Introduction to Architectural Keystones

When choosing architectural stone elements for your home’s design, there are certain things you may be familiar with and others you may not.  Most people know what a stone column is, but do you know what a keystone is?  A keystone is typically a wedge-shaped piece of stone that is used as the topmost stone in a stone arch.  Design Sponge explains what a keystone is, “In architecture, when building a stone arch, one uses blocks called voussoirs. Each voussoir is precisely cut so that it presses against the surface of its neighboring blocks. The keystone is that wedge-shaped stone placed at the apex of an arch. It’s the final piece placed during construction and it is literally the key that locks all the other stones in place and allows the arch to bear weight. Curiously, it’s actually the stone that takes the least stress of any of the other voussoirs. In the 16th century, Mannerist architects liked to play with the position and size of the keystone, creating a feature by enlarging it or dropping it down slightly.”  The keystone is an architectural element that has been around since ancient civilizations and is something that is still used today.

Keystones are made of natural stone and are carved into beautiful designs to not just serve an architectural purpose, but an aesthetic one as well.  Natural stone keystones come in a variety of stone types and colors and add beauty and originality to any arch design. Natural stone was used in many of the centuries-old structures that are still standing today which is why natural stone still makes a great choice – it is exceptionally durable.  Not only are keystones used in archways but also in the top of some fireplace designs for structural support.  When it all comes down to it, cast stone simply does not have the same strength as natural stone.  It can handle a high amount of compression weight and will provide the strength and durability that you want in your architecture.  If you are renovating your home or simply adding natural stone archways or elements to your home, do not forget to add a beautiful natural stone keystone to ensure durability, strength and architectural integrity.  At Architectural Stone Elements, we have a wide selection of keystone design options and can work with you to create a custom design that adds originality and beauty to your home.