Natural Stone Supply Chain
Most of the natural stone that you see on countertops, backsplashes, walls, and floors actually come from very far away. Understanding the global supply chain of natural stones provides a glimpse into what goes into the process of extracting the stone from the earth and getting it into your kitchen.
Slab manufacturers, also known as quarries, are the people who physically extract the natural stone out of the ground. The stone is extracted in large blocks and then the blocks are sliced like bread into slabs. Each block is considered a “lot” and each lot from the same quarry can look very different.
International suppliers purchase the lots of stone from all of the quarries in their area. They then package the lots from different quarries and ship them all over the world to local distributors. International suppliers sell the lots of stone by the container load.
Local distributors will purchase containers of slabs from the international suppliers. The distributors then sell the lots by the slab to local fabricators. Local distributors will help retail clients choose stone, but will only sell the stone to fabricators.
Retail fabricators are the ones who will cut the stone to size and install it in your home. Fabricators will usually purchase stone from one or two distributors in their area, but have the ability to purchase from any fabricator they like.