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What is pietra cardosa or pietra del Cardoso?

After a particularly long day taking clients around to luxury apartments, I called my husband and said, “honey, we just learned all the different names for granite.”

But stones are important, not just because developers like picking out fancy ones so they have an excuse to fly to Italy. (The Apuane Alps are in North Tuscany, are where all that cool stone comes from). What kind of stone you use where will have an impact on your quality of life.

The first thing you need to know is that stones are formed three ways: they’re spouted from a hot volcano (igneous), deposited as little particles after evaporation (sedimentary) or are sedimentary rocks that have been changed through heat and pressure (metamorphic).

When you’re making a bathroom, you want a stone that feels good on your toesies, but it doesn’t have to be super hard because you’re not chopping on it. Limestone, a sedimentary rock, is a particularly poetic choice, because it’s formed from the shells of little sea creatures. As one architect told me, “limestone is compressed beach.”

If limestone undergoes heat and pressure changes, it becomes marble, also a popular bathroom choice.

But the remnants of all those little shells react to acid — it contains what rock people would call calcite. And you don’t want a kitchen counter that you can’t drip lemon juice on, do you?

That’s why the best choice for a kitchen counter is often granite — it doesn’t react to acid, and since it was formed by heat, it’s okay if you put a hot pot on it.

Architects who like a softer look often pick a sedimentary rock made of compressed desert — since it has no sea shells in it, it won’t react to acid. This rock, true to its origin, is called sandstone. (When sandstone metamorphizes, it becomes quartzite).

The only problem with our little pietra is that it can be porous, even more so than granite. So it should be sealed several times a year.

Happy cooking!

Posted in For Design Divas and For Gawkers and For Renovators 13 years ago at 11:06 am.

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