My architect and I went to the granite shop this morning. Samantha had ordered some samples of the new floor and had cabinet color samples as well, and I knew I was looking for something considerably darker and with some dramatic banding of some sort--I want to make the countertops be the focal point of the kitchen. I expected to go straight to a slab I saw on the visit with my sister-in-law--a gneiss with dramatic banding of the mafic minerals, in an overall "gold" tint.
Surprise! The granite shop has much more turnover than I thought. No sign of the gneiss I remember, though there were some similar stones without the strong patterns I was now looking for. And then early on in our wander through the slab area, I saw a conglomerate (a rock that is a bunch of different rocks glued together by something), and commented to Samantha that I hadn't seen anything like that on the first trip. But we went on, looking for the gneiss.
And toward the back I spotted another conglomerate, and fell in love with it. It's called Black Amazon with Gold: I have a sinking suspicion that it doesn't meet my criteria of "tough, unlikely to need re-sealing", that it will probably be a bitch for the fabricator to work with, and that it might be prone to breakage. But I love it--this will be the dramatic "geologist's countertop" I want. Samantha will call a fabricator she has worked with to see if he's familiar with the stone and can tell her something about how it works and wears, but I'm not sure I care about the answers. We've put a temporary hold on 3 slabs, and she'll call me in Maine after talking to the fabricator so I can decide if I want a permanent hold.