The Beauty of a Volcano in Your Kitchen

When you talk about a fire in your kitchen, that's usually not a good thing-unless, of course, you're talking about granite. You already know that granite is the most luxurious and most beautiful option for your kitchen countertops. You've also probably figured out it's "some kind of rock or stone." But what exactly is granite, where does it come from and what makes it so stunning?

Granite is actually an "igneous rock," which means "from fire." Basically, granite is a type of rock that's formed from volcanoes and lava activity. Nestled deep underground, in a volcano's magma chamber, melted rock can be found. However, these melted masses shoot to the top of the volcano during an eruption, and then cool off to form a solid mass outside the volcano. That's not granite. Granite occurs when the magma chamber cools down enough that melted rocks underground are allowed to solidify.

Thousands of Years in the Making

If you think about it, having to wait for molten rock to cool down underground seems like it would take eons-and it nearly does. In fact, it requires hundreds of thousands of years for magma chambers to cool and molten rock to solidify, but even then granite isn't ready. This rock is found at the earth's surface, which means the chamber has to cool and then the volcano needs to erode enough so that the chamber comes to the surface. Only then can granite be made into countertops.

The steps are: Magma, cooling, erosion. There's no doubt that granite is gorgeous, especially when polished to show all those grains. All those pops of color are actually a variety of minerals which create stunning landscapes when cooling together below the earth's surface. It has similar markings to marble, but marble is pretty vulnerable-granite, like quartz in sturdiness, is incredibly hard and resists scratching.

Beauty is On the Inside

Granite is made up of a number of minerals including quartz, mica and feldspar. You'll know true granite when you see it-but unfortunately it's become a catch all phrase in the countertop industry to describe anything that looks remotely like rock. However, genuine granite will never look like anything else. There are only so many volcanoes in the world, and each one has a different mineral makeup. The entire process, from finding the ready granite to cutting it, shaping it, polishing it and shipping it is a big endeavor, which is what makes its demand so high in the luxury sector.

There's truly nothing quite like a granite countertop and, just like a diamond, the beauty is in the flaws-plus, you'll never find another countertop quite like yours. The real appeal comes from the unique characteristics that were developed over thousands of years. If you really want to put a fire in the kitchen (in a good way), nothing compares to granite. Plus, now that you know where it comes from, it's a true conversation piece.