Quartz countertops are very popular among interior designers and homeowners, especially for the kitchen. Most know that they are not natural stone, although many look remarkably like granite or marble. However, few only have the vaguest ideas of what quartz countertops actually are aside from being manmade. Here are 8 interesting facts about quartz countertops you may not know.

Quartz countertops are not necessarily quartz

Quartz CountertopsYou may be surprised to learn that not all quartz countertops have quartz at all. The more correct term would be “engineered” stone, because they can contain other minerals aside from quartz. The one thing all quartz countertops have in common is the Bretonstone process for making them. The process does not specify that quartz must be in there. The stones could be marble, granite, or industrial waste such as silica or ceramic.
The top brands of engineered stone do have quartz material as a major component, although it is not solid quartz. In most cases, engineered stone is about 90% crushed quartz or quartz stone, with the rest made up of resin and pigments. The reason these companies use quartz is because it is a very durable material, so it makes sense to put them in instead of other materials.

All engineered stone use the same process

engineered stoneAs mentioned earlier, all engineered stone use the Bretonstone process. It does not matter what brand it is. They use this patented process to produce engineered stone for countertops. Other uses under license from the Breton company, which came up with the technology in 1963.
The Bretonstone process involves mixing the materials together, compressing them to remove the air, and applying heat to fuse the materials together. Once it is a solid mass, the manufacturer cuts the finished product into slabs so they look and feel like natural stone.

The company has granted a license to about 50 companies worldwide to use the Bretonstone process. Among these licensees are well-known brands such as Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone. Each company adds something to the process to distinguish their products from their competitors, such as mirror or metal fragments. However, they all use the same patent or “brevetto” of Breton technology.

Bretonstone has nothing to do with the Bretons

frontage of Breton company


Bretons refer to natives of the Brittany region of France. But this does not relate in any way to the patented process used to produce engineered stone. True, the company is called Breton, but Marcello Toncelli established it about a few minutes’ drive from Venice in Italy, in a place called Castello di Godego. The company name is a combination of the word “brevetti” or patents and “Toncelli,” in honor of the company founder, thus “Breton.”

Cheese and countertops

Cambria countertopOne of the most popular brands of engineered stone in the US is Cambria, which started producing their signature quartz slabs in 2000 after they had purchased the license and equipment necessary. Today, they supply many homes and businesses with the engineered stone they require. However, they started with cheese.

Back in the 1930s, the Davis family was deep in the dairy processing industry, producing cheese in association with Nicollet Food, Le Seur Cheese Company, and St. peter Creamery. Currently located in Eden Prairie, the family continues to produce millions of pounds of cheese annual for Kraft Foods while rolling out their fair share of quartz countertops that homeowners can use to slice and serve their favorite cheeses.

Quartz countertops are environmentally friendly

quartz countertopEngineered stone is primarily made up of waste materials, so it is a great example of the 3Rs of environment protection: reduce, reuse, and recycle. While top brands almost exclusively use quartz, it does not use whole quartz, so no quarrying is done exclusively to provide the quartz (or other natural stone) for engineered stone.

The resin and pigments used to bind and color engineered stone comes, in part or in whole, from natural sources. So, also helps in making engineered quartz a bit more green. In particular, the Biolenic resins from the Breton company are part organic, as it comes from industrial grade vegetable oil.

Quartz stone has many uses

quartz floors in commercial building

Most people associate engineered stone with quartz countertops, but actually, manufacturers do most of their business with commercial users. They produce massive slabs of quartz stone for airports, shopping areas, and office buildings. You have probably walked on different brands of quartz stones more than you realize.

Engineered stone has come a long way since Marcello Toncelli created the technology. Back in the day, he was only able to produce 12” x 20” slabs, hand pouring them into molds and then cutting them for use as floor tiles. Larger slabs suitable for use for kitchen countertops came much later in the 1970s. Even then, they were only about 50 inches long.

Quartz countertops, and proud of it

Caesarstone Apple Martini or Crocodile slab
Back in the day, engineered stone manufacturers tried their best to make their products look as close as possible to granite and marble, and they did a pretty good job of it. However, most people now recognize the qualities of quartz countertops, and are willing to go beyond mimicry. While many top brands still carry lines that look like natural stones, they have also developed designs that look nothing like natural stones, and many homeowners are fine with them. Caesarstone, for instance, offer a line of ultra-modern quartz stones that include Crocodile and Apple Martini.

Quartz and natural stone play well together

kitchen with quartz countertops and granite backsplash or wall
Rather than fierce competitors vying for the first prize in the kitchen, quartz and natural stones actually work well together. You can choose quartz for kitchen countertops, granite for backsplashes, and marble for pastry tables, for example. Your kitchen will look fantastic with the right design.

If you feel overwhelmed by the possibilities, Keystone Granite & Tile can walk you through each slab and explain how each can benefit you in your kitchen remodel in the areas of Columbus, Ohio, Delaware cities, Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

With showrooms in Lancaster and Horsham, Pennsylvania as well as New Castle, Delaware and Columbus, Ohio. You can look at granite and marble stone slabs as well as top brands of engineered stones such as Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all with manufacturer warranties.
We provide free professional design consultation and quotes so you know exactly where you are before committing. We are experts at fabricating and installing granite countertops. So, you can be confident that you will get the very best in product and service quality.
Also we have a quick turnaround, so you will get your products on time and on budget.
Give us a call or send us an inquiry through our website to get started.