Granite is an igneous rock composed mainly of quartz and feldspar formed million of years ago from lava flow. Found deeply within the earth’s surface, granite is quarried for both residential and commercial buildings, counter-tops, vanity-tops, flooring and fireplace surrounds. Granite is the third hardest substance on the MOHS Scale of Hardness (only diamond, topaz, rubies and sapphires are harder than granite); therefore it is both heat and scratch resistant. To help prevent stains, most fabricators apply a safe sealer upon installation; however, if spills are cleaned up in a reasonable period of time, even without a sealer, granite generally does not stain.
Granite is first cut out of the earth in blocks usually the size of railroad cars. Then it is sliced in 2-3 cm thick slabs for counter-tops and other indoor use. Various minerals and crystals found in the area determine color and pattern flow. Some slabs such as Juperana Golden are referred to as “Movement Stones” because the pattern seems to move or flow across the slab. Thus each counter-top will be different depending on how the crystal patterns change from one end of the slab to the other.
Granites such as Verde Butterfly or Blue Pearl have a fairly consistent pattern. Their crystals, rather than moving along the vein, tend to form a more uniform or consistent pattern from block to block and therefore from slab to slab. However, even in these relatively similar granites, each slab is a unique work of art to be treasured and enjoyed for years to come.
Although granite is found in the United States, the most popular granites for indoor use are imported from Europe, South America, China and Canada. Exporters, prior to shipment to the United States, initially polish granite slabs. Granite that is properly cared for will last for generations adding to the value and beauty of your home or business.
By Ann-Marie Rosavage, Ph.D. Special thanks to Marco Izzi owner of Marble Point, in Raleigh, NC for his professional input.