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Things to Know When Selecting Stone

Things to Know When Selecting Stone


Color & Texture

Limestone usually comes in a matte or honed finish in earthy tones. The standard, in-stock limestones we offer for carving generally have very little veining or color variation, allowing for nice uniform-looking stonework. Some of our special order limestones however, have less uniform coloration, and, some of the French limestones come in very vibrant colors, such as St. Martin (dark gold), Pompignan (dark olive), or our French Gray (black).

Hard and Soft Limestone: Flooring vs. Carving

If you’re looking to select a stone used for carving, any of our five standard limestones shown below (Lantenay French, Classic French, Rustic French, Indiana, and Silverdale) are an excellent choice, since they are on the softer side. However, if you’re selecting a stone for flooring, we recommend The Lantenay, as well as most of our special order French limestones, which approach the same density as marble or granite. For flooring, we do not recommend the U.S. limestones, as they are too soft for this use.

Interior vs. Exterior: Which Limestone is Best?

A select few limestones can be used both inside and outdoors in very cold climates, such as that of the Midwest. Indiana and Silverdale, as well as Lantenay French limestone are all suitable for both applications. For a full list of all of our special order stones perfect for outdoor use, please contact Atelier Jouvence. The outdoor stones that we recommend have all been tested by their quarries and certified for use in cold climates. Using a non-tested stone outdoors in these climates may result in spalling, caused by water on the stone freezing and thawing multiple times during the winter and eventually causing the stone to crack apart or flake.

French vs. Domestic Limestone

French limestones have a much more diverse range of colors, patterns, and textures than U.S. limestones. They range from elegant, smooth, very fine-grained, uniformly colored stones, to rougher-textured, multi-hued stones. All of the French limestone Atelier Jouvence uses for stone carving are top quality, without much pitting (with the exception of our Rustic French, which is intentionally rougher-textured) and color variance throughout a particular stone. The domestic stones that we use (from Indiana, Kansas, and Texas) are also very high quality, but are less diverse in color and texture.

All of our limestones, both in-stock and special order, with proper maintenance, and used in the proper application, are very durable, and, will look great indefinitely (as evidenced by the carved limestone seen on historic buildings throughout Europe).


Unlike limestone, marble is typically available in many vibrant colors. It is generally much harder than our standard in-stock carving limestones, and may easily be used for flooring. For carving, Atelier Jouvence can produce a polished, semi-polished, or honed finish, depending on whether you are hoping to achieve a newly-carved look (polished), stonework that appears to be aged or resemble an antique (honed), or something in between (semi-polished). Unlike most limestones, marble usually has very visible veining and patterning, so it is important that the carver be aware of how to select and cut the stone to allow the veining to flow as smoothly as possible throughout the assembled stonework. Atelier Jouvence has extensive knowledge of stone, and will gladly guide you through your options.

Want to learn more about stone selection and carving? Check out our Stoneworks 101 section, dedicated to helping you better understand stone-carving processes and details.