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Marble
Interesting Facts:
The use of marble dates back thousands of years to ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures. Capable of bearing immense weight, marble was ideally suited for monolithic columns and supporting structures in public, private, and religious buildings. It can be found in most awe-inspiring pieces of architecture from the past.

Similar to granite, the minerals that result from impurities give marble a wide variety of colors. The purest calcite marble is white. Marble containing hematite has a reddish color. Marble that has limonite is yellow, and marble with serpentine is green. Extremely pure calcite marble is used for most statues. This kind of marble is translucent--that is, light penetrates a short distance below the surface of the marble before it is reflected.

For your kitchen or bathroom: In general, marble is much softer than granite or other materials so it is most susceptible to stains or streaks. To clean the marble all you will need is a bit of neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores) or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a soft cloth for best results. Too much cleaner or soap used during cleaning may cause a film residue and cause streaking to occur on your marble sculpture. Never use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble. Always rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth.

Travertine
Interesting Facts:
Travertine stone is a form of limestone. It often forms near hot bubbly mineral rich springs. Gas bubbles become trapped and create a pitted surface on the stone. Similar to limestone, travertine also varies in hardness, density, and porosity. Some travertine stones are harder than others.

For your kitchen or bathroom: Similar to marble, travertine is softer than granite. It is a classic look and can create a very warm feeling to any design. Most of the colors it is available in are in the hues of pale creams, ivories, light greens and soft browns. No two pieces are ever the exact same shade. The stone surface can be left in its natural state with the small holes and pits unfilled. This is a warmer aged look which will acquire a beautiful patina over time. Leaving the stone unfilled will affect the durability. It will attract dirt much easier than a filled travertine making it harder to keep clean. Also like all other natural stones, it reacts very negatively when paired with any acidic or caustic household cleaners. Most importantly, travertine, in all it's natural beauty, cracks and breaks very easily. It would be best used in a low traffic area of your home or for backsplash only.

Limestone
Interesting Facts:
Limestone is a sedimentary rock, mainly composed of mineral calcite. The primary source of the calcite is usually marine organisms, which settle out of the water column and are deposited on the ocean floors as pelagic ooze. A sedimentary rock formed by a chemical transformation in relation to various organisms such as coral, algae, and bivalves. Limestone is also formed as a carbonate precipitate around small particles in water or is deposited by waters rich in calcium carbonate, making it very easy to see fossils in the surface.

For your kitchen or bathroom: Limestone counter tops are some of the most beautiful countertop options out there, and also some of the most expensive. With all of the intricate details, such as fossils and other natural inclusions, it's hard to not oogle at the wonder of nature when viewing limestone. Again, this is a very porous stone, much more porous than granite and can commonly stain if not properly maintained and cared for. Be very careful with vinegar, citric fruit and other foods like tomatoes, as they are acidic. With all natural stone, the best practice is to dampen the countertop with water before you work with these foods and liquids, and immediately clean up by rinsing the top well after you get these acids on the surface.

Soapstone
Interesting Facts:
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock. There are two different materials popularly called soapstone. The first being Talc, the softest mineral on earth, mostly used in the manufacturing of cosmetics, refractory materials, sculptures, and everyday items such as toothpaste, baby powder and even chewing gum. The rock steatite (also called soapstone) is the material used for countertops, sinks, masonry heaters, flooring, and many other architectural applications.

For your kitchen or bathroom: Soapstone is softer than most other natural stone and, although soft, soapstone is a very dense (non-porous) stone; more so than marble, slate, limestone and even granite. Since soapstone is impenetrable, it will not stain, no liquid will permeate its surface. Homeowners will often choose to use soapstone for fireplace mantels.