The Inventor Who Gave Us Quartz Countertops

Quartz Counters

Quartz countertops.  They’re beautiful.  They’re durable.  They’re wildly popular.  And it took a determined inventor for us to enjoy them. Why? 

Marcello Toncelli

Though quartz is one of the most common minerals on earth - and one of the hardest - quartz occurs in rocks rather than slabs, and rocks are not viable for countertops. That didn't deter Marcello Toncelli who was determined to develop technology that could turn rocks into slabs. 

In 1963, Toncelli established a company in the Italian village of Castello di Godego, about an hour northwest of Venice. Years of research and experimentation followed. 

By the early 1970's Toncelli had succeeded in developing a process that mixed crushed stone with a resin that was poured into forms and could be mass produced in the same color with the touch of a button. And - voila! "Quartz" countertops, as they quickly became known, were born, though they are technically "engineered stone" because they are manmade. 

In 1975, Toncelli patented the manufacturing technology under the name Bretonstone, and quartz counters became popular in Italy. Their popularity soon spread throughout Europe, but it wasn't until the early 2000's that Americans began to embrace them. 

Today, Toncelli's company - Breton - has given a license to more than 50 companies around the world to produce their own designs and colors, and they use the same technology that Toncelli patented several decades ago. 

And produce they have! There is a dizzying array of breathtaking colors and patterns from which to choose. And besides beauty, quartz countertops are extremely durable and easy to clean and maintain. 

Marcello Toncelli continued to drive his company to develop innovative technologies for other sectors until his death in 2003. His company then passed to his two sons and it continues to thrive and grow. But it all started with his dream of turning rocks into countertops. 

- Betsy de Parry, VP, Sales and Marketing