Varnish or seal on stone fireplace

1 Dec 2016
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United Kingdom
I've just started to renovate my new house. We have a large fireplace which currently houses an oil burning stove, and had the idea of removing the plaster and wooden surround to expose the brick. On getting rid of the plaster we were a little surprised to find a stone fireplace under there (see photos) and we're now not sure what to do with this. The stone isn't the prettiest and seems half covered with some kind of varnish and the edges are quite rough. We're going to continue to clean up the bricks with a wire brush etc and get the brickwork repointed, but I don't know how best to tackle the stone. Any suggestions are welcomed!
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