Stones that entrance us today, enliven our senses as granite, quartzite or marble, were growing in nature millions of years ago.
The most famous quarries, in which marble has been mined for 2,000 years, are located in north-west Tuscany, in the Alpi di Apuani, in the region in and around Carrara.
The purity, colouring and pattern of softly shimmering Carrara marble is world famous and has been inspiring architects, building contractors and artists to produce their best design work for centuries.
In the modern age, as transport routes have been expanded, the provenance is no longer limited to the Carrara area.
Instead, new marble and granite deposits have been found in many regions of the world in recent decades, making the range of these fine stones available today particularly varied.
As well as Italy, premium marble, granite and other natural stones today also come from Brazil, China, India, Canada and Scandinavia, to name just a few examples.