Book-Matched Natural Stone Makes An Impression

December 20, 2012
It isn’t easy to improve upon natural stone, with all of its innate beauty, veins, striations, and variants that make each piece utterly unique. However, expert cutting and polishing can indeed elevate natural stones to something even more extraordinary. Such is the power of Book-Matching, a process during which geometric patterns can be uncovered and arranged for elegant or vivid displays. 


Choosing the Right Stone for Book-Matched Design
Book-Matching is not simply an installation technique. It actually begins with identifying the right stone. Not all stones benefit from Book-Matching. For example, a stone that is so variant or complex that there is no discernible pattern will not benefit from Book-Matching. A Book-Matched design is more suited to stones with strong veins and lines that may be replicated for a symmetry that gives an even greater benefit to nature’s original design. The natural stones primarily used for Book-Matching are marble countertops, onyx, quartzite countertops, alabaster, and granite slabs.
Onyx, in particular, is a perfect mate for a Book-Matched design. Its translucent nature when highly polished, coupled with vivid colors and often circular patterns lends itself perfectly for this application. 


Identifying a Pattern for Book-Matching
Once the stone is selected, the desired pattern is identified. Some designers prefer a subtle Book-Matched pattern while others prefer something more distinctive. The pattern cultivated may be soft and pleasing to the eye in an abstract way, or even arranged to create a more concrete image like an animal, insect, person, or landscape. Personal artistic preference and the intended application of the Book-Matched stone will likely determine the selection. Applications of Book-Matched stone vary: medallion-like flooring, featured walls in living areas or in showers, and countertops, such as large islands, are a few of the more popular ways to highlight a Book-Matched design. The desired pattern will directly impact the cut of the stone.


Cutting & Polishing for the Perfect Match 
The term “Book-Matched” itself refers to how slabs are cut and polished. The stone is cut into slabs like one might slice a block of cheese with a slicer. Those slices that are identified for Book-Matching will be ones that are in position right next to each other in the block. Rather than being polished on their fronts, as is the normal process, these pairs are polished on opposite sides. During installation, those polished sides will be matched up to create the mirror imaging that is such a beautiful example of symmetry. Slices from the same block can be arranged in varying patterns to complement each other while remaining singularly unique, and for more complex patterns, multiple slabs may be utilized. 
A High-End Selection that Makes an Impression
Book-Matching is a more labor intensive activity than the standard cutting and polishing, as the factory must alter its process to make very specific cuts and alternate polishing to accomplish the desired designs. Therefore, Book-Matching it is typically a high-end option (though installation costs generally run the same as for non-matched stones). In terms of décor, it is also a high-end selection as such natural stone displays are always completely unique and demonstrate an advanced design aesthetic.
MSI is the leading importer and distributor of natural stones, including exceptional stones like Onyx - perfect for Book-Matched cuts and installations.