what the subcontractors charge. (In fact, the higher the cost of the job, the more the general makes of course.) So we decided to give it a shot, and hired a consultant (a long-time general contractor) on an hourly basis to support us as necessary. We can always hire someone to finish the house if we decide to throw in the towel. We also made an agreement that if we really do not like something after the house is finished, depending on the level of dislike, we will either change it before we move in or wait for a year to see if the main problem is the change from where we live now. In fact, we have already "reserved" a spot with our favorite subcontractor for a year from now, just in case.

Before we even ask for a quote, we check CCB numbers (state licensing) and worker's compensation/liability insurance. If that is okay, we sollicit several bids for each job, making sure it is "apples to apples". It is NOT easy to be a general, it is a lot of work and attention to detail, and we have gained an enormous respect for the people who do this.

We have worked under several agreements with the various subcontractors. When we worked with the excavator, for example, we paid him for the entire job, including materials (and his mark-up). For the foundation, framing, siding, etc., we paid the suppliers directly. We had the labor bid as a number - time and materials works only if you know the person's work and speed. And, as I told one of our subcontractors, if he works time and material for us, I take his cell phone until he is done. Sounds goofy, but he totally agreed I would be overpaying him if I did not separate him from that phone. I am very direct when we discuss agreements and I ask the subcontractors to do the same. For the entire time this process has been underway, being clear has worked very very well. We have no complaints about our subcontractors, we have heard none about us (although that may well have a bit to do with the daily coffee, chocolates, cookies, and candies - with periodic lunches thrown in). If people have trouble with our process, no hard feelings, and we go elsewhere - not everyone is a fit in situations such as this one and because of our inexperience, we really need people we can work with.

When we ask for bids, we make it clear we are asking others to bid for the same work. When we are asked to let a company know if others' bids are lower so they can have an opportunity to match, we say no. We are building a whole house, and we are uninterested in playing games - give us your best bid, we go from there. At times, we have gone with the higher bids - we may have found the company reputation better, heard from someone who loved the work, or we may have simply liked the people better. We did not hire one person for the plaster work, for example, because although he was nice enough, I just had a bad feeling about him. Turns out he is rather difficult to work with, very inflexible. We have had a number of change orders during this process, some small, some not so. We always expect to pay for the extra work and materials, but we also expect subcontractors to understand this is our house and we expect it done our way.

Once we hire someone, we ask her/him to sign a liability agreement that absolves us from liability for their workers and materials we have paid for (if the subcontractor supplies the materials, that is, of course). Oregon (not sure about other states) has lien laws that allow a company to take a client's money for materials and not pay the supplier - Oregon law holds the client liable for payment to the supplier no matter if the client already paid the contractor or did not. Our agreement will at least show we tried if we end up in court.

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhnyway, in all, that is the long-winded way to explain there are a number of ways to go about getting bids. We have found that once we find a person we can work with and whose charges are reasonable, the rest falls into place. One more thing to remember: the contracts for work presented to you naturally are written to protect the contractor's interests. It is up to you to also protect your own interests.

Woods: I like a range of colors. I have not seen labradorite with blond, but I am looking for options in the entire range. When I narrow it down, I intend to buy some boards of each and leave them around for a bit until one of them "clicks". After all, we may be living with the combination for decades.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

Funny that this thread started a few days after I picked out the granite for my countertops for our redo which wil hopefully start in September. My DH and I both loved this when we saw it. We were given a price that we couldn't refuse. Now I have to rethink the rest of my kitchen elements Here are a few pics. It's hard to get a good representation in a photo. This is green labradorite from Italy.

Green Labradorite side angle


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RE: Question about Labradorite

jacrazy, this is australe, right? Looks good, but really the pictures never do justice to the stone. I saw so many pictures online and they never look like the real thing. What price were you quoted per sq. ft.? Where did you see this?

My designer recommended not using walnut. According to her, either labradorite backsplash or walnut cabinets should be the center of attention - dark heavy walnut cabinets will take away from the stone. And she is right. I thought of walnut based on a lighter version I saw in Crate and Barrel for dining table, but after looking at more pictures of actual walnut its better to go with another wood. I like tigerwood and Brazilian wood, but I have not yet reached a decision.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I was told it was australe. Right now, we're thinking about Mesquite stained cherry (very rich looking). KDs, contractors and the granite people all like this dark cab with it. I'll be getting Shaker, full overlay. I'm waiting for another sample because the door I have now looks glazed. I've haven't looked at walnut. Maybe I'll look at some samples this week. I need to makes decisions soon. We're paying about $60 square foot. But, this is very special because my DH is a KD and this place doesn't sell retail. Having fallen in love with this granite, I have to change my other ideas about the tile backsplash and which tile floors I want. I'll probably be seeking lots advice here. This is my first kitchen redo ever and I've changed my mind hundreds of times already.

Here's the rock with 3 cab samples: Mesquite (I think glazed), chestnut and mahogany. I'm having a problem finding the perfect cab color. These are all cherry.

Lab with sample cabs


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I am having a hard time finding cabinet color as well with Labradorite. I started by trying to decide around cabinets but after liking labradorite I have to now design around it. I will check out wholesale places for the stone. $60 is a great deal.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

>> I'm having a problem finding the perfect cab color.

Sorry, but have to LOL. It took me *months* to find the perfect color. It is always so comforting to know I am not alone in my neuroses. ;-)

Labradorite as a countertop material - wow. I have a lot of labradorite jewelry (green with blue inclusions) - I've always thought it was an exquisitely beautiful stone. It would have never *occurred* to me you could use it for a countertop!!! Fantastic.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I am glad to hear I am not the only one finding it difficult to find a fit for labradorite. I am considering floors such as mahogany and teak, so I am also looking at lighter woods for cabinets, maybe a combination. Has anyone tried going light with labradorite? I looked at myrtlewood, greyish tones work well with the stone (in the sample, that is of course). I also saw something named, Philippine mahogany, light color, that may work.

Another option would be to go light with the floor. The floor goes into the dining and living rooms, and I want to keep the wood the same. I saw a "select hickory" floor I liked very much. It did not have the wild patterns of the hickory floors I have seen, and I liked the color.

Very difficult choices, for sure, especially because I have to pick a floor pretty soon (the plaster work is done). But I was encouraged by a house I saw last week - it had a number of woods I never would have put together and it looked fantastic. Lots of "margin of error" when working with woods, I realized.


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RE: Question about Labradorite

The cabinets I saw at Woodmode were light cherry - more like caramel cherry and looked awesome with labradorite. However, they had just built out one section (smaller than an island) and not an entire kitchen, so its hard to tell. I will meet my designer this Tuesday and see what works. I am thinking of brown/cocoa cabinets, white base granite countertop (light similar to Kashmir White), and labradorite backsplash and on raised platform over the island because my kitchen is open. The wall of the island facing the dining/living room will be plain glass with or without cabinets. I also want 3 rainbow pendants to go over the island. I can't wait to make the decision on cabinets and see everything come together!!


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RE: Question about Labradorite

I finally made my decision on wood cabinets, and am soooo excited. I will probably have my backsplash and island be australe with heavy blue, and main countertop be another labradorite that looks a lot like australe but has smaller blue rather than large and is cheaper. The wholesale place I visited had both stones. I have not yet found the perfect slab - the one I saw and liked the best was sold. I still have 2 months or so to go, so will keep looking. As for the wood, I will have natural African Mahogany, no stain. The wood is gorgeous and will (I hope) look very good with labradorite. It was perfect. I am so excited!!!


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