Stone Discoveries: Bianco Avorio, Grigio Alpi, and Grigio Argento

Owing to its refined aesthetic, and warm, neutral colors, Grassi Pietre stones, namely Bianco Avorio, Grigio Alpi, and Grigio Argento, are particularly suitable for both classical and modern applications. A typical characteristic of the stones is their tendency to grow harder with time, owing to their calcareous structure. This makes them suitable for large external surfaces.












Bianco Avorio is characterized by its light ivory color. It is the result of the sedimentation of innumerable minute fossils, which create its thin, flowery texture through the presence of fossil algae. It is a popular stone for classical sculpture, and suitable for exterior and interior cladding, floors, staircases, and every other building component imaginable.









Grigio Argento is a modern material characterized by its typical grey color. Its unique texture is characterized by the presence of macrofossils in a grey sand matrix.










Similarly, Grigio Alpi, a light grey stone, is characterized by the presence of the same fossil content, and has had a recent resurgence in popularity in modern art and architecture.










A wide variety of effects can be achieved through hand finishing, and it is through this process that the striking aesthetic qualities of the material are realized. In a rigato, or strirated, finish, the materials convey a natural rustic hardiness which make them suitable for an infinitude of exterior applications. In a levigato, or honed, or spazzolato, or brushed, finish, the aesthetic properties of the stones’ fossil content are highlighted.

The material was used extensively by the Venetian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, namely in his “Villas of the Veneto,” designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

The Grassi family started working in these quarries in 1850 and is still based in its historical headquarters in Nanto (Vicenza). Grassi Pietre’s close proximity to the quarries on the Berici Hills allows them to produce considerable amounts of material while maintaining constant supervision over quarrying activity. The company can check and select various stratifications in accordance with the requirements of a given order.

Stone Discoveries: Luget Limestone

Barneys New York, 660 Madison Avenue

Luget is a beige limestone, distinct for its homogeneity and the smooth consistency of its graining. It is quarried exclusively in the commune of Pranzac, in the Charente department in southwestern France. Upon reaching the town for my visit to the quarry, I was immediately struck by the appearance before me of the Castle of Pranzac: a large, crumbling ruin from the early feudal period. I had been struck by both the beauty of this lingering vestige of a time long lost, and the irony that, so close to what was in its heyday the height of decorative arts, is a quarry from which we cull raw materials for treasured ruins of the future.

The Luget quarry covers over 130,000 square feet, and the company which operates it produces approximately 30,000 cubic feet of limestone each year, primarily supplying large scale projects—for which reason is this stone ideal for such projects. In the recent past, the quarry has provided material for Barneys New York at 660 Madison Avenue, various museum pedestals in the Galerie Richelieu of the Musée du Louvre, and several of the chateaux and wineries of Bordeaux.

The most common finishing technique employed with this material is honing, a process of sharpening with hand scrapers and plane blades to achieve a smooth, flat consistency. Giving the stone this kind of clarity of texture tends to highlight its striking uniformity, and the muted and consistent nature of its graining. It is a disarmingly warm, earthy stone, with gold, at other times, ochre, hues; and, superlative as a building material for residential interiors when textured with an antic or brushed surface.

Perhaps the key to the splendor of Luget limestone is its versatility: at home in modern interiors as well as treads and copings, employed as veneer or with dynamic dimensionality. Luget can even be used as a cobblestone, hence giving the material extensive purchase as a resource for landscape architects and urban designers.

Luget quarry

Most frequently applied as residential flooring, paving and wall-cladding, Luget stone’s versatility is evident in that it can also be carved, allowing for a variety of elaborate and beautiful frontages for the structures it adorns,—such as the relatively recently constructed, extremely modern Yorkville condominium development at 170 East End Avenue.

The natural stone currently on view at ABC represents only the finest rocks on earth. Procured from 6 continents, ABC has truly moved mountains across oceans to bring the finest stone on earth to the A&D community. We are honored to bring to you Luget limestone, from the south of France.












Stone Discoveries: Breccia Capraia

Breccia Capraia quarry

Breccia Capraia quarry

Breccia Capraia marble, even in its rawest and least finished state, is a complexly beautiful sight to behold. Owing to its unique brecciation–meaning: its being composed of variously shaped and sized fragments, set against a backdrop of an entirely different material of a radically different appearance—owing to this happy accident of geological formation, millions of years old, the raw material invokes in the beholder a wide array of emotions and mnemonic associations.

While one might be reminded by it of the effect of a setting sun, or the impasto of the French impressionists, another might recognize in its meticulous intricate patterns the topography of the arctic tundra; a tableau of the earth disappearing before you as you ascend into the skies on an airplane.

While this variety of dramatic interpretation may be true of any number of breccias, it is the subdued and subtle forms taken by Breccia Capraia that make the stone’s use such an intriguing premise to architects and designers. Depending on its application, the marble may be showy and ostentatious, or a tasteful complement to more pronounced decorative elements. In the latter case, where the material is intentionally not played to its obvious strengths as a facing stone, it provides an ambient backdrop that seems to almost swirl about imperceptibly.

This mobile nature of the stone contrasts with the muted, near transparent effect of its brecciation: hues of purple, red, grey, and green vein about the warm, pale background, almost in a blur of liminal motion, where one seems to bleed into another, and where the angular forms become increasingly amorphous and difficult to trace with the eye.

Schwarzemberg Hotel, Vienna

Schwarzemberg Hotel, Vienna

Significant structures which incorporated Breccia Capraia in their construction include the former Home Savings headquarters in downtown Los Angeles in Los Angeles, and the Schwarzemberg Hotel in Vienna.

The natural stone currently on view at ABC represents only the finest rocks on earth. Procured from 6 continents, ABC has truly moved mountains across oceans to bring the finest stone on earth to the A&D community. We are honored to bring to you Breccia Capraia, quarried on the Tyrrhenian seaside of the Apuan Alps, in Tuscany.






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