A decade ago, I traveled to the famed Giallo Veneziano quarry in Brazil -- via helicopter -- and immediately counted it among the most interesting places I visited while doing this job. To see an entire mountain of granite being worked by nearly 100 people was a sight I will not forget. And every time I see this material in a warehouse, factory or kitchen countertop -- which is often -- my mind goes back to the time I saw the quarry in person.
Since that time, the buzzword for stone materials around the world -- particularly Brazilian materials -- has been "exotics." Whether you work with them or not, pretty much everyone in the stone industry knows about them, and we see them at all of the trade shows. They are typically found in colors and patterns not seen elsewhere, and they are well suited for homeowners who want countertops that are different than the ones in their neighbor's kitchen. A number of stone suppliers and fabricators have reported that by selling exotics, they are setting themselves apart from competition that sells on the basis of price, since $25-per-square-foot kitchens are rarely processed out of these materials.
So we know what exotics are and what they mean to the marketplace, and there are plenty of photos of "exotic" quarries out there. Stone World publishes them all of the time, and there are more than 20 of them in our feature on Everest Export.