Natural stones such as marble are often specified in residential applications for their beauty and longevity. Many natural stone quarries can offer comprehensive explanations on the quality of their stone(s). However, problems occur when the user – especially if it’s a private person – has little to no knowledge themselves of stone quality, and has to rely solely on the word of those trying to sell it. In truth, natural stone quality is a complex and often contradictory assessment. The Marble Institute of America (MIA) is the most reputable and widely utilised source of standards, although there is unfortunately no universally applied or legislated explanation for natural stone quality. In Australia, the not-for-profit Australian Stone Advisory Association (ASAA) has developed a set of standards designed to assist the local market, based on those developed by the MIA.
The result of this, paired with the complexity associated with grading natural stones, is that many quarries will overrate their products. Natural stones are not always visibly different from first to second quality, or even commercial selection. In-depth knowledge, years of experience and a good eye are all necessary in order to spot the differences between the grades.
The contradictory nature of assessing stone quality comes down to a few factors. The MIA has two requirements when grading marble, granite and other natural stones: smoothness and toxicity. Together, these two qualities cover the most important aspects associated with natural stone: the un-detectability of surface imperfections and suitability for intended use (such as food preparation).
However, the characteristics that we find most appealing in marble – bold colours and dynamic veining to name two – can directly oppose the structural integrity of the marble. In fact, the highest-grade marbles often have more subtle colouring and less pronounced veining. Lowest grade marbles might be the most decorative, but are also the softest and most prone to damage.
RMS Natural Stone and Ceramics have been operating for over 20 years as one of the leading sources for natural stone in Australia. Recognising the importance for quality, their selection of natural stones are imported primarily from countries known for producing fine natural materials, such as Italy and Spain.
The ability to choose high quality and attractive stones comes down to their extensive experience, and consumers can have confidence the stone they have selected is not being overrated, and therefore overpriced. RMS Natural Stone and Ceramics are members of the ASAA, designed to implement the highest standards for natural stone industry-wide.
With showrooms in Sydney and Melbourne, RMS Natural Stone and Ceramics are readily available for consultation in person or over the phone. Only by being informed can you ensure you’re getting the highest quality material, and the best advice for a long-lasting product.
To find out more, visit their website or give them a ring using the numbers below.
RMS Natural Stone and Ceramics
(02) 9316 9677 (NSW)
(03) 9388 2000 (VIC)