Ni Hao

86 hours later I am home exhausted from a work trip to China…That is 6 days gone – 28 hours to get to the city I was in and 33 hours to get home. You are correct, that means I had my feet on the ground less time than I had my feet in the air: 25 hours! And incase you are wondering it took 8 flights to get me there and back.

It’s funny how when you are in college and/or growing up, all you want to do is travel. “See the world and say I have been there!” But after a little bit of traveling you come to realize it isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. But I digress…

This is the third time I have been to China; my second time to Xiamen. It is a port city that has about 4 million people. They say it is the cleanest city in China…hmm…I would hate to see some of the other cities! The reason for the trip was to review our specified stone – marbles and granites – for one of the projects I am working on. This area is a mecca for stone yards and manufacturing plants. I have never seen so much marble and granite slabs in my life. Seriously, I wish I would have taken a picture of how large they are; Rows upon Rows. Most of the stone doesn’t come from China though. They are shipped there from the different countries for manufacturing and cutting – you can probably guess why: Lower Labor Costs.

The project I am working on has marble base and flooring throughout the building, granite slabs on all the counter tops and sandstone on some walls and floors. The first day was spent confirming the color range of stone acceptable for the marble that would be used for the stone base. Stone can have quite the range of color and veining movement and sizing. Some projects you can accept whatever you get- what mother earth provides- but with this project, we have to be very tight in our range. To achieve this, we put in our specs to sort out 40% of the product – so they budget in the sorting process –  and then we have to have a set of samples that define the acceptable range in front of the manufacturers the whole time as they cut and sort the stone. It took some discussions to land where we needed to be, but it should work well.


Rojo Alicante

Rojo Alicante

One of the stones – the granite, has its origin in India, but because of some issues there, the quarries have been closed for over a year. We had been told that the sub-contractor had purchased some stone block matching our control samples, but when we got there to verify (the samples they kept shipping to us weren’t matching) it was far off in color and pattern movement. So, it took us a day to find new product that matched our control samples the closest. Once we had slabs we then had to find enough uncut stone block that would match as well.

Granite and Marble

Marble and granite that will be coordinating with each other

Granite Block

The block of granite – confirming that it will match our slab sample


It was an interesting day driving back and forth across the city going from stone yard to slab yard (the word “yard” is misleading; they are really more in the size of a couple neighborhood blocks put together) until we found a match. I can’t tell you what a relief that was; worth the whole 61 hours of travel.

There is a lot to learn about stone. I could write a number of entries about what you need to know, and I am sure a stone supplier would be able to add onto that list. But this entry is long enough, so I end the dialogue there.

For fun I have added some pictures of some of the cutting machines, and carved stone panels:


saw blades

Large Saw Blades to cut through granite blocks and the like

cut profile

Saw Cutting out profile in the stone – Pieces then broken out and the cut profile is polished


Hand cut and polished panel

For the Seafood lover (which isn’t me)

Squid on a stick

Squid on a Stick



Meal time – It’s all about the head


3 thoughts

  1. So fascinating!! Your life is going to be quite a journey. I have a small island in my kitchen that I picked out the granite for. It is similar but not what I thought I picked! They told me the granite changes and it is impossible to get the exact piece you pick!! Grrrrr I accepted that but I live with it every day and I don’t believe them. Am I right??

    • Granite is “natural” in the sense that no slab or piece of stone will look the same. Some materials can have a wide range of movement and color with-in the same stones called by the same name…even different companies that call the stone the same thing can have a total different look, depending on what part of the mountain the stone comes from. If you just stipulated the type of stone that you wanted, yes, they could bring in anything they had with that name. But if you actually picked the slab that they were supposed to deliver…yes, they could have switched it on you. It has been known to happen!

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