For the past 16 years of my life, early fall has meant a trip to Verona, Italy, for the Marmomacc trade fair (believe me, I am not complaining). This international event is the largest of its kind in the entire world, and it draws an international mix of exhibitors and attendees. If you're looking for unique and innovative stone materials, this is a show that cannot be beat. Every year, I see materials that I have never seen before. These may include exotic materials, translucent varieties of onyx or simply popular, traditional colors from a new quarry source. It seems that more exhibitors at Marmomacc in Italy are catering to stone fabricators. Moreover, I see stone materials in new formats and finished products. I saw the first "brushed" surface in Verona a few years back, and now I am seeing combinations of several finishes on a single surface. We are also seeing advancements in the area of quartz surfacing. These not only include bold new colors and stonelook materials, but also innovative surface finishes not found in nature.

In addition to stone itself, the Marmomacc fair is very likely the largest exposition of stoneworking equipment in the world. Given the global nature of the event, there are plenty of exhibits of large-scale quarrying and processing equipment on display. But over the past few years, I have Among the translucent materials on display in Verona, Itapoama of Brazil displayed Lumen. V.M. Kaldorf displayed Jura limestone with a combined chiseled/sandblasted/brushed finish. noticed more exhibitors showcasing technology for more "typical fabricators." Whether it is an addition to an existing piece of machinery, a new type of blade or polishing wheel, or some other development, Marmomacc has become a place where fabricators can find products that will help them in their operations.

In just one example of this, I met with a supplier of vacuum pods for CNC technology at the event -- Blick Industries of California -- and they were showcasing something called the "Saw Cup." Created for CNC stoneworking centers that utilize a cutting head, this product is a sacrificial top that sits on top of the vacuum pod, and it can be sawed or routed into. (I realize that it is somewhat ironic that I went all the way to Italy to see a product from an American supplier, but sometimes it just works out that way.) In any case, there were quite a few new products on display in Verona, and what you see here is only a small sampling. The full report will appear in the December print and online editions of Stone World. Stay tuned!