Granite – Dig, Cut, Kaboom!

Granite comes from the Latin root word, granum that means “grain.”  It is from igneous rock.  Wiki tells us, “Igneous rocks are rocks that have been formed from the cooling of flowing magma from a volcano or crack in the earth with lava beneath it.   Igneous may or may not form crystals in there composition, and most of the rocks are from the mantle or the lower crust.”

So, we also know that it cools slowly and when it does cool, it actually forms crystals from four key minerals; quartz, feldspar, mica and usually hornblende.  And, the composition can vary by location.  That means that in some areas of the world, other less common components can give granite a wide variation of look and color.

Colors Produced by the Main Minerals Found in Granite:

Quartz – Colors can be yellow, milky white, rose, brown to black, blue and is very well known for its purple amethyst. That certainly spans cool-to-warm on the color wheel!

Feldspar – This is one of the most abundant minerals in rocks found near the earth’s surface.  Feldspar will offer colors like; glassy white, blue, green, pink or red crystals.  Feldspars exposed to the weather end up offering potters excellent clay to mold with.

Hornblende – This wonderful mineral contains magnesium, iron, silica and aluminum.  Common colors of hornblende are black, brown and green.

Mica – Mica minerals can be clear, black, green, red, yellow, brown, purple or other colors too.

The combination of the colors from these minerals means that granite is unique from piece to piece.

Granite is quarried all over the world.  A quarry is a pit or area of excavation.  Granite is stripped from the earth either by digging, cutting or blasting processes.  After the rock is quarried and shipped (on barges when mined from other countries), it is typically put through a 4-phase process: dressing, cutting/sawing, surface grinding and polishing and finally edge-cutting-trimming before becoming a countertop.

The quality of granite comes with a high price and it also requires regular maintenance (sealing).