Design Trend: Semiprecious Stones
June 1, 2019
Text by Kaitlin Madden
North Shore stone fabricator Cumar creates fabulous––and functional––statement surfaces from semiprecious stones, the latest home design trend.
Statement jewelry has always been a go-to accessory to add pop and polish to an outfit, and now the ideas is being translated into home decor.
“Semiprecious stones are being utilized in a totally different way,” says Carlotta Cubi, executive vice president of Cumar, a natural stone fabricator and showroom in Everett, Mass. “Stones like amethyst that were once reserved for jewelry are now being used for architectural and interiors finishes.”
Cubi says over the last ten years, the trend––and the type of stone crossing the boundary from fashion to function––has grown immensely.
“We actually were one of the first fabricators to carry semiprecious stones more than 15 years ago, and there were only four or five options,” Cubi says. “The supplier we worked with was one of the very first in the world to start producing these kinds of stones. Now our Linea Couture collection, which is made up of semiprecious stones, has about 20 options.”
While many of the stones are strong enough to be used in high-function spots like the kitchen or bathroom, Cubi says most of Cumar’s clients use semiprecious stones just like one would in a wardrobe: to make a statement. “These materials and products give designers and homeowners the functionality and wear and tear needed for something like a wet bar or vanity, but also the exotic element they’re looking for. Plus, some of the stones are translucent, so you can do a lot with lighting to make it even more one of a kind.”
So how are designers making a statement with semiprecious stone? Cubi shares five of her favorite applications.
Wild Agate Light
In the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston, Cumar worked with builder The Lagasse Group on a stunning wild agate bar. “The natural agates are so beautiful,” says Cubi. “Some of the natural tones and blue hues that are in them are striking, and when they’re backlit they can completely transform each time you turn on the light.”
Amethyst Wet Bar
For a collaboration with designer Paula Daher of Daher Interior Design in Boston, the Cumar team fashioned a wet bar made of amethyst. “The amethyst is one of the most exotic options because of its purple color. It also makes quite an impact because there’s a lot of movement in the stones,” Cubi explains.
“The design team behind this piece, Beth Martell and Enda Donagher out of New York City, brought in a famous lighting designer, Barbara Bouyea, to create the backlit effect,” says Cubi. The vanity, made of classic quartz, takes on a pearlized quality when illuminated.
Woodmeister Master Builders concepted this petrified-wood fireplace surround as a focal point for a modern Boston-area home, adding texture, movement, and an element of the unexpected to the streamlined space.
Tiger Eye Gold
For the luxe Battery Wharf Hotel, the Cumar team crafted a bar top made of Tiger Eye Gold. “We’ve done a lot of public spaces, which is a testament to how functional these stones can be,” Cubi says.
Cumar’s Linea Couture collection is available through their Everett, Mass., showroom.