Mother Nature is awesome in many ways. The mind-boggling forces involved that create the unique color combinations, striations, inter-mingling of minerals with rock are incomparable and beautiful. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to see, first-hand, hundreds of types of exotic and classic granite slabs waiting to be shipped to fabricators to be honed into kitchen countertops and islands.
I am lucky enough to have had that opportunity due to the location of the granite slabs wholesaler being next door to where I’m currently working. Being a big fan of unique, high quality homebuilding materials, I had to make my way to their door and get to know the folks that work there. With camera and notepad in hand, I went a knockin’ and I’ve made a few friends in the granite slabs business.
M&F Business Corp. is one of a handful of import wholesalers of exotic and classic granite slabs in the Atlanta area but they have a great (direct) source that sets them apart from other wholesalers. They also import onyx, travertine, polished sandstone, quartzite and marble slabs from various countries.
The process of mining the rock and bringing it to market is complex.
Luckily, M&F Granite has an interesting video that shows the entire process within approximately 7 minutes. The video is eye-opening and down to business. The video appears later in this piece.
Where Do Granite Slabs for Countertops Come From?
I learned that 90% of their material is imported from Brazil. They also import from Italy, Spain, China and India. Most of the marble comes out of Italy and it is spectacular. The onyx from Italy is simply incredible. Seeing them firsthand has been a treat for me.
Brazil supplies the majority of the granite slabs while the majority of the marble originates out of Italy. The onyx also comes out of Italy. Marble also comes from Spain. China has a unique supply of brown granite that is popular amongst homeowners.
It takes a total of about 30 days for the rock to go from where it has been for an eternity to the doorstep of the wholesaler. It takes about 24-48 hours to slice one huge block into individual slabs with gang saws. It then takes about 2 days to apply the resin and cure it in the oven. The remainder of the time is spent getting it to market.
The guys I met that manage the granite slabs warehouse are Jeremy and Edward. Jeremy has been in the granite slabs business for well over a decade and he can point out even the smallest imperfection in any slab, if there is one. Edward once worked in the field mining granite slabs a few years ago and has an interesting perspective on the whole process. Both gentlemen are very informative about the whole granite slabs process so I feel fortunate to have met them.
I’ll give you a little bit of background on my fixation on beautiful rocks and minerals in order to give you a better understanding of why I’m amazed. After visiting my brother at Pease AFB when I was 16, I lugged over 40 pounds of rocks home in a suitcase that I found on Mt. Washington from New Hampshire for my return trip from Logan Airport to Hartsfield in Atlanta.
I also have a few collected rocks in my yard that have significant sentimental value to me:
- A flint rock the size of a softball that was collected by my grandfather in Ohio long ago (50+ years) and given to me by my mom. I understand that it is illegal to collect flint from that area now.
- A pink marble chunk from the Pink Palace estate of Sam Tate.
- A white marble chunk from a marble mining company in Tate, GA.
- A few different, cool looking granite rocks from Lost Mountain just down the road from where I live.
- My yard also has a few large, very interesting quartz rocks that were there when I bought the house.
I’ve gone astray from the point of the article for a moment, but no worries, the process of bringing granite slabs to market is interesting, to say the least.
Check out this video on how granite slabs are mined and brought to market:
The video seen above shows how they bring the material to market by:
- Extraction from the landscape
- Shipment of the blocks for production
- Using gang saws to cut the slabs
- Preparation of the granite slabs for resin filling and the oven for curing. The resin seals fissures and pits.
- Polish and buff
- Quality control
- Each piece is photographed
- How the containers are loaded for shipment overseas
I noticed that some of the more exotic looking materials such as onyx and some of the rare granite slabs had a plastic mesh adhered with an adhesive to the entire reverse side. It is there to simply reinforce some of the more delicate and exotic slabs to keep them intact.
The following video also shows some of the great looking granite slabs as they appear in the M&F granite slabs wholesale warehouse: