Will this be an exterior or interior fireplace?
Interior. There is an existing fireplace and the previous exterior has been removed. What's left is the cinderblock and the existing firebox.
Without possibly requiring restructuring for a major increase in the weight load of using hand shaped natural stone, you will probably have to use a veneer. You probably already know this, but the veneer stone will be ~1-2" in thickness whereas full stone veneer will be ~6 inches. This is a drastic change in the weight of the structure.
Since you are in the Atlanta area, I would recommend visiting the Stone Center of Georgia. They have 2 Atlanta locations, one in Roswell and one in Tucker/Lilburn. http://www.thestonecenter.com/georgia/
I would highly recommend that you use a natural stone veneer that is saw-cut and stay away from the manmade stones. I know there are many options of the manmade types, but they are all obviously man-made looking to anyone that is familiar with the materials.
The Stone Center has displays showing the different options and you can select the one that you like best. Then there are some options as to how they are installed, whether you like the dry-stacked look where the mortar is mostly unseen, or if you like a mortared joint.
Hope this helps.
Thanks, ST, LLC! Just the info I was looking for.
Costco sells stone veneer
Thanks, Maureen. I'll check that out, too.
Southern Trillium, the Stone Center was great. I think their product looks much nicer than the stack stone "tiles" that I've seen. Thanks so much for that suggestion. Guess price will prevail.
Glad to know they were able to help in the search. Good luck on your project.
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