Made from one of the hardest minerals on earth, quartz countertops are arguably the most durable option for kitchens. They're also among the most attractive. They come in a wide variety of colors, including fire-engine red and apple green, as well as earthy browns, blacks, and creams, with sparkles and veining for the look of granite or marble. But unlike natural-stone slabs, which are mined, these slabs are engineered in a factory to precise specifications. Their primary ingredient (94%) is ground quartz, combined with polyester resins to bind it and pigments to give it color.
For years, the biggest complaint about quartz was that it lacked the patterns and color variations you get with natural stone. Technology has changed things, though, and nearly all manufacturers are now offering multi-hued slabs with enough flecks, swirls, and random patterning to make quartz almost indistinguishable from the real thing. They were once available only with a polished finish; now you can get one with a honed, sandblasted, or embossed treatment.