How Do Granite Slabs Get their Names?

Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2015 by Arch City Granite

How do granites get their name

You might have become familiar with some names of granite slabs when you started shopping for your granite countertops project. You might have wondered how the granite slabs get their names. Some are very descriptive, some have funny names, and some have bizarre names. Continue reading this article, you will get a good grasp on how the granite slabs get their names.

While there are many granite quarries in the US, most American granite is plain gray or red, the kind you see used for buildings. Most countertop granite comes from abroad, from Brazil, India, Italy, Norway, and dozens of other countries around the world.

This is one of the reasons granite colors can have such strange names. Granite slab names like Uba Tuba? Giallo Fiorito? Juperana? To help you understand the world of granite and natural stone, we’ve created this article explaining some of the more unusual names.

Granite Names after the City or Area they are quarried

One common way of identifying granite is to name it after an area or city. This is the explanation for one of the most popular granites, Uba Tuba Granite. Ubatuba is actually a district near the Brazilian city of São Paulo. Quite a bit of granite, especially the wild exotic variety, is quarried in Brazil, so there are quite a few different granites with Portuguese names (Portuguese is the language spoken in Brazil) or names derived from Brazilian places.

You have probably heard of at least a few different granite names containing the word Juperana. These are named after Lake Juparana in Brazil. Likewise, the Brazilian granite Copacabana is named after the famous beach neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.

It’s not just Brazil that has left its name on granite. Baltic Brown Granite is actually from the area near the Baltic Sea; it is quarried in Finland.

Volga Blue Granite is named after a famous river (the longest in Europe, in fact) that runs through Eastern Europe, not too far from Ukraine, where this stone is quarried. Famous Madura Gold Granite is named after the City of Madurai in South India.

There are a few granites named after places in Africa: Angola Black is quarried in Angola, and both African Rainbow Granite and African Tobacco Granite are also quarried in Africa.

Granite named after Exotic or High End places

However, not all granites named after places are actually quarried in those locations. Mombasa Granite (Mombasa is a Kenyan city) is from Brazil as is Monte Carlo Granite (Monte Carlo is in the country of Monaco).

Sometimes quarries or manufacturers (the companies, largely in Brazil and Italy that cut up the blocks and polish the slabs for export to America) choose names that will make their granites sound exotic or expensive. For example, Giallo Veneziano Granite is from Brazil; Veneziano means Venice in Portuguese and Italian.

Granite names in Portuguese or Italian language

This leads to another very common explanation for granite names: Italian and Portuguese words.

Let’s use the Giallo family of granites as an example. Giallo means yellow in Italian. So Giallo Ornamental Granite means “Decorative Yellow” and Giallo Fiorito Granite means “Yellow Flower.”

Persa is another common Brazilian word used in granite names; it simply means Persia, which sounds rather exotic in any language. Since many granites are polished in Brazil and Italy, these names are not surprising.

On a similar note, Delicatus, as in Juperana Delicatus Granite or Delicatus White Granite, is actually Latin for “elegant.”

Granite slab name with descriptions of its colors

Many granite names are simply named after colors in other languages. Verde, as in Verde Butterfly Granite, means “green” in Portuguese. Bianco Romano and Bianco Antico have Italian names that translate to “White Rome” and “Antique White.” Azul Bahia Granite is both named after a color and a place; Azul means “blue” in Portuguese and Bahia is an area in northern Brazil. Several stones are called Nero, like Nero Antique Granite. Although quarried in Angola, Nero Antique has a Portuguese name: Nero means black. In speaking of color names, we can’t leave out the Bordeaux family of granites. These Brazilian stones are named after the deep red wine color that is their signature feature. Bordeaux is a color, a wine, and the region of France that produces that type of wine.

Granites named after their Geological Properties

One interesting way that granites can be named is after their geological properties. Magma Gold Granite is an obvious example of this. Indeed, that flowing pattern was likely once molten stone bubbling deep below the earth’s surface.

A more subtle example of this name type are stones with Labrador or Labradorite in their title, such as Labrador Antique Granite, Labradorite Extra granite, or Labradorite Big Blue Granite. These are named after the feldspar mineral that gives them their signature iridescent blue formations.

Some Granite names may not be logical

 And, lest you start to think all granite names are logical, let’s end with Costa Smeralda Granite. This is the same thing as Costa Esmeralda Granite.

Esmeralda means emerald in Portuguese, but this green granite is quarried in Iran.  I suspect that the person in charge of naming the stone didn’t know the word esmeralda, which is familiar to Americans as a name, and so misspelled it accidentally. The companies in the US that bought the granite just stuck with it to avoid confusion, and now it’s quite often sold as “Smeralda,” which is quite a funny name.

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