‘My landscaper has sent me to you to buy some Indian stone for my new patio’
The choices available in response to that question can be overwhelming in some cases. Many people are not aware how broad the range is in what is called Indian Stone.
Stones available from India
India is a massive country with a diverse geology. Therefore it is possible to source Sandstone, Limestone, Slate and Granite from there. The quarries in the various regions all have their specialities of colour depending on which part of the geological seam they are excavating.
Furthermore, these different types and colours of stone can be cut and worked to create different formats and textures. They can be made suitable for every kind of landscaping scheme, whether traditional or contemporary.
So when a customer asks for Indian stone, it is first necessary to decide which kind of stone they want: Sandstone, Slate, Limestone or Granite
How to choose the right stone for your project
As a customer there are a number of things to consider before you make that first choice:
Where do you wish to use the stone?
How do you intend to use the area?
How much traffic the area will receive?
Plus other considerations that can be discussed with your stone supplier.
After the type of stone has been selected,
What colour Indian stone are you looking for?
This may be dictated by what colour, age, and style of building you are placing the stone next to.
Aspects of stone selection based on design will be discussed in future blogs (watch this space)
The colour selection available is huge. Most colours are achievable if you ask a stone specialist who knows where to go and source your required colour from.
Benefits of using an experienced stone seller
At this point we would like to advise, buyer beware! Not all Indian stone sellers are the same!
A lot of businesses in the UK that are selling stone paving & flooring are simply commodity sellers. They are moving stock out as fast and cheaply as possible, without knowing much about the product they are selling. There are a few companies that understand the geology of the stones they sell, the regions that produce the different types and colours, & where to find the better quarries or producers to deal with, to ensure reliable sources of better quality product.
The more knowledgeable companies will be able to help you source better quality stone. They will also know where to source more unusual stones from all around the world and the UK. They will have relationships with businesses that can fulfil requests when you are searching for something a little bit different.
Once you’ve selected your chosen stone, based on samples you have been shown, it’s reasonable to expect your order will reflect what you have already viewed.
Unfortunately, a common statement that is bandied about by the commodity sellers of Indian stone in the stone business is:
‘Stone is a natural product and colours may change’
This covers them when customers challenge them about the colour of the stone supplied against the sample they initially saw. Businesses that are chasing the bottom line, i.e. the cheapest price can only do this by changing their supplier from month to month as they chase the lowest prices available. This will result in their supplies coming from different quarries, or being made up from slabs that have been sorted and rejected based on colour.
What you can expect from a responsible stone seller
When you buy your Indian stone from one of the more trusted businesses, then you will find that the colour of their stone supply is reliably set within a permitted range that they have specified with their trusted suppliers in India. These businesses have paid extra for their stone, requesting that the quarry sorts the stones to reduce variation in colour, improving the overall look. In turn the consumer will have to expect to pay slightly more for this better stone.
A good example of this is seen in Fossil Mint Sandstone.
The natural variation range in this stone has many tones from orange through to yellow to white. When laid in random selection this stone can look like a patchwork quilt of warm tones.
At Stoneworld we pay extra to our quarry to have a range of stones sorted that we can sell as White Mint & Yellow Mint, excluding all other tones from these 2 special selections.
A side note here on the perception of the origin of stone.
Many stone sellers importing Indian stone, rename it for the UK marketplace. We have come across examples of renaming, such as Cotswold Mint, or Georgian Grey, which suggests the stone may originate from our shores. These two examples are actually renamed fossil mint and Kandla Grey. There’s nothing really wrong with this renaming so long as everyone knows the true origin of the stone. Remember though, that this is a marketing exercise, and if the origin of the stone matters to you, research before buying. Better stone sellers can offer a full range of both imported stone, and UK quarried stone to fulfil customers’ desire if they wish to reduce their carbon footprint.
What is the true colour of Raj Green Indian Sandstone meant to be?
Another good example regarding the colour of stone is Raj Green Indian sandstone.
The true colour of Raj Green is a combination of khaki greens and browns. There should be no greys, reds or pinks in the mix.
However, you will see cheaper versions of Raj available to buy, called Raj Blend. This will have some green and brown, but also every other colour that the quarry brought out of the seam. Unfortunately, the cheaper the price you pay, the more undesirable colours will be in the blend. Some unscrupulous sellers will pack a single true Raj Green slab at each end of a crate of 30 slabs. This trick masks the fact that every other slab between them will be pink or grey toned. These colours should not be described as Raj Green at all.
We have also seen unscrupulous, or unknowing, stone sellers, using the Raj name on stones that bear absolutely no likeness to Raj Green sandstone. Just by using Raj in their keywords on Google gets them seen, and the customer may buy having landed on their page. This is totally up to the customer- if the product is what they are looking for, go ahead, but again be aware of what you are buying.
The many colours of Indian Sandstone are known as Mint, Fossil Mint, Raj Green, Raj Blend, Buff, Cathedral, Camel Dust, Kandla Grey, Modak, Golden Brown, Mellow Yellow, Golden Leaf, Black Sandstone, plus many more.
Sorted into their separate colour bands, they create a beautiful range of sandstones from which to select. However, when the price is reduced, & accepted colour palettes widen and the colours become mixed, the result is an ugly miss matched muddle of unsorted stone!
We advise you to buy your Indian sandstone from a reputable stone seller
At responsible stone specialist businesses high standards are adhered to & colour palette specifications are strictly controlled. This is achieved by seeking out responsible quarries who reliably supply stone to set specifications laid down by their customers. This cannot be achieved if suppliers are constantly changing looking for a cheaper deal.
At a reliable and committed stone business Raj Green bought today will still be the same colour range as any bought years ago.
As you have read, there are many different Indian Stones to choose from, and many variations in quality depending where you purchase your stone from. We recommend that you speak to your stone specialist to get the best advice.
We hope this article has helped you understand what options you have before deciding on your new patio stone.