History of Granite and Marble
History of Granite and Marble
Natural stones are rock formations formed by nature. These stones are formed naturally by enormous pressure under the earth. Natural stones were used in decorating and sculpturing right from the moment civilization was born. These natural stones are time tested for their natural beauty. Ancient buildings and monuments made of natural stones during early civilizations still stand erect narrating the beauty and durability of natural stones.
Modern people want to make their home stand out of the rest and they used natural stones for their floors and walls to bring about eternal beauty.
Granite and marble are two main natural stones widely used in the stone industry. These stones are used in constructions as well as in monumental sculpture. Commercially, these stones are mined for use as architectural stones for flooring, cladding, curbing, counter tops and much more to be used at home.
Granite is a widely occurring igneous rock. The texture of granite is generally medium to coarse grains. Porphyritic texture is very common in granite rocks. Various colors of granite stones are widely available and most of the times, granite is available as a massive rock. The beauty of granite is attributed to the deposits like quartz, feldspar, and mica. Consistent granite has same pattern throughout the stone. Variegated granite has various veins forming different patterns that are not easy to match.
It was the ancient Egyptians who quarried granite exclusively for use in various constructions. Most of their monuments were built using granite and limestone. The only remaining ancient wonder, The Great Pyramid of Cheops was built using limestone. The famous Pharaoh which is a symbol of outstanding Egyptian civilization was built with granite blocks. The Egyptians had marvelous sculpting skills and the granite blocks of Pharaoh were sewn in a perfect manner that you can’t slide even a piece of paper between the rocks.
Pure white marble is a metamorphic rock of very pure limestone. Marble is found extensively in various countries like Belgium, France, Great Britain, Greece, India, Spain and Italy. From classical times, pure white marble was considered as the best of its kind. In the beginning, only white marble was considered worthy and colored marble was considered impure. However, this belief was just short-lived because very soon, ancient civilizations appreciated colored marbles too and used colored marbles in various monuments and sculptures even though pure white marble is always regarded high. Freshly quarried marble is easy to sculpture and the stone hardens as it ages.
Ancient Greeks were very much advanced in civilization and they were really fascinated about marble. Finest architecture and sculpting are specialties of Greek architecture and marble has been used in various Greek buildings. Exquisite statues with detailed carvings were made out of marble. Buildings built using Marble lasted for several ages. The Parthenon which was built in 441-437 BC is considered as a symbol of ancient Greek civilization and this scintillating building was built using Pentelicon marble.
The Greek empire extensively used marbles in their constructions. Temple of Artemis is one of the ancient wonders of the world and it consists of 127 marble columns each of which is 5 stories tall. It was the first grand structure made using marble. The magnificent construction was destroyed by various civilizations that took over Greece, but you can still find foundation and a few columns of the wondrous marbles.
When natural stones were widely used in constructing monuments and temples, it was the Greek empire that brought marble to personal use. References to baths and pools lined with marble can be seen in ancient literature. Thassos marble was widely used in bathrooms and this type of marble is still quarried today for commercial uses. Building constructions using marble was popular in India too and the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World was constructed using pure white marble stones.
After the Egyptian and Greek civilizations made some wonders with natural stones of granite and marble, the Roman Empire decided to try its hands on both granite and marble. Many of the roads of the Roman Empire were built using granite. Public baths became popular in Rome and these baths were made of granite. Pantheon in Rome used granite stones for columns and you can see these columns standing tall even today.
Romans loved granite and marble for different reasons. They used granite extensively for constructions because the stone is highly durable and strong. Marble was mainly used for aesthetic reasons because Romans believed marble to be the most beautiful stone. Construction pattern of Egyptians and Greek was different from Romans. While the former civilizations used massive granite and marble stones to build constructions, Romans used bricks and mortar for buildings and then, lined them with marble and granite slabs. It is because of this reason that Romans were able to build marble cities in a short duration.
The renaissance period is a golden period for all types of artwork. Artists and sculptors were interested in using natural stones for their artwork. Quarrying methods were improved by the time and technical use was invented. Innovative and novel users of natural stones increased during the renaissance period. Famous Michelangelo made several beautiful sculptures out of marble. Ornate decorations made using marble and granite were used in decorating churches, temples and other buildings of magnificent nature. Meanwhile, natural stones were carved into decorative pieces for use at home.
It was only during modern times that natural stones were brought close to mankind. Quarrying techniques were improved greatly and there was no need for men to die in quarries dealing with dynamites. Innovative technologies were used in mining natural stones. Also, the world started thinking about eco friendly materials to be used to construct homes. Architects and designers were overly enthusiastic about natural stones that were used in building monuments. In the last decade, people preferred to use more durable, yet stylish materials for constructing homes.
Marble and granite are available in various patterns and colors and it was not easy to find the same pattern of stones. This uniqueness of natural stones made people want for more use of natural stones. In the ancient periods, marble and granite were used for lining and decoration. People trusted durable stones and lay flooring using granite and marble. Apart from their baths, living room, bed room and other rooms in the home had natural stone flooring.
Even though natural stones add exquisite beauty to the home, they are highly porous in nature. Harsh substances can easily damage these natural stones. However, thanks to latest technologies, that it is possible to add more strength to the stones and seal the porous nature so that these stones can be used extensively at homes. It was only during the last few years that countertops made of marble and granite became popular.
Natural and exquisite stones which were only used by kings and emperors are now available for a common man because floor tiles made of natural stones are much more affordable now. Consumers must be very cautious while buying floor tiles and countertops made of marble and granite because natural stones are now made synthetically too. If you prefer aesthetic beauty for your stylish family, always ensure that you buy natural stones that were widely preferred by aristocrats of the past.