Earlier this week, I returned home from the annual Marmomacc stone trade fair in Verona, Italy, and as always, the event never failed to impress me. From the onset, the show is impressive in terms of its sheer size, with 1,500 exhibitors and 800,000 square feet of exhibit space. But more importantly, Marmomacc is a leading international event in the sector because of the many new product introductions on the show floor, including new stone materials and finishes as well advances in stoneworking equipment and technology.
Similar to the fashion industry, it seems like the innovations in stone materials are first unveiled in Italy and then make their way into the U.S. market a short while later. If this holds true following this year's show, U.S. fabricators will be seeing a range of new exotic materials at their local distributors. These include new varieties of granite and quartzite out of countries such as Brazil and India. Also of note, there seemed to be more varieties of onyx on the show floor compared to past years, and they are not only coming from the Middle East, but also from the U.S. As I visited with exhibitors at the event, I spoke with two different major slab producers from Italy, both of which are bringing in blocks of onyx for processing into slabs. Obviously, these materials are not cheap, but they will be an interesting stone to offer the high-end customers who want a product that was "Born in America."