Stone Through the Ages

Throughout history, people in positions of power have come up with some pretty cool ways to parade their wealth and creativity. Be it the invention of lawns or extravagant parties, the frivolous consumption of exotic and scarce resources has served as an effective and enduring display of status and influence. Now in modern times, many people can afford smaller versions of these historical power trips (see: Thanksgiving dinner). The use of Granite and Marble is a perfect, yet ironic example of this pattern playing out. You see, before it was fashionable to install Granite in your bathroom or Quartz kitchen countertops, it used to be that Granite and Marble were the ultimate status symbol, used to construct some of the most grandiose and elaborate structures in human history. Before we get into what’s changed (and what hasn’t), let’s run through 5 of the Most Extravagant, and BIGGEST examples of natural stone displays in the world:

1. Mount Rushmore

Constructed between 1927 and 1941 to increase tourism in the region, Mount Rushmore sits over a mile above sea level and is one of the most iconic Granite monuments in the world. Four of the most famous characters in American history are immortalized in 60 foot tall heads chiseled out of a mountain chosen for having the hardest Granite around, and they attract over 2 million visitors every year. You could say that Rushmore is the face of Granite monuments in the world today.

2. The Colosseum

Originally built to seat up to 80,000 people, the Roman Colosseum isn’t made of Granite or Marble, but it is comprised of two other types of natural stone: Travertine and Tuff. Travertine is technically a limestone, with major deposits found near hot springs. It used to be utilized in every facet of Roman buildings, but today it is mostly placed in wall facades and flooring because it can be polished to a smooth, shiny finish like Granite, Quartz, or Marble. Tuff is a rock that forms when volcanic ash consolidates together. The fact that it appears commonly in Italy has made it an ideal construction material dating back to the Romans. Tuff is made from ash, which comes from lava, which comes from the rock deep below the volcano. So because different volcanoes are made of different types of rock, Tuff can vary greatly in its composition.