What is Granite?
From the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, to the world famous Ailsa Craig curling stones from Scotland, man has proved the dependability of granite since antiquity.
As a course textured rock in which the grains are visible to the naked eye, granite is a form of igneous rock (from the Latin ignis, meaning fire), and is formed under extreme conditions brought about by a change in activity at the earth’s crust. Such activity may result in a combination of intense heat, a change in the composition of magma, or a decrease in pressure. The molten rock will eventually solidify, either above or below the earth’s surface, and will be made up of a wide variety of minerals.
Typically, granite is a compound of upwards of 20% quartz and up to 65% feldspar minerals rich in ionic salts (alkali elements), potassium and sodium. These minerals form a granular structure interspersed with contrasting elements such as mica, or silicates, each of which contribute to the spectrum of colours seen in granite. On a small scale this creates the ‘glitter’ evident in some examples of granite; on a larger scale, these minerals can give magnificent effects such as can be seen in the kitchen sink surround shown above (displayed in our showroom near Ruthin, North Wales).
Shades of pink typically result where there is a high density of potassium present. Granite that has taken a deep red colour, however, will also contain iron oxide derived from hematite. Where mineral types overlap in the composition of granite, colour is not normally so definitive, but they cannot fail to add to the unique beauty of the rock overall. Be they muscovite minerals producing glamorous golds or pale yellows (as seen above), or biotites boasting black or warm browns, granite offers a wealth of choice in both colour and pattern.
Versatile and dependable, granite is one of the most attractive natural materials for use anywhere inside the home beyond kitchens and bathrooms. Highly polished granite takes on a mirror-like quality, doing much to highlight the texture within. Door sills and jambes, floor tiles, thresholds and stairs are among popular design elements in domestic applications. In a commercial setting, granite has been used to great extent as paving, and in construction it is often used for monuments and bridges.