Natural stone from the great quarries of the world.

Every specimen in our world-class assortment of natural stone is obtained the same way:
hewn from the great quarries of the world.

Natural stone products may seem perfectly at home in finer houses, stores and commercial buildings. But the process that got it there was certainly a long, complex one, full of hard work, masterful engineering and skilled craftsmanship. After all, what is now a polished countertop, a richly colored tile, or any high-quality architectural feature used to be a gigantic chunk of rock.

The first step to finding a perfect slab is identifying the right mineral deposit. Typically, it’s a cliff face or rocky outcropping, where its color and condition can be identified with the naked eye. Large core samples, many feet deep, are taken to identify the composition far underground. If the deposit is suitable for architectural materials, the cores are polished to examine color, pattern, and of course, marketability.

Simply obtaining a 20-ton block of stone from underneath a mountain is no easy feat. Often, roads, bridges, and tunnels must be built just to access the quarry. Weather, seismic activity and political conflict can only add to the difficulties. And once the machinery is on site, it can still take months of moving dirt and rocks out of the way before the optimal stone can even be reached.

02-cutting

03-shaping in quarry

MICAPEL 100-4

Producing stone from a quarry is far more than simply digging, cutting and hauling. Natural veins, patterns, and faults must be identified by a highly skilled quarry manager, who methodically guides the extraction to yield the most stone with the finest appearance.

The way any single block of stone is cut can drastically affect its look. Cuts that follow the natural flow of the stone are called ‘vein cut’, which typically has a wavy, organic pattern. ‘Cross cut’ stone is cut against the flow, and typically looks more uniform.

Depending on the product and the operator, much of the work can be done right on site. This is often energy-intensive and logistically complex, but what ships out is a finished product, often ready for market. Under these circumstances, freight costs are optimized, and quarry operators can manage more of their business from a single location.

In many cases, the stone is processed a long way from the quarry, so it’s shipped out as gigantic blocks, often weighing as much as a whole family of elephants. If the quarry is in a remote locale with little infrastructure, freighting the stone out in large chunks may be the most efficient method. Sometimes the workforce doesn’t exist to process the stone on site.

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Bustling international marketplaces are full of speculative buyers who combine aesthetic sensibility, market knowledge, and often geological training. These buyers may purchase the blocks and transport them overseas for processing.

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With all our natural stone products, regardless of source, Thorntree ensures that each piece is crafted according to our stringent quality specifications. In addition to quarries, distributors and shippers, our gobal supply chain includes talented fabricators who share our commitment to consistency, and our love for these warm, natural, and perfectly unique building materials.

Thorntree is extremely proud of our ability–developed over many years of hard work–to bring fine natural stone products from the remote corners of the earth, and present them to you right here in our two Houston locations. In our experience, people who build their homes with fine natural stone finishes come to love them almost as much as we do.

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