Natural stone is an ancient material that is taken directly from the earth, usually quarried from the belly of towering mountains. In its raw form it is coarse and unseemly, but it is possible to refine this material, gauge it, slice it, rework it, until it becomes a beautiful, almost perfect rendition of its stony soul. At this point, it can be refined into a set of elegant drink coasters, which retain the power of their magnificent birth, while still acting in a functional and attractive light.
Different types of stone will have different properties. One of the most popular materials for the manufacture of beverage coasters is sandstone. This attractive natural material has the inherent property of being able to absorb liquid into the tiny pores in its surface. The moisture, say from a cold glass on a warm day, rests within the belly of the stone, waiting until it can evaporate away.
While sandstone is an ideal drink coaster due to this property, that same characteristic is also its downfall. That is because if a non clear liquid, a staining liquid, such as fruit juice penetrates the surface of the stone, it can discolor the material permanently, from the inside.
Slate is another popular coaster material. It also has an absorbent property, but it is slightly less absorbent than sandstone, protecting it to some extent from staining. Slate is also available in multi-colors, which can do a lot to hide staining damage from discolored liquids.
Marble is another popular natural stone coaster material. With a classic elegant history, it is highly prized in home accessories, and marble coasters are considered some of the most upscale pieces on the market.
The problem with marble is that it has a chemical reaction when exposed to anything acidic. This can include fruit and vegetable juices, as well as most cola. Marble coasters are often treated with a sealing agent to protect them somewhat, but you still have to be careful to wipe up spills as quickly as possible to prevent staining.
Natural stone coasters are a wonderful way to bring the beauty of the earth into your home in a functional and accessible way.