The demand for natural architectural stone has increased so radically within the last twenty years, that quarrying has become a major industry for many countries around the world. And whereas previously some of these countries sent raw blocks to Italy for fabrication into marketable precut units, most now have installed machinery to handle their own lines of production. Brazil, for example, is now one of the world's largest suppliers of granite, exportingboth slab and precut tile material prepared in local manufacturing plants. Despite this, Italy still presides as the largest exporter of stone, and is arguably the most prodigious supplier of stone technology.
Stone has been the medium of choice for the edification of man from time immemorial;
indeed, many ancient cultures immortalized their gods with stone temples and tombs.
In fact, archaeological evidence exemplifies the structural durability and beauty of stone.
Marbles used by the Emperor Hadrian to construct his enormous villa near Rome, and
those used in the Parthenon in Athens are still quarried to this day. Yet in those bygone
days stone masons did not have the advantage of the specialized quarrying and cutting
machinery we have today.
The removal of blocks from quarries was an arduous and labor-intensive process, and the
task of cutting stone into usable dimensions and installing it was no less daunting.
Ample evidence exists of how these ancient craftsmen were able to erect megalithic stone
structures, which paved the way for modern advancements.