Serving Northern California Serving Northern California Serving Northern California
Home  → All About Countertops  → The history of marble and granite

The history of marble and granite





It may be hard to believe that a marble kitchen countertop or granite kitchen countertop comes from materials that predate centuries. The pieces of marble and granite that are used in today’s kitchen countertops may be centuries old before the rocks are quarried. Marble and granite last for centuries, just like the ancient sculptures from Egyptian, Greek and Roman societies that are in today’s finest museums. In fact, some of the most famous sculptures of marble and granite are more than 5,000 years old.   

One of the first societies to use granite may not have decided to use it for kitchen countertops, but they had the smarts to create lasting monuments that people still enjoy today. Most of the Egyptian monuments were built of limestone or granite, such as the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The pyramid’s exterior was built of limestone, and the interior burial chamber was made of granite blocks. Sadly, mane of the blocks of limestone and granite were stolen to use for people’s homes centuries later. Not to worry, though, it is unlikely the granite kitchen countertop in any of today’s homes was made from these stolen blocks.

The Greeks were the next society to use natural stone, including both marble and granite. The Greeks used marble for the Temple of Artemis, one of the first of the grand structures to be made of marble. Sadly, the marble masterpiece was destroyed as a result of long stretches of war, otherwise they would still be standing today, just like a marble kitchen countertop will stand for centuries as long as the home around it remains. The Greeks also used marble in the home for the first time, though they did not think to use it for kitchen countertops like we do today. They used marble more for baths and pools, and also perfected quarrying and shaping techniques that are still used today.

The Roman empire, unlike the Egyptians and Greeks, used both marble and granite. They used granite for pavement, public baths and some columns that still remain today. The Romans also used marble for more aesthetic purposes, such as for lining their buildings and creating sculptures. The Romans quarried marble and granite all over their country, but often found that the most beautiful marbles came from Greece. They praised the marble Cipollino of Karystos for its beautiful green color, and that same marble is quarried and distributed today.

Many of the kitchen countertops of today are built from stones quarried in the same locations as these ancient masterpieces, so the rock is essentially the same. A marble kitchen countertop or granite kitchen countertop carries a long tradition of ancient proportions within its stone surface. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that marble and granite were used more extensively for kitchen countertops, though, and brought the materials into our modern times.