Smooth, glossy, highly reflective surface, where the fossil traces may be clearly seen. The abundant large calcite grains often give an apparent depth to this finish in the Irish Blue Limestone. The sharp contrast between white bivalve shells and the dark matrix in the “shell” beds and the patterns resulting from the different ways the shell may be cut, can make those beds particularly attractive for polished finishes.
Dark, blue-grey but may exhibit subtle tone variations depending on the area of the quarry from which the stone was extracted. Fossil debris, particularly crinoids, forms a contrasting paler mottling on the surface. Some quarries have certain beds that, when honed, give a black colour other quarries yield a blue colour when honed. Certain “shell” beds give a black matrix with strongly contrasting white fossils.
Apart from some monumental and sculpture applications, honed finishes are not used for external applications as acid rain, which is now endemic in industrialized countries, will cause surface degradation. The finish is suitable for internal cladding, steps, sills, skirting, and floor tiles. It is also used in kitchen countertops, tops for vanity units, fireplace surrounds, mantles and hearthstones and tabletops.