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Stone Processing

To choose the right stone for you, it helps to have some working knowledge of its origins, how it was wrought from the earth, and its processing into the finished product. Typically, a general overview of your product curtails future problems with your project.


Historical Significance

Stone has been the medium of choice for the edification of man from time immemorial; indeed, many ancient cultures immortalized their gods with stone temples and tombs. In fact, archaeological evidence exemplifies the structural durability and beauty of stone. Marbles used by the Emperor Hadrian to construct his enormous villa near Rome, and those used in the Parthenon in Athens are still quarried to this day. Yet in those bygone days stone masons did not have the advantage of the specialized quarrying and cutting machinery we have today.

The removal of blocks from quarries was an arduous and labor-intensive process, and the task of cutting stone into usable dimensions and installing it was no less daunting. Ample evidence exists of how these ancient craftsmen were able to erect megalithic stone structures, which paved the way for modern advancements.

Statue Garden

 

In Modern Times

The demand for natural architectural stone has increased so radically within the last twenty years that quarrying has become a major industry for many countries around the world. And whereas previously some of these countries sent raw blocks to Italy for fabrication into marketable precut units, most now have installed machinery to handle their own lines of production.

Brazil, for example, is now one of the world's largest suppliers of granite, exporting both slab and precut tile material prepared in local manufacturing plants. Despite this, Italy still presides as the largest exporter of stone, and is arguably the most prodigious supplier of stone technology.


Stone Processing Today

Most architectural stone today is quarried from mountainsides or hillsides, open pit mines, or from "galleries" - great caverns within the heart of mountains. The methods used are typically the same for each quarrying condition. The object is to ascertain the best material (judged in purity and fracture) and to remove it in blocks large enough to yield slabs of a functional size for commercial use, or for cut-to-size tile lines. The demand for the latter differs from market to market, but the North American consumer requires predominantly square units in 12, 16, 18, or 24 inch material. Typically they are 20mm (3/4 inch) in thickness, and 4-7ft tall by 8-11ft in length.