Argentina Onyx Quarry Yields a Range of Products
January 7, 2009
Already known as one of the well-established stone suppliers in Brazil, Itaarte Industria e Comércio de Mármores e Granitos Ltda. of Sao Paulo, has expanded its product line with the acquisition of an onyx quarry in the Andes Mountains of Argentina. The quarry yields stone in shades of blue, caramel, brown and white, and the onyx is processed into a wide variety of finished products.
Itaarte’s joint-venture partnership in the quarry allows the company the control and commercialization of the site’s production for 100 years. The quarry is located in the Cordilheira dos Andes of Argentina, and it sits high atop the mountains at an altitude of more than 17,000 feet. Despite the challenges of working at this altitude, the quarry has been successful in yielding several shades of material, and it has been making solid inroads within the architecture and design community.
The onyx is available in blocks, slabs and mosaics, with natural and backlit finishes. It has also been used for decorative furnishings such as bowls, sinks and illuminated tabletops.
“With the acquisition of its own onyx quarry, Itaarte comes to be one of the principal suppliers of this semi-precious stone,” explained Silvia De Tommaso, Managing Director of Itaarte. “Each new proposal for design applications - mosaics, tables, ornaments or sink bowls, among others - gains a new refinement due to the natural translucence of this material, which has the color and the spirit of the Andes.
“The sophistication and beauty of onyx are due to the diverse coloring of this stone, which is available in the tones of Blanco Andino (white), Caramelo Vicunha (caramel), Azul Laguna (blue) and Marrom Nubes (brown),” De Tommaso continued. “They are exclusive tones in Brazil.”
Architectural UsesIn examples of the onyx’s popularity among architects and designers, Itaarte reports that the stone was used for a range of high-profile applications, including commercial projects such as corporate reception areas as well as residential applications and furnishings.
Among the completed commercial projects, Itaarte pointed out that slabs of Caramelo Vicunha onyx were used in a backlit format for a trendy reception area. The design, which was conceived by the prestigious firm of Garage Arquitetura & Design of Sao Paulo, Brazil, intended to be “modern and welcoming,” and the onyx helped achieve the firm’s design goals.
In a residential work, architect Fábio Morozini of Sao Paulo used this same material in a mosaic form to create a unique and innovative barbecue setting.