ABOUT OUR MATERIALS
Stone Forest designs are sculpted from single blocks of stone that were formed millions of years ago. A block of stone represents centuries of accumulated time and we like to think of them as “recorders of nature’s memory”.
As we cut into a block, a mystery is revealed as the unique characteristics of the stone come to light. These include individual fingerprints of nature, such as anomalies in the form of areas of enhanced coloration and unusual veining and swirls of color in the stone. Much of the actual carving is done by hand with calculated blows from a hammer and chisel. We also use small diamond saws and hand-held polishing tools, but because the sinks are not machined each will be a little different, and truly exceptional. They will not be perfectly symmetrical and there will be small variations in size. Each block of stone also has its own personality; expressed in slight differences in the makeup of its crystalline structure.
We hope our clients appreciate the wonders of natural stone and its unique characteristics. We never want to ask this incredible material to be something that it is not.
This massive, dense, versatile material has gained widespread use throughout human history. We sculpt in black, blue-grey, and beige granites from block form. Not only are these colors universal in appeal, but they also lend themselves to a variety of styles and textures, from a rustic, rough-chiseled surface to a contemporary, high-polished one for contrast. Because this material born from molten magma and forms over hundreds of years, some natural mineral deposits are to be expected. These show up as round or irregular-shaped anomalies that are silver, gold or copper in color. These anomalies are generally small, but can range up to approximately one inch in diameter (about the size of a quarter). These inclusions are a part of the makeup of the natural stone. We also work with granite in boulder form, which allows us to use the exterior, rougher crust as a contrast to a high-polished interior bowl (check out our Wabi or Pebble Vessel Sinks, or our Natural Boulder Bathtub).
Basalt is an igneous (volcanic) material formed mostly from lava flows. Dense and durable, basalt lends itself to a wide range of sculptural applications.
In the bath and kitchen, we love basalt because it has the neutrality of concrete, coupled with the “radiant mass” of natural stone. In the garden, we use columnar basalt from a small, family owned quarry in Inner Mongolia and contrast the natural exterior that has weathered over thousands of years with polished facets that reveal the “soul” of the stone.
Please note: our basalt material has some non-structural inclusions that appear as thin white lines in the natural material.
Fun Facts: Basalt is the original constituent of the crust from which almost all other rock types have evolved. Basalt is also found on the Moon and other rocky planets of the Solar System.
Sandstone has been used for centuries as a trusted medium for architecture, sculpture, interior design and more. The sedimentary rock is relatively soft and easy to work with compared to stones such as marble and granite. Its layers of reds, browns, greys and other colors also make a stunning visual statement. Michael Zimber, owner of Stone Forest in Santa Fe, NM, is inspired by this material. Each year he travels the globe, hand-picks the best pieces of sandstone and transforms them into hand-carved bathtubs, vessel sinks and other creations. While Zimber appreciates sandstone's beauty and workability, he's especially drawn to another fact: each layer tells a unique story about thousands of years of history on earth. As the sand was deposited in estuaries and tidal flats eons ago, it also held random concentrations of minerals that now show up in the stone as spots, freckles, eye or colored patches. The occurrence of these mineral inclusions is a natural expression of this unique material. We do our best to select blocks from the quarry that carry a minimum of anomalies and do not ship those finished pieces that may have large differences in pigment. Nonetheless, all of our Sandstone vessels carry some degree of anomalies.
In its purest form, the natural luster of Carrara Marble brightens the ambiance in any home. Its history and widespread uses make it a prominent symbol for tradition and sophisticated tastes. Michelangelo refused to use anything but pure white marble for his sculpture of David! Origin: Carrara, Italy Types: The most common of the Carrara marbles is Bianco — a light gray. Bianco Statuario (or Statuary Carrara) and Bianco Venetino (or Venetino Carrara) are both pure white in background, marked with gray veins. More dramatic variations include: Arabesco — with gray veins and markings known as arabesques across its surface — and Cipollino, which resembles the onion it was named after with green, white and gray bands across its surface.
Uses: The Greeks and Romans favored Carrara marble for sculptures and architecture. In home design, white marble adds a gleaming magnificence to countertops, bath tubs, flooring and decorative furniture. Apart from adding a touch of luxury to the home, marble can act as a cooling system due to its abilities to lower indoor temperatures. When it comes to bath tubs, the marble also possesses special insulating properties that will retain the waters heat at the right temperature for longer periods. History: Carrara marble has been used for over 2,000 years. The first peak in activity with pure white marble began during the Roman Imperial period when it served as the primary stone for public buildings. Fun Fact: Carrara marble is rare and very expensive; during ancient times when public buildings were constructed primarily from marble, it showed off the power of Italy.
SIENA SILVER-GREY MARBLE
This striking material features subtle smoky tones and natural contrasting striations. This marble is featured by a full suite of bath sculpture, named the Siena Collection, designed for the home and spa which combines minimalist design with an Italian sensibility.
There is no rushing natural design and if you are patient, nature yields the most beautiful results. Conglomerate, or Jurassic Stone as we named it (think dinosaur eggs!), is made from pebbles compressed together and then rounded out naturally by the action of water over what could be hundreds or even thousands of years. Because the pebbles have been transported by water they are usually a wide variety of rock types and are various sizes, shapes, and colors. The pebbles are then naturally cemented together by silica, calcite and iron oxides, which are organic and naturally occurring minerals. The result is a compressed, solid conglomerate stone that shows off a beautiful variation in color at its surface. This material was first introduced as part of our Pebble Collection, which features fountains, seating, vases and vessel sinks sculpted into large, organic river pebble shapes. The Pebble Collection fountains are hand-carved and stand at 24," 48," and 60" tall, and weigh up to 4,200 lbs!
Onyx has been used for millennia in the creation of jewelry, utilitarian items, architectural accents and more. The stone is highly variable in terms of color, crystalline structure and veining. Stone Forest now works with five different varieties of onyx, including honey, multicolored, white, ice white, and pink. It's the perfect material for those looking to add a stunning, natural accent to interior and exterior environments. The crystalline structure and deep colors of onyx are hypnotizing, said Michael Zimber, founder and owner of Santa Fe, NM-based Stone Forest, who travels the globe in search of the best pieces of onyx for his solid stone sinks, bathtubs and fountains. Every time we make a new carving out of the material, were taken on a journey through layer after layer of geological history and Mother Nature's beauty. Every one of our hand carved, solid onyx creations is one-of-a-kind. Since onyx is naturally translucent, it allows lighting to glow through from behind. Several of our designs, including the Veneto PedestalSink and the SYNC Drop-in Vessel, can be lit from underneath to enhance the material's natural color and veining. Onyx is a highly variable material in terms of color, crystalline structure and veining. Every Onyx product should be considered one-of-a-kind. The material not only varies significantly from block to block, but within most individual blocks.
Our bronze vessel sinks are crafted using traditional sand-casting methods, and feature a living finish that evolves over time and oxidizes naturally with use. Each bronze sink is made from 100% recycled materials. Bronze is widely used for cast metal sculptures and has been used throughout history in the creation of tools, weapons and building materials. The alloy, traditionally composed of copper and tin, is harder and more fusible than pure copper and more resistant to corrosion than pure iron. The Bronze Age (3300 BC to 1200 BC), when ancient societies adopted it on a large scale, is nothing less than a major landmark in human history.
The way that we work with copper is unique in our industry, and sets us apart in both aesthetic and quality. The fully double walled construction of our copper sinks allows us to foam-fill the interior, which reduces reverberation. This also enables a number of mounting options for our Farmhouse-style Kitchen sinks, including under-mount, flush mount, partially elevated and above counter.
Using nature as our blueprint, we create functional sculpture crafted from thick slabs of sustainable hardwood. Handcrafted using mortise and tenon joinery (no nails), our designs emphasize the natural or outer edge of the tree as well as other unique characteristics including burls, knotholes and naturally occurring checks/cracks. In order to create a sustainable product, we mill small growth trees and laminate the planks together in order to create an old growth, large slab look. The slabs contain a mix of heartwood and sapwood, with resulting variations in light and dark grain. Butterfly joints are used both to control cracks and for purely decorative reasons. All of our furniture reflects the individual characteristics of the tree from which it was made and each piece is one-of-a-kind.