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GENERAL INFORMATION ON GRANITE

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 Definition. The concept granite is not a clear notion to many people in the modern high-tech and computerized world. It is still a common belief that every polished stone is marble. In fact, the difference between marble and granite is very big.

Marble is a carbonate rock that is easy to grind and polish but has lower hardness compared with granite. The products made of this material are not resistant to the adverse weather conditions, which makes them suitable mainly for enclosed spaces. However, marble is much more richly colored and patterned than granite.

Granite is a symbol of hardness, strength and durability. The products made of granite materials are practically eternal.

Granite (from the Latin word granum grain) is a granular rock formed by the crystallization of magma in the crust. It is composed of the minerals: quartz, feldspar and mica. Granite has physico-mechanical properties that characterize it as an excellent structural, decorative-facing and monumental material. It has a density of 2700 kg/m3, hardness 7 by Mohs scale and 150 to 250 MPa compressive strength. It is cold resistant and highly resistant to aging and weathering. Polished granite preserves its luster for centuries and millennia.

On our planet granite occurs in inexhaustible quantities and humanity will never feel short of it.

Granite rocks are differently colored, varying between the white Norwegian granite and the black African one, coming in a wide range of various colors such as bluish, pearly-gray, cream, pink, red and green granites. Some of these are unique in color and have a highly decorative value.

Granite is the history of human civilization.

Natural stone has always been a crucial part of the material culture of the human race. Mankind faced the need to process stone as early as the beginning of its development

During the earliest cultural-historical period, the stone age (approx. from 800 to 5 thousand years BC) stone was the main material used to make tools (axes, hoes), weapons (arrow tips, spears), ornaments and attributes symbolizing the meaning of human life, dwellings and religious monuments. The great importance of stone for human life during the time of the primitive community gave the name of that age, the Paleolithic Age (from the Latin paleo old and lith stone), which started with the appearance of the first stone tools and ended with the discovery of copper during the Bronze Age.

Stone processing during the Paleolithic Age passed through a long evolution from the use of rough unprocessed implements to the invention of various cutting tools. During that period man gradually acquired the manual operations for stone processing in the following technological-chronological sequence:

dislodging and breaking off during the Early and Middle Paleolithic (800-35 thousand years BC);

splitting and rough hewing during the Late Paleolithic (35-10 thousand years BC);

cutting, grinding and drilling holes during the Neolithic (10-5 thousand years BC);
As late as the Bronze (4-2 thousand years BC) and Iron Ages (2-1 thousand years BC), when metal tools were invented, man managed to master the skill of processing the hardest rock material, i.e. granite. The Egyptians, whose civilization leads us 7-8 millennia back from modern world, gave the first data about granite processing. During the dynasties, in the course of centuries, hundreds of thousands of people worked on the construction of pyramids and creation of pharaohs sarcophaguses. The truth is that the Egyptian pyramids were built up of numulite stone but Mycerin's pyramid was faced from base to top with pink syenite tiles.
As far as the technological and technical level of granite processing practiced by the ancient Egyptians is concerned, it should be noted that the Luxor obelisk, 25 m high and approx. 250 t in weight, was made of pink granite. Nowadays this monument decorates the Concord Square in Paris. The pharaohs' people were precise and methodical. An example of that is the granite sarcophagus of Senizert II, whose sides were made with 0.2-mm differences in dimensions. Even today we can admire that marvel of precision.

The processing of granite monuments was carried out by thousands of people for centuries but the time factor played no decisive role since the aim was to make beautiful, precise, monumental and grandiose products.

The Greek civilization left a small number of granite products since marble was the Lord in ancient Hellas. It was used to build the world famous monuments in Athens. And yet, we have to mention Agamemnon's tomb in Mycenae made of green porphyry.

The Romans, who used the knowledge and experience of their ancestors, improved granite processing and left many monuments and temples in Europe that, have been preserved until the present day.

During the Medieval Age and Renaissance no considerable progress was made in granite processing but that period was characterized by intensive construction. It was the time when the Saint Michel monastery in Bretan in France and the 15th century abbey were built up of granite elements.

It is necessary to note that in the 18th century, during the construction of Saint Petersburg, gracefully worked-out large-scale granite products were created. In 1782 a monument devoted to Peter the Great was raised with a basement of polished pink granite of weighing 1500 t, overlaid by a bronze group of horses.

The most spectacular granite monolith ever to have been raised by a human so far is the polished column of red granite, 3 m in diameter, 25 m in height, weighing 500 t and placed on a basement of polished granite with 6.5 m sides, 1.5 m in height and 150 t in weight. This monument is an exquisite work of art and decorates the Winter Palace Square, inspiring respect in modern man with its large scale

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