Stone Quarries

Have you ever wondered where your stone countertops came from? Or why they’re so expensive? This article will explain the process in which stone is quarried, and just how much goes into the extraction!


Natural Stone quarries can be found all over the world! They reach from Brazil to India, and everywhere in between. The quarries start out as huge rock mountains. Some may be marble, some granite, others could be soapstone, limestone, quartzite, etc..


The exploration starts out by hiring geologist to take core samples of the mountain. This is done by using diamond core bits that drill deep into the earths surface. The stone is formed when magma, which resides one mile into the earth core, rises up between the cracks of the earth, then hardens and solidifies.


Once they know what kind of stone lies beneath, and they’re happy with the discovery, they apply for licenses to mine. They must have approval from local, state, and federal government in order to get these licenses. This can take anywhere from months, to a few years!


If all branches of government approve the licensing, it’s time to begin mining. But it’s not as easy as bringing in a few sticks of dynamite and a bobcat. First, the movement and veining patterns of the slabs have to be taken into consideration. The way the blocks are cut out of the mountain determine how the veining will show on the finished slab. After mapping out the initial block cuts, it’s time to really start.


The miners start by placing dynamite into large holes in the side of the mountain. This loosens the stone enough that the miners can use heavy equipment to separate the blocks. Then they use a HUGE wet cutting saw that looks like an asphalt compactor is used to cut the blocks into approximately 10 foot sections. Most blocks weigh anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 lbs.


After the blocks are cut, they’re split into slabs, this is done at a separate location. Cutting slabs out of blocks can take up to three days or more! One block can produce anywhere from 10-20 slabs depending on the size. Distributors will then work with the quarries to choose the slabs that they’d like to purchase.


After the distributors choose theirs slabs, they are sent all over the world for resale. This is where we come in! We have 5 different distributors that we have the option of ordering from. They post photos on their websites, and have hundreds of slabs to choose from at their locations. Our clients can either fly to Seattle and pick something out in person, or we can request specific pictures of a slab and order by photo. Another option is to come and look at all the slabs and remnants we have at our shop. Of course no two slabs are exactly the same, but it gives a better idea of the colors and patterns that you don’t always get from looking at a picture.

When most people think of granite, onyx, soapstone, etc. they usually envision countertops, showers, fireplaces, and floors. But there’s a new trend out there that is opening peoples minds to the possibility of using stone as and art piece.

Yes, the very same picture that hangs on your wall could be replaced with a beautiful piece of stone! I’m actually surprised we haven’t been seeing this for a long time. People always say that stone countertops are like a work of art, and with all the colors and patterns, most stone slabs really resemble some of the most famous and praised art pieces. Pictured below is a piece that’s actually named after a very famous artist, you may have heard of him, its Van Gogh (this piece is also known as Blue Louise)!

If you have large space you’re trying to fill (maybe in a stair well, behind a bed, or over a fireplace mantel) this could be the perfect solution for you! Because all stone slabs are one of a kind, you can be assured that no one will have the same piece as you.

Another option is to use book-matched slab’s to cover a wall. Below is an example of someone using a few slabs like wallpaper. This is a beautiful and original idea that could raise the value of your home tremendously!

At Standerfer Stoneworks we have the capability to order slab just like these from all over the world. If you’re interested in this, and would like to receive a free quote, please give us a call, email, or stop by anytime Monday-Friday 9-6! We would love to start this project with you.

leathered finish granite

Leathered or Brushed Granite is something that has been around for several years. It’s created when stone fabricators use diamond brushes and machinery to aggressively rub off any soft/loose minerals from the slab. This creates a semi matte finish, as well as a soft texture to the material. The photo below shows a nice comparison between gloss and leathered surfaces.
​​​​In the last two years this trend has really kicked off. You may see this trend flow throughout an entire home, or as an island with matching polished granite on the surrounding countertops. It can also be used as a full wall backsplash on top of matching polished stone to give a little contrast in texture. Another perk of this finish is that it hides dirt, fingerprints, and crumbs extremely well, the texture, and lack of polish, are a perfect camouflage for busy people, or if you just don’t have time to clean up after every smudge. Whichever way you decide to use it, we are hoping this trend is here to stay! It gives a beautiful, natural and rustic appeal to any space.