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Stone shine encyclopedia
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Stone shine encyclopedia

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When stone becomes dull and scratched, it loses its shine and luster. At this time the stone needs to be refinished and polished to restore the shine it originally had.

Why does stone shine, and how can a lost shine be recovered?

Stone is extracted from the earth in the form of raw blocks with explosives, large saws and specialized equipment. These blocks are then cut into thinner and more easily handled pieces, called slabs. The slab itself is then processed in a variety of shapes & sizes, based on its intended use. It may be given a high shine and shipped to a marble fabricator, who will ultimately turn it into a table, vanity top, etc., or it may be transformed into tiles for installation on floors or walls.

The deep shine seen on polished stone is achieved by rubbing the stone with a series of abrasive materials. The process is very similar to sanding a piece of wood. The stone is rubbed with a coarse abrasive grit, followed by finer and finer grits until the stone becomes smooth. The scratches left behind from one grit are removed by the next, creating finer and finer scratches. The process continues until the scratches are microscopic. The shine on the stone is achieved by abrading the surface to the point at which it becomes extremely smooth and starts to develop some reflectivity. The shine on the stone is thus a product of optics. This same optical property can be observed on a pond. When the wind is blowing and the surface of the pond is wavy, it becomes difficult to see a reflection; when the air is still and the pond is calm, a deep reflection can be observed. So, in order to achieve a deep shine on stone, all that is really needed is to smooth it until it shines.

If it sounds simple enough, the techniques employed to achieve this degree of smoothness do require special knowledge and training. This is not friendly territory for the do-it-yourselfer.

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