Where does black granite come from?   Granite is a very hard, crystalline, igneous rock primarily composed of feldspar, quartz, orthoclase or microcline accompanied by one or more dark minerals. It is visibly homogeneous in texture. It is the most common plutonic rock of the Earth's crust, forming by the cooling of magma (silicate melt) at depth. The term "Granite" is derived from the Latin word "Granum" meaning "grain" because of its granular nature. Since granite's origins are from the very center of the earth it is as a result is one of the hardest and most durable materials. It boasts a resistance to weathering, a high load bearing capacity, abrasive strength, and due to its dense grain it is impervious to stain. Polished granite slabs and tiles have achieved a special status as building stones and for use as monuments all over the world. One of the most popular types or colors of granite for use in memorials right now, is black granite. Black granites are dark-colored igneous rocks defined by geologists as basalt, diabase, gabbro, diorite and anorthosite are quarried as building stone, building facings, monuments, and specialty purposes and sold as black granite. The chemical and mineralogical compositions of such rocks are quite different from those of true granites, but black granites nevertheless may be satisfactorily used for some of the same purposes as commercial granite. They possess an interlocking crystalline texture but, unlike granites, they contain little or no quartz or alkali feldspar. Instead, black granites are composed dominantly of intermediate to calcic plagioclase accompanied by one or more common dark rock-forming minerals such as pyroxenes, hornblende, and biotite. Such rocks, because of their relatively high content of iron and magnesium, are designated as ferromagnesian or mafic.

Now that this has been specified. we will continue to use black granite as an umbrella term while offering the material under the (geologically correct) names above. The most dense quality Chinese black granite is known as Shanxi Black A Grade, and this is what is primarily sold through Headstones USA when a black granite is chosen for use as a monument. Although black granite is gaining in popularity for use in countertops and other building capacities, it has traditionally been used for tombstones and other monumental items. Especially during the second half of the last century, the use of black granite has found a new market for war memorials in displacing in popularity the much different earlier military memorials of mainly white or light colors as e.g. the British War Graves Cemeteries and American Battle Monuments. This is most likely because of its durability, and its striking natural beauty. Examples of noteworthy Memorials made of black granite include the Vietnam Memorials in Washington, and the Astronaut Memorial at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, and The Atom Bomb Victims Memorial in Hiroshima. When choosing a black granite monument, you can be sure that your cemetery headstone will remain part of the trend for sometime to come and that you are choosing a lasting and high quality product that will stand the test of time and remain beautiful for decades if not centuries to come.

Since black granite, like all other natural materials have variations due to the specific conditions under which they were formed the colors will vary from stone to stone. For example, some varieties of Shanxi Black will have small gold points in them, while other types of black granite may range from dark black pitch-black to darkish grey. The polished or honed stone may have specks, some causing a glint like in Galaxy Black, tiny white spots in any size, shape, color or shade; may have a brownish, bluish, greenish hue and may be described as deep, dark, medium, light or greyish. Black granite can be found all over the world, but the primary locations of quarries are: Southern Africa, Scandinavia, Angola, Brazil, China, and India. In China important supplies come from the Shanxi area and are marketed in several qualities like Mongolian Black, Supreme Black, Nero Assoluto and plainly Shanxi Black. At Headstones USA we primarily market Shanxi Black granite which is quarried at Datong with production of 10K cu.m. per year worked between February and October to avoid the severe climate at the 2000m elevation. Going to the Far East, Shanxi and Shandong in China are principal production centers of many varieties of black granites with names besides the ubiquitous Nero Assoluto like Snow Black, Ji Nan Black, Mongolian Black and many sub-varieties coming from a single quarries under many names and trading establishments.

Just as with any other type of natural material, the quality and price of the black granites are determined by the deepness of color and grain size of the rock, the darker the rock and the finer the texture the higher the quality and demand. At Headstones USA we purchase (and as a result pass on to you) only high quality solid granite so you can rest assured that your monument will not only look beautiful, but will also be long lasting and durable.

www.headstonesusa.com 2010


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