Romancing The Stone - Final Cut

November 07, 2012

Over the past weeks, we have taken you around the world to see natural stones as we see them – multigenerational, varied, and boundless. We discussed granite, marble, travertine, slate, limestone, and onyx, described how they are formed, and explored their many uses from national monuments, landmarks, and tourist destinations to every day products past and present. This week, in our final installment, we’d like to bring it altogether and offer you an overview of each stone to demonstrate how a premium surface from MSI can become a piece of art in your home or business. 


Granite – Easily the most well-known natural stone as a building material in today’s design lexicon, MSI offers a vast variety of granite countertops and granite tiles for flooring, as well as granite landscaping stones, like cobbles, for outdoor needs. Though it is the hardest of the natural stones and also known as the most “maintenance free”, making granite great for interior and exterior applications, this natural stone’s true virtue is its broad range of patterns, colors and crystalline variation, and versatility when it comes to cuts and finishes. As discussed in our tour of national monuments, granite is a popular choice for its ideal carving surface; however, it is also a perfect choice to bring a little majesty to your next project.

Marble – Your home may not be the Taj Mahal, but it can feel like it with a selection of marble tiles for flooring or marble slabs for countertops. Marble’s distinctive veining that can reveal itself as bands, streaks and clouds and variance in white, black, grayish and even pink and red shades makes it a great natural stone for accenting an area like a foyer, fireplace, or special countertop. As a piece of marble can be more susceptible to etching depending on its mineral content than an invulnerable stone like granite, it is best utilized selectively as a piece of definitive artwork for minimalist or dramatic looks.


Travertine - Travertine exemplifies the uniqueness of natural stone and offers us breathtaking achievements, whether untouched in its native environment or realized as man-made structures. Travertine tiles are one of the most popular natural stones for both interior floors and for exterior floors as travertine pavers. Travertine caps, treads, copings, flagstone, and ledgerstone will also redefine the look of an outdoor paradise. Travertine just as easily stands alone as it works in partnership, as travertine can be combined with other stones, metals, or glass into stunning mosaics that emphasize the whites, creams, browns, coppers, and pinks of this unique stone. It’s truly a wonderful combination of strength, like granite, and beauty, like a traditional marble, escalating the quality of design.

Slate – In our Romancing the Stone blog about slate, we celebrated its many merits – flat and smooth, thermally stable, fireproof, resistant to water, and more.  However, slate is more than just a adaptable stone we’ve been using since 6000BC. It is arguably one of the most distinctive and attractive of the natural stones. Light to dark grey, black, green, pink or red, purple, brown, blue-grey, or mottled, slate boasts a vibrant array of color and exceptional texture. Slate is suited to indoor and outdoor use. We offer slate tiles for flooring, mosaics for wall cladding, and slate pavers and landscaping stones for colorful patterns. It can bring an “old-timey” look to a room or modern sophistication, and the fact that no two pieces of slate, even from the same quarry, look alike means that a focal point of slate can be a piece of unrivaled art in itself. 

Limestone – It’s hard to imagine that a stone with so many practical and industrial purposes, such as for an additive in paint or filler in toothpastes and antacids, can also be something beautiful to look at. Nonetheless, the muted tones of limestone are perfect for a casual design aesthetic, and the very nature of stone itself implies wealth and prosperity despite the comfortable look. MSI offers limestone for a variety of applications – limestone tiles for flooring in low traffic areas; limestone slabs for countertops; limestone mosaics and beveled tiles for bathroom and fireplaces; and natural cut flagstones for your outdoor art gallery.

Onyx – This semi-precious stone is indeed the crowning jewel in a home or business application. As noted in our blog devoted to this natural stone, onyx is particularly suited for exotic countertops, like bartops, or for fireplace faces and backsplashes where the stone sees gentle use but is highly visible. Onyx tiles may be used for flooring, especially as edging and accents, and is also beautiful in combination with other stones, glass, or metal as eye-catching mosaics. Onyx may not be as versatile as the other natural stones we’ve discussed in this series (only in the sense that it cannot be downplayed and cannot help but uplift a room), but it certainly is the prime example for how a natural stone alone can be a piece of art. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Romancing the Stone series and invite you to take a look back at each of these natural stones, deeply rooted in tradition, generationally appealing, and variant in application. 

Romancing the Stone: Introducing MSI’s Natural Stone Series

Romancing the Stone: Monuments that Stand the Test of Time

Romancing the Stone: World’s Most Beautiful Travertine 

Romancing the Stone: No Boundaries in Quality

Romancing the Stone: Slate is a Timeless Stone 

Romancing the Stone: The Many Faces of Natural Limestone

Romancing the Stone: Bring it Together Natural Stone Mosaics

Romancing the Stone: Onyx - Jewel of Ancient & Modern Design