The Practice and Effects of Modifying (“Doctoring”) Natural Stone

With the ever-increasing availability of natural stone from all parts of the globe to the construction industry, as well as the home consumer, certain practices have evolved that temporarily conceal the true character of the stone. This misrepresentation is inevitably price-driven because of the pricing structure of natural stone. Some stone is more expensive than others for a variety of reasons. By temporarily modifying the aesthetic appearance of a lower-priced stone the importer or distributor stands to make a dishonest financial gain – a gain at the expense of the consumer and, in the long-term, of the industry itself.

The procedure where most of the deceptive modification to the stone is quickly revealed is in the edging. Because the edging is done by the installer and is a custom process the true colour of the granite is revealed in the edge polishing. By this stage the fabricator is already out of pocket for the slab sale, the cutting, and perhaps the installation. To limit his losses the fabricator is also likely to resort to some deceptive modification of the edge (in addition to some persuasive salesmanship) by using oils (e.g. raven) or some new-generation colour enhancers. 
Irrespective of the type or style of damage that has been done to the stone the end result is an unhappy customer who wants to take some action. But how does the consumer do this? How does a customer find out what has happened to the stone and why? And to whom does he/she direct their anger – the fabricator who installed the stone but did not advise on any problems, the distributor who “just buys the stuff”, the importer who has long forgotten what the stone was and looked like, the overseas processors who might not be aware of any consumer concerns in another country, or our legislators for allowing this deceitful and hurtful practice to continue. The end user simply does not have the product that he believed that he was getting.