It’s no stretch to say that limestone — with all its intricate fossils and shells — is the stuff from which comes some of the most beautiful countertops in the world. When you see this stone up close and personal, you will be transfixed by the incredible detail — a geological picture book telling a tale written by thousands of small creatures that lived millions of years ago in seas that no longer exist.
Granite, quartzite and marble have the crazy range of crystalline color, but the storied matrix of limestone will enchant visitors with an ageless spell, for it’s not just Mother Earth’s geological processes of heat and pressure that form this stone, but life itself.
Chemically, limestone is a buff-colored sedimentary rock made by the compaction of shells and skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, snails, slugs, mussels, and octopuses. These shells are composed of crystal forms of calcium carbonate.
Detail showing the incredible detail in our Jerusalem Bone Limestone Slab. If you look closely, you can see spiral shells and more.
Limestone has long been used as a building material and in the making of cement. The stone does best in low traffic areas that will be easier to maintain. Limestone is beautiful, but susceptible to stains, erosion and pitting due to it’s porosity and chemistry. However, denser limestone countertops are less porous and proper sealing can minimize intrusions.
On the bright side, red wines, catchup, grape juice and hundreds of other food stains can be safely erased from limestone with ordinary oxygen bleach.
No weird science, please
Unlike soapstone, strong acids will turn limestone into a bubbling, fizzing mess. Severe damage would be the result. But do you really need to crack open a car battery on your kitchen countertop? If you do need a chemistry-safe countertop, soapstone is the way to go. Laboratory counters are traditionally made of the stuff.
Chances are your kitchen will not be the scene too many science experiments gone wrong. If a steaming meteorite lands in your backyard, don’t saw it open in your kitchen to let loose an acid-drooling alien queen. Let it lose in your neighbor’s kitchen instead. Or better yet, just cover it up with dirt. And cement. And move far, far away.
Mild acidic foods including vinegar, orange juice and tomatoes might etch your limestone countertop a little bit if allowed to sit all day. The best practice would be to keep the stone well-sealed, use a cutting board, and get the countertop damp before you use such foods then clean up immediately when you are done.
Limestone is not as strong as other types of stone such as granite. It is heavy and can crack if someone were to sit on a limestone countertop that was incorrectly installed. By that, we mean not well-supported, and evenly so, at all points.
What stone is like a star?
Would limestone be too much trouble for you? Maybe.
Some of the world’s most beloved and beautiful people are known for being “high maintenance.” You might want nothing to do with such a person. They can be a lot of trouble. But if you treat them just right, and keep up with their frivolous demands and occasional tantrums, it’s safe to wager you shan’t find their match for haunting, intoxicating beauty — the kind you’ll never tire from looking at. Such people can be difficult, but they are also portals of wonder that brighten the world like no one else can. Alas, the brighter they shine, the hotter they burn.
Such people are a lot like limestone. So if looking into the whorls of a limestone countertop you see the fleeting likeness of Elizabeth Taylor or hear the cooing voice of Judy Garland or perhaps Diana Ross… well, you’ll know why.
Photography fails to capture the stunning beauty of our Jerusalem Bone Limestone Slab.