Set In Stone: Experts in Identifying Stone
With nearly two decades of experience working closely with clients to create bespoke projects in stone, the Maiden Stone team has a unique competitive advantage.
Ask Maiden Stone’s Founder and President Sandra Jonas Desguin to describe what truly sets the company apart from others and she’ll tell you, “We are experts in identifying stone.” And it’s true. With nearly two decades of experience working closely with clients to create bespoke projects in stone, the Maiden Stone team has a unique competitive advantage. It’s through the multitude of projects they’ve worked on, and their ability to listen and learn through each experience, that has made them become true experts in stone.
“Rarely does a stone come in that we’re unable to identify. We’ve seen a lot and worked with a lot of different stones,” says Hal McCullough, Maiden Stone’s Sales & Project Manager. “We can typically identify the origin of the stone right down to the quarry it came from.” And in the rare instances when the team is unable to identify the stone, they turn to their vast network of knowledgeable industry experts who are able to offer additional insight.
Knowing a stone means going beyond a 12 x 12 sample. In its full format, stone often has more variables and intricacies at play. In other words, one cannot infer all there is to learn about a stone by simply looking at a small sample, which is why it’s important to look at all the elements of the stone as it relates to its particular application.
“The stakes are pretty high in stone. It takes a lot to get the stone out of the ground and into your home in whatever application it's going to be used,” explains McCullough.
“There’s a lot that goes into the process and you want every step to be carefully reviewed.”
Maiden Stone’s expertise in stone is also credited to the fact that they handle a lot of special requests, which requires the team to have an expert lens on how each stone will respond to various applications. It’s through these unique requests that the team is able to expand their breadth of knowledge in the space and challenge themselves to take on new ideas with ease. Many of the designers Maiden Stone works with like to push the envelope with stone, leveraging technology and new techniques to create innovative designs in stone. Even though stone is not a high-tech material, you can do high-tech things to it, which is exactly how many of today’s top designers approach modern stonework.
“We’re willing to explore all options and possibilities with our clients,” says McCullough. “Or, as we like to say, realize dreams in stone.”
For Maiden Stone, no project is too abstract. The team collaborates with each client to creatively develop ways to bring some of the most unique ideas in stone to life.
When it comes to choosing the right stone to work with, Maiden Stone’s team meticulously researches it to ensure it’s the right material for the project, especially if it’s a stone they may not be as familiar with. Learning, collaborating, and listening to both clients and our partner factories are all key components that contribute to the team's expertise.
Working with any new stone is challenging, even if Maiden Stone’s team is comprised of experts in identifying them. When a client requests that a stone be matched, it requires a lot of due diligence to ensure it is appropriate for the desired application. Maiden Stone’s team works hard to learn as much as possible about any given stone before they commit to working with it. As McCullough explains, there’s a lot more to stone than meets the eye.
"You can like a stone but you need to make sure there’s a whole support system behind it: it has to have good quarrying (extraction), good fabrication (like good quality control), crating, and so forth. You can’t have a weak point on that continuum or you’re going to have issues.”
Maiden Stone’s team thoroughly assesses each new stone before they decide to work with it.
“We have a rule that before we dive into a new material, we vet the factory,” says McCullough. “We make sure that we know as much about the stone as possible and we ask a ton of questions.”
As Maiden Stone’s team likes to say, when it comes to fully examining a new stone, they leave no stone unturned.