Words by Rebecca Hawkey
Our relationship with the earth is one that is understood, and respected, by Cornwall’s leading stonemasons.
It’s 2023, and our society is going through a resurgence of restraint. A rejection of instant gratification, cheap thrills and unsturdy ground. Instead, folks are once again warming to the idea of permanence, of persisting with a product, person or plan in order to build strong foundations and to know that their well-earned time and money is being spent on something that will hold on for generations to come, rather than wither and waste away in a matter of months or years. Duke Stone of Cornwall has always been a proud supporter of the latter ideology, which is why they are still Cornwall’s go-to stonemasons, a trade that has been long withstanding here in the wilds of the Duchy.
At Duke Stone of Cornwall, the team endeavours to provide clients with the opportunity to upgrade existing and new-build properties with bespoke kitchen worktops, bathrooms, flooring and more. And as the name suggests, its speciality is stone. Duke Stone is home to skilled stonemasons, and a pride and passion for the materials they work with is evident, but the core of the business lies in their fantastic customer service, providing a welcoming, informative introduction for new clients, ready and willing to take on new challenges. At Duke Stone, the team work with three different types of stone; Granite, Quartz and Sintered Stone, but what’s the difference?
Granite has long been prized for its strength, durability and somewhat attractive appearance, making it a popular choice when constructing buildings. In the 19th century, granite was a major import industry for the United Kingdom, as well as providing our own shores, thanks to our rich resources that could be found in Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland. In the Victorian era, granite was used in commercial buildings to showcase prestige and authority, and after the Second World War granite in the home became ever more popular due to the reduction of inhouse servants. Homeowners started doing their own cooking, and spending more time in the kitchen, ergo wanting to make it look and feel nicer than it had before. Granite worktops nowadays are almost a staple in most homes across the country, which is where Duke Stone comes in.
Another stone to consider is Quartz. This being one of the hardest minerals on the planet, it’s no surprise that designers and manufacturers capitalised on this and began using quartz as countertops more than 50 years ago. In the early 1960’s an Italian company by the name of Breton SpA developed a way to mould raw quartz crystals with polymer resins, an engineering process that revolutionised the countertop market to rival granite at its own game. The combination of quartz and polymers created kitchen worktops that were generally cheaper than their granite equivalent, whilst maintaining the durability, porosity and longevity found in the latter product.
Lastly, we have Sintered Stone, a relatively new product in the market of worktops. The production of sintered stone differs from that of quartz, in that it is made using all natural materials, rather than combining raw minerals with resins and plastics. Sintered stone is made from natural stone, from a variety of sources, moulded together to create incredibly strong slabs. The process is somewhat limited, due to stonemasons and manufacturers not having the tools to complete the production, but those that do, do so through sintering, which is the mixture of extreme heat and pressure to bond materials and minerals together without melting them. In the end, this creates a product that is a similar price to quartz, and better for your home and the environment thanks to the removal of unnatural resins.
Duke Stone of Cornwall supplies all three, and the team here have immense pride not only in the quality of what they do, but in their ability to meet each customer’s individual requirements, however large or small. The choosing of the material for any new project is a big choice to make, with the majority opting to choose stone, as opposed to alternative materials like wood, metal or 100% polymer, thanks to its many benefits. Each piece of stone supplied is unique, with its own quirks and imperfections as will always be the case with something crafted from the earth. Natural products like granite and quartz are one of a kind, meaning your kitchen worktop will be the only one out there with that pattern. Clients can also choose a finish that can range from high-gloss to more tactile, leathered finishes depending on the style that they are going for. Making these decisions can be tiring, but that’s why Duke Stone is on hand to help.
At Duke Stone of Cornwall, the ethos is one of meticulous, carefully considered, and beautifully crafted designs to fit your required space – nothing is ever ‘off the shelf’, and the team take great pride in bringing customers’ visions to life with a high-quality experience. With this in mind, Duke Stone understands that customers want to have some freedom of choice, and that’s exactly what they will get. The materials supplied here come in a huge range of colours, patterns and styles to suit you and your personality, and if a customer is having a tough time deciding, then the team is happy to meet and show them around the workshop, a great chance to see and feel the samples and full slabs in person.
The team at Duke Stone rise to any challenge, and do so with a level of professionalism and pure passion for what they do. The majority of their work is supply and installation, ranging from affordable quality worktops, to more high-end luxury homes and developments, but regardless of the project, Duke Stone thrives on the quality of the finish right down to the smallest of details.
Duke Stone of Cornwall enables customers to bring the beauty of Cornwall’s natural surroundings into their home. These worktops flow into a new stage of being, sourced from stone that has been around for centuries, into the homes of families to become a product of purpose, beauty and functionality. Providing a space to work, a space to dine with loved ones, a space to unwind after a long day and share stories on a surface that has stories of its own. Quite a remarkable journey, and one you can begin today by getting in touch with the team.