What is quartz? A Borat-style guide to the brands

Borat is to comedy as Marmite is to toast – a love or hate reaction is pretty normal. I am a fan, although occasionally the cringe factor beats even me. But there is one outtake from the first Borat film which creases me up every time – the “Is this cheese?” segment. The sheer repetitiveness, and the saintly patience of the store manager, make it gentler and funnier than some of Sacha Baron Cohen’s more brutal gags.

What is quartz? Is this quartz? Why the confusion?

Is this quartz? The first reason why people ask the question is that (possibly unlike American processed, plastic packaged cheese) engineered stones do look very different. Every day, almost without fail, a customer will ask, having seen a bunch of samples, “So which ones of these are quartz?” or just, “Are these all quartz?” They are amazed when assured that they are. Generally, if a visitor is looking for lighter-coloured materials, we will show them quartz and only quartz – but that question still comes.


Each of these three materials would be sold as quartz. Each has around 7-8% polymer resin binding a mix of natural quartzite, silica with sometimes other hard materials like glass or silvered-mirror. But it’s no surprise that people don’t naturally spot that they are all varieties of the same thing.

Classic Quartz Stone Calacatta Vegle Andrew King Photography 123942 a 1920 web

Classic Quartz Calacatta Vegle

Gris Stellar

Silestone Gris Stellar

Cambria Skye CA191108 36922 140041a

Cambria Skye

What is quartz? Is this quartz? Avoiding calling it quartz

When visitors come in to our showroom they see racks of samples, each under a different name. Silestone, Caesarstone, Radianz, Lumina Stone, Unistone and so on. Not one of the racks (except for our own, in-stock materials) is marked up as “quartz”. No wonder it’s confusing.

Add in to that the fact that some of the big manufacturers carefully avoid calling their materials “quartz”: Silestone is Silestone, Caesarstone is Caesarstone etc.. The videos, brochures, adverts and reps will not use the word “quartz” to refer to their products. This is because they want the public to see their product as unique, not as just one brand of a widely available commodity.

But that really is what they are. Those labels on the sample racks are brand names – company names in most cases – but the products are all made the same way, and the majority are made on identical machinery – made by one manufacturer, Breton. Products made using the same method on identical machines may be given a unique brand name – but don’t be fooled – the generic commodity is the same, and the popular name for it is quartz.

quartz brands that use Breton machinery

Quartz brands that use Breton machinery

brands quartz

That is not to say that there is no difference between brands. The quality of the ingredients that are fed into the Breton machines varies, as does surface finish and other specific special techniques. The biggest brands are often the best when it comes to ethically-sourced raw materials and maximised use of recycling – both for raw materials and process water.  For the differences between brands and their typical pricing, do see our blog from 2019 here. And for the basic nuts and bolts of what quartz is, please see our main article here. Just be clear that those brand names do not turn the basic product into something totally different. Silestone, Unistone, Cimstone – all quartz.

What is quartz? Is this quartz? Finding the right quartz for your kitchen worktops

Whether or not US supermarkets really need the apparent variety of all those “different” packets of processed cheese, we are glad to work with a wide range of quartz manufacturers in order to find the right quartz worktops for you. Some of the big boys would like to pin us down to only selling their brand; we have always refused. Given the variety of looks available in the quartz worktop marketplace, and the variety of styles and visions for their kitchens that our customers have, we need all the options we can get!


We hope that many years of experience advising on, selling, manufacturing and installing quartz worktops mark us out as a company that cares about getting it right, and helping you to get it right in your kitchen.

Quarella Blanco Paloma Lingfield Surrey 050820 141007 (1) b

Mrs Davidson with her Quarella Blanco Paloma worktops in Lingfield, Surrey

There is a world of choice out there! We are Affordable Granite, the leading granite and quartz worktop supplier in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. We are here to help guide you through the vast range of available materials and help you to realise your vision for your home. Call us for a quotation on 01293 863992 or by email on sales@affordablegranite.co.uk.

Leave a Reply