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

Veining (Natural Stone Countertops)

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/5/2021

Euro Marble
Euro Marble

A big part of renovating a kitchen is selecting a countertop that not only elevates the overall design but also stays within your budget. 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 you’re selecting a slab of stone is the way the veining looks and how it will determine the overall design of your room.


Veining is a term that typically refers to the visible snaky lines that appear on natural stone surfaces, such as marble or slate kitchen countertops. These lines are formed when different sediment deposits settle and harden into the cracks of stone. They often appear darker than the stone around it, although each is unique in its composition with many variations and colors available. After the stone is cut into slabs, the exposed “veins” become an important characteristic of the final appearance. The way the stone is cut, either a cross cut or a vein cut, also dramatically affects the overall look of the veining on the surface.

What’s The difference Between Cross Cut And Vein Cut?

One of the most important factors that determines the veining pattern on natural stone surfaces is the “cut”. There are two types of cuts, the cross cut (aka the riff cut) and the vein cut, and each results in a very different type of look and feel. Here are a couple of tips to help you choose the cut that works best for you:

  • 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 crystals.
  • 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.
  • Choosing a cut really comes down to personal preference, as there’s very little, if any, difference in the overall quality ~ they come from the same stone. However, cross cuts typically produce a softer, cloudier feeling and vein cuts tend to be more defined and attract attention.