Q&A: What is bookmatching?

A: Bookmatching stone refers to matching the edges of two (or more) stone pieces to create a near mirror image.

A great example of where this is commonly used is in slab shower walls, like this one which you can also see in person in our showroom.

Bookmatch slab shower in granite by stone center inc pdx

Bookmatching can only be done with some slabs. These slabs are sold as special “bookmatched” slabs. Marble and granite is cut from the quarry first into giant blocks. These blocks are then sliced like a loaf of bread, and then they are polished and shipped around the world. Normally, the same side of the slice is polished. For bookmatched slabs, however, opposite sides are polished so that 2 polished sides are facing each other in the stone block. Open them up like the pages of a book, hence the name, and they form a mirror image of each other! Bookmatched slabs are also sometimes said to be “butterflied”, because the two slabs are mirrored like butterfly wings.

Bookmatching is generally used in larger spaces where you can appreciate the full effect. Some examples are in slab showers, kitchen islands, feature walls, and full height backsplash. When a seam is bookmatched, an object to be otherwise hidden becomes a feature. Note the bookmatched seams in this Tiger Onyx shower below. Can you find them all?

Bookmatched Slab Shower in Tiger Onyx by Stone Center Inc Portland

Creating a bookmatched installation is often more expensive because of layout restrictions. There is only one layout option to create a bookmatched effect, and it’s usually not the most efficient one. This means that there is often more marble or granite waste. Sometimes, this “waste” can be used in other areas of the room such as vanity counter tops, shower seats, backsplash, etc. A good example of this is the onyx bathroom above. We prioritized the bookmatched shower and used the remaining onyx for the vanity, sinks, back splash, and sill.

Bookmatched slabs aren’t available in all materials. And it’s not worth bookmatching many materials such as uniform granites. You’d never be able to tell! Generally only marbles and granites with linear patterns or a lot of movement are bookmatched. With such stones, this technique really shows off their natural beauty.

Give us a call at (503) 234-5361 if you’re interested in learning more or would like to integrate a bookmatched design into your project.  Have you used this technique in your home? Share pics with us below!

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