dark grey veining running through a piece of white marble stone countertop

Veining (Natural Stone Countertops)

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/22/2021

If you’ve ever looked at new kitchen countertops, you probably know that installing natural stone can be a costly option. However, it’s an option that many people choose for both its strength and appearance. One factor you may want to consider when selecting a slab of stone is the appearance of the veining and how it will determine the final look of your room.


Veining is a term that typically refers to the snaky lines that run through natural stone, such as marble and slate. These lines are formed when different deposits settle and harden into the cracks of the stone. After the stone is cut into slabs, the exposed “veins” become an important characteristic of the final appearance, especially when used for surfaces such as kitchen countertops. The way a stone is cut has a major impact on the appearance of the veining.

Cross Cut vs Vein Cut: What’s The difference?

Probably, one of the most important factors in determining the appearance of the veining pattern in stone is the “cut”. There are two types of cuts, the cross cut and the vein cut, and each results in a very different pattern:

  • A cross cut occurs when the stone is cut vertically to the vein, creating layers of veining rather than long continuous lines. This type of cut typically produces a more floral, spotty pattern with layers of colors and crystal.
  • A vein cut occurs when the stone is cut horizontally to the vein, creating long snaky lines that run along the surface of the stone. This type of cut is the most widely used for tiles and surfaces in the home.