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What is natural stone?

“Natural Stone” refers to a number of products quarried from the earth, used over many thousands of years as building materials and decorative enhancements. These products include marble, granite, slate, quartz, limestone, travertine, shellstone and onyx. Natural stone is hand selected from the best, most consistent sources for durability and beauty.

Natural stone products differ in composition, color, and texture even among pieces from the same source. This is a vast benefit, lending itself to one of a kind designs and distinctive, dramatic applications.

What are different types of natural stone?


Marble is available in solids and dramatic veined varities, and is prized for its timeless style, texture and high-gloss polish along with a rich palette of beautiful colours. Often seen as a symbol of luxury, modern technology brings beautiful marble products even to budget-conscious home-owners.


Granite is exceptional for maintainance-free elegance and durability. It’s incredible strength combined with the amazing variety of mineral-rich colours and natural patterns make it ideal for flooring, countertops and decorative interior and exterior applications.


Slate is formed by sedimentary deposits and compression,which splits naturally into beautifully textured layers. Its durability, stain-resistivity and availability in shades of brown, yellow, gray, pink, lavender and more, make it useful for flooring, cladding and landscaping.


Quartz is a rock with medium grained texture and incredible durability that sparkles with tiny quartz crystals. The mineral content produces various colours from sedate shades of whites and grays to adventurous shades of purple and pink. Its natural non-skid texture makes it perfect for indoor and outdoor flooring, including areas with heavy traffic and exposure.


Limestones are available in soft beiges and tans, either polished or honed, and are perfect for today’s casual and comfortable lifestyles. They are perfect for informal areas with low-traffic such as bathrooms and countertops.


Travertine has patterns and veining effects formed by hot spring water percolating through underground limestone. Its appearance adds rich, distinctive character to indoor and outdoor building projects. For indoor applications, it is usually filled with cement or resin to create a smooth and stain-resistant surface.

Shell Stone

Shell Stone is a sedimentary stone similar to limestone, with many small shells embedded and visible upon its surface.


Onyx is a translucent stone with a glossy surface and composes of crystalline silica, which is closes related to semi-precious stones. It is formed in caves by the slow flow of cold carbonated spring water and is available in most colours.

Where can natural stone be used?

Natural stone can be used on nearly every surface both inside and outside the home, including floors, walkways, wall cladding, kitchen countertops, vanity tops, bathrooms, patios, fireplaces, facades and garden landscaping.

How is the stone processed?

There are three main processes that take place before the slabs reach the MCI gallery; quarrying, cutting and processing. The stone is first extracted from the earth at quarries which are located in over 30 countries across the globe. The quarried blocks of marble are then cut into slabs by a large gang saw, which works exactly like a bread slicer. Finally, the raw slabs are laid down and treated by resinating and polishing the stone to make it beautiful and durable.

What are the most important benefits of using natural stones?
  • Durability.
  • Easy maintainance.
  • Unfading colours.
  • Increases property value.
  • Ideal for green and sustainable projects.
  • Thermal resistance helps keep the stone cool.
Why is there a such a wide range of prices for natural stones?

Natural stone prices are influenced by several factors. The primary factor is the availability of the raw material at the quarry. The second most important is the quality of raw material (physical properties of the stone), the processing quality (type of equipment used, consumables used). This directly effects the visual and aethetic appeal of the finished marble slabs. Additionally, some semi-precious stones contain minerals and deposits that are very rare and exclusive.

What are different types of stones finishes?

Polished: The stone is grinded and buffed, which produces a high gloss and mirror-like finish.

Honed: The stone is grinded and sanded, which produces a smooth yet unglossy finish. This finish is mainly used for areas with high traffic.

Sandblasted: The stone is subjected to a high pressure blast of sand, which creates a rougy but tidy look.

River Wash: This finish is primarily used on granites. It provides a non-slippery surface while retaining the colour and grain structure of the stone.

Leather: This finish is primarily used on granites. The stone gets a suede like feel and look after this finish. The texture is smooth yet slip-resistant.

Will my stone look like the samples?

Stones are natural and unique products, therefore the samples will slightly vary in colour, pattern and grain structure. The samples are used to obtain a general look and feel of the variety of stone.

What are book-matched slabs?

Book-matched slabs are ones that are next to each other after cut from the block of stone, but are polished on opposite sides. When these slabs are laid next to each other, they create a mirror image pattern. The veins of the stone can be matched by your fabricator to create a continous pattern in large open spaces of the building.

How big are slabs of stone?

The size of slabs depend on the type of stone and also on the extraction techniques used at the quarry. On average, our slabs are 8 feet by 6 feet and go upto 10 feet by 7 feet. Once installed, large slabs enhance the beauty of the space as they provide a seamless and continous floor design.

What is the importance of thickness?

The thichkness of the marble slab is directly proportional to the strength and durability of the product. The required standard in the industry globally is 2 cm with a minimum of 1.8 cm for the processed slab. Thicker slabs cost slightly more, but are easier to handle, easier to transport and easier to install thus resulting in minimum wastage of the product and a longer life.

What care and maintenance is recommended for stone?

Stone surfaces are very easy to maintain. Simple care and maintenance will help preserve your stone’s beauty for generations to come.

Daily Maintenance

  • Do clean dust, dirt from floor once or twice daily with a dust mop or vacuum.
  • Damp mop or spot clean as necessary, using a pH neutral marble cleaner.
  • Damp mop all areas with clean, warm water at least daily to remove fine dust.
  • Frequency of dry mop depends on traffic e.g. home users – 1 to 2 times in a day and commercial place – 2 to 3 times.
  • Allow to dry before putting surface back into use.

Periodic Maintenance

A) Home Users

  • Buff with premium liquid wax polish once in 6 months.
  • Polish using marble polishing powder with scrubbing machine once in 1-2 years.

B) Commercial Users

  • Buff with liquid wax polish once a month depending on traffic.
  • Polish using marble polishing powder with scrubbing machine once in 6 – 12 months. Frequency may be increased or decreased depending upon traffic pattern.
What is the speciality of Marble Centre International?

Established in 1989, Marble Centre International (MCI) is India’s premier importer and retailer of natural stones globally, boasting over 35 years of experience and a collection of 600+ varieties from 42+ countries. What makes MCI stands out is the superior quality and range of natural stones and luxury marble.

Our products, meticulously hand-picked from select quarries and processed to international standards, are completely done at the world’s best facilities abroad. This commitment to excellence sets us apart as the largest stockists of finished slabs in the country, especially in imported marble, as each slab undergoes comprehensive processing and finishing before import.

Our world-class Experience Centre in Bengaluru is designed to showcase and demonstrate the superiority of our products through 10 curated luxury lifestyle experience zones and over 80 unique application ideas. This centre extends our commitment to excellence in customer experience, tailored around the customer’s buying process.

What are the differences between various types of natural stones?

Natural stones such as marble, granite, onyx, quartzite, travertine, semi-precious and mother-of-pearl differ in their composition, appearance, durability, and suitability for different applications.

Marble typically features veining and is more porous, making it ideal for interior use, such as countertops and flooring.

Granite is known for its durability, heat resistance, and varied colour patterns, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications like countertops and cladding.

Onyx is prized for its translucency and unique veining. It is often used for decorative purposes, such as countertops and feature walls.

Quartzite is a dense and durable stone in a wide range of colours. It is suitable for high-traffic areas like kitchen countertops.

Mother-of-pearl, with its iridescent sheen, is used for decorative accents and surfaces.

Travertine is a strong, natural stone marble that can withstand extremely high pressure. It is an appealing stone suitable for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Semi-precious stones include gemstones that come in several colours and shades. These stones are believed to have healing and metaphysical properties.

Understanding these differences helps in choosing the right natural stone for specific projects.

How do I choose the right marble for my project?

When choosing marble for your project, consider factors such as colour, veining pattern, durability, and intended use.

For high-traffic areas, opt for more durable marble varieties. Decide whether honed or polished finishes suit your project better.

Lastly, consult with your architect, interior designer and suppliers to ensure the chosen marble meets your project’s requirements in terms of aesthetics, functionality, and maintenance.

Read our blog for more information to pick the right marble for your project.

How do I care for natural stone surfaces?

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for preserving the beauty and longevity of natural stone surfaces. These are some of the best practices followed across the industry.

One essential step when installing your stone is to ensure that the stone surface is sealed to protect against stains and moisture. Use pH-neutral cleaners to avoid damaging the stone, and clean spills promptly. Additionally, use coasters or mats to shield counter tops from heat and scratches. Regularly dust and wipe surfaces with a soft cloth or mop to prevent build up.

For outdoor stone surfaces, ensure they are sealed and cleaned regularly to withstand weather elements. Periodically reseal natural stone surfaces as recommended by the manufacturer. Following these care practices helps maintain the natural beauty and integrity of your stone surfaces for years to come.

Can natural stones (Granite, Quartzite, Travertine) be used outdoors?

Yes, natural stones such as granite and quartzite can be used outdoors, depending on their specific properties and finishes.

Granite is particularly suitable for outdoor use due to its durability, heat resistance, and weather resilience, making it ideal for outdoor counters, paving, and cladding.

Quartzite, known for its strength and low porosity, is also suitable for outdoor applications like flooring and landscaping features.

Travertine is also a good choice for the outdoors as its textured look complements nature. High density and hardness makes it durable and long-lasting, making it capable of withstanding the natural elements. Additionally, it is heat resistant and remains cool which makes it suitable for using as garden paths and patio paving.

Are natural stones expensive?

The cost of natural stones fluctuates based on factors like type, rarity, quality, size, and origin, with higher quality marble warranting its higher price. Exotic stones such as Onyx and select imported marble varieties often come at premium prices compared to common granite or quartzite due to their superior quality. Additionally, installation complexity and project scale contribute to overall costs. Consulting with suppliers or professionals is crucial for accurate pricing tailored to your project’s requirements and the chosen stone’s quality level.