Top 3 global suppliers of stone
Have you ever looked at stone and wondered where it came from? That limestone patio could literally be a little Italy, while your granite countertop might be a small piece of Turkey sitting in your kitchen.
While the US has its own thriving natural stone industry, a lot of the stone material we use comes from other countries. According to International Trade Commission statistics published in Litos in 2013, stone imports were worth nearly $2.8 billion.
Where is all this stone coming from? Who are the sources that make our stunning stone features possible? Next time you look at your bathroom tiles, you might imagine they came from one of these three countries.
Brazil is better known as the land of bathing suits, soccer and Carnival, but for some years now, it's also been the country from where we import the majority of our stone. The same International Trade Commission statistics show that, since 2010, it's sat top of the table, and in in 2013 it account for more than one-quarter of stone imports in the US.
As reported by members of the Brazilian Association of the Natural Stone Industry in a March 2014 Stone Update article, its production of natural stone totaled a mind-boggling 10.5 million tons in 2013. This produced a wide variety of Brazilian-made stone, from granite and marble, to slate, soapstone, serpentine and limestone.
According to the Stone Industry Report, as reported by Stone-ideas.com, it mostly supplies kitchen worktops in the US. Brazil is possibly most famed for its uniquely beautiful "exotic granites", such as Persia Blue and Azul. It's the largest exporter of granite to the US, with the next-ranked name being…
China is up there when it comes to just about every metric you can think of, so it's not surprising this resource-rich country is also one of the biggest sources of our stone products. It was responsible for nearly 20 per cent of stone imports in 2013, and has been second to Brazil for some years now.
China is known for its marble and granite varieties, particularly the latter – there are hundreds of different granites coming out of China, including silver grey, green and even purple. It also produces slate and limestone.
While the top two have been rising and rising, Italy – so long the top dog when it came to global supplies of natural stone – has had something of a drop since the global financial crisis, as the US has looked at other, more affordable markets. Italy led the pack in 2008, but has been coming third in the years since then, with 16.4 per cent of the import share in 2013.
Italy is probably most famous for its marble varieties, though it no longer leads in that category either – the US has been getting the biggest share of its marble from Turkey since at least 2008.
Whatever country your stone ends up coming from, be sure to undertake proper surface cleaning to keep it long-lasting and looking good. This means cleaning any spills or stains immediately with Dry-Treat's HANNAFIN Oxy-Klenza™, a safe, oxygen-based cleaner.