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About the Veins and Speckles in Your Stone Countertops

by Ginger Perales

Posted on August 24, 2017 12:00:00 PM


The inherent beauty of natural stone lies primarily in the fact that no two slabs are alike. The stone you choose for your marble or granite kitchen countertops or bathroom vanity is a unique work of art formed by Mother Nature herself over hundreds of years. The heat and pressure applied to a variety of minerals along with other organic materials and patterns in which they’re set into the stone are what causes the huge array of colors, patterns, textures, and veining in a particular slab. But, what exactly makes some quartzite blue and some marbles red?


The long, winding lines of color that meander throughout the natural stone, known as veining, is among the most sought-after characteristics that people look for when shopping for natural stone for their kitchen countertops or other applications in their home, due to the elegant and also organic appearance they create. In geological terms, veins are the result of crystallized minerals within the stone. These minerals, including iron, quartz, and feldspar depending on the stone, are typically deposited by water, which evaporates leaving traces of minerals behind.


Veining is defined as being long continuous deposits, which can vary in width, and branching. Speckles, or flecks, are grains of minerals that are typically deposited across the stone in a more or less constant fashion. Marbles, like Crema Marfil marble or Calacatta Boghini marble, are excellent examples of stones with veining, while granite, which can also have veining, is predominantly speckled. Mineral deposits run the gamut from grays to blacks, to reds, greens, and purples. The most highly coveted are gold deposits.



Marble countertops are comprised of crystallized limestone. The fewer “impurities” (non-limestone material) the stone has, the whiter it will be. Typically, other minerals can penetrate the limestone when marble is forming, allowing for different colors and textures to appear. Iron oxide causes brown and yellow deposits, while feldspar and iron create red and pink colorations respectively. Exotic minerals like serpentine, which creates a greenish hue, and porphyry, which results in a violet coloring, can also be found in marble. Additionally, there’s gold, blue, and pink, marbles available.


Calacatta Borghini Marble



Granite countertops come in a wide array of color choices, which contributes to its signature mottled and speckled texture. Granite is primarily composed of quartz, mica, and feldspar but it frequently contains other minerals in smaller quantities. Feldspar and hematite are the reason for any white, red, or pink spots while hornblende is often responsible for black and darker green variations. Quartz creates various shades of gray, while biotite, muscovite, and lepidolite deposits leave specks of black, silver, and violet, respectively.


Fantasy White Granite



Similar to granite, quartzite can consist of a large variety of minerals giving it a large variety of colors. Quartzite will typically be gray or white with flakes of mica, which give it a translucent appearance. Blue quartzite is the result of the mineral dumortierite, and iron oxide is the reason behind the red and pink spots. Quartzite is also available in yellow, purple, orange, green, and brown, all thanks to the minerals, which were around as the stone was developing.



Slate is typically dark gray because it’s primarily comprised of volcanic ash and clay. However, the presence of iron can turn slate green, red, black and brown. Hematite can cause the stone to have a purple or reddish tint and chlorite create a greenish stone. Additionally, slate can contain deposits of chlorite, mica, and quartz, which can alter the texture and sheen of the stone.


Jade Green Slate


Knowing more about how natural stones are formed and how they acquire their distinctive colors can help you narrow the options of which natural stone material to bring into your home. The color and textural disparities in every unique slab can be truly astounding, so there’s definitely a natural stone that’s perfect for your project.