Caesarstone is a surface manufacturing company that’s so synonymous with luxury surface products, its name has become the generic term for engineered quartz countertops. Think Band-Aid, Bubble Wrap, Google, Hoover, and Formica. All are brand names that have become common nouns in the collective consciousness. When was the last time you “asked your search engine” or protected your grandmother’s precious china in a plastic sheet filled with air bubbles? Becoming a household name may be a manufacturer's dream, but when a brand name becomes so familiar that it becomes assimilated into popular culture, the product it embodies risks losing its value in the eyes of the consumer.
Counter-Fate: Below the surface of an original
The engineered quartz is manufactured using Caesarstone’s unique, patented process that combines 93% ground, natural quartz with a variety of technologically advanced polymers and pigments. Mixed together, the result is a tough, long-lasting, multi-faceted surface product that merges the qualities of natural quartz with the functionality and versatility of a manufactured material. Caesarstone surfaces are innately strong, resistant to stains, scratches, and cracks, impervious to heat and cold, and common household chemicals. It is also uncompromisingly beautiful, making it an ideal interior surface product for the home.
Engineered quartz has gained popularity as an alternative to natural stone surface products such as marble and granite, but is not necessarily the less expensive option. Engineered quartz can visually mimic granite and marble so authentically that it is not always easy to tell the difference.
Engineered and natural stone surface products are costly, used in high-end applications, with expensive budgets. This opens the door to cheaper imitations or counterfeit products, for consumers considering a low-cost, yet similar alternative. A counterfeit is typically created as an imitation of an object, often with the intention of deceiving people into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than the real thing. While “imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery,” it does not always benefit the original. Imitations can, and often free ride on the quality and reputable brand association of the original. Unscrupulous competitors, who piggyback off of successful, genericized brands, do so to the detriment of the original supplier, and the consumer.
Retailers and consumers may refer to other quartz surface products as “Caesarstone” and some might even describe these products as “just the same”, when in reality they are not. And though Caesarstone, as the original quartz surface manufacturing company, is comfortable with its status as a generic term, there is cause for concern for the unwary consumer.
For instance, in South Africa, Caesarstone is one of the only manufacturers to stand by their provided manufacturing warranty. They offer complete support for their product, providing technical teams and consultants across the country. Often, when a team arrives at a call-out involving a surface product issue – for example, chips, stains or cracks – the team will discover that the countertop is not Caesarstone quartz. Homeowners are deceived into believing they have invested in an original Caesarstone surface product, through misleading product promotion, discussion, and paperwork. When, in fact, what they have purchased is an imitation.
Imitations are customarily by their nature cheaper, and not all budgets can accommodate a Caesarstone surface product. Many consumers will look for alternatives and Caesarstone themselves agree that there is a market for affordable, reliable countertops. But the negative implications of counterfeit Caesarstone surface products have prompted Caesarstone to call for transparency from the industry. Buying cheaper in this case, may come at a cost. (Cost in terms of finance but also the knock-on effect of supporting unsustainable factories and brands, working condiions etc. perhaps include the reminder that paying more upfront is an investment that pays off in the long run – low cost ownership. You do no want to be replacing your kitchen often.)
Caesarstone encourages consumers to ask the right questions:
Where is the manufacturer located and what are the factory conditions?
How are the materials sourced and do they meet acceptable business and environmental ethics?
How are products tested? Is the product under warranty, what happens if the product is defective, what does the warranty cover, and how long does it last?
How should the consumer care for the product after installation and is post-installation support available?
Caesarstone warns consumers to ensure the authenticity of the surface product they intend to invest in. Genuine Caesarstone can be verified by checking the back of each slab, where serial numbers and “Caesarstone” are printed.
Written by Carol Chamberlain