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Where Did Stone Carving Come From?

Stone Carving: The Origin

Impression has been providing high-quality stone designs for just over a quarter of a century, but stone carvings certainly predate our family business. How we use stone today can be traced directly back to our ancestors, and their use of rocks. Connecting the dots between ancient ancestors and the marble stairs you’re considering in your home reno might be tough, but examining the history of stone carving helps make sense of everything! Read on to learn about the history of stone carving.

Earliest Examples

The Stone Age has its name for a reason! This prehistoric period was long, and describes the time during which our ancestors used stone tools as a means to accomplish things. Among these tools were those with edges, points, or percussion surfaces, which allowed prehistoric people to use stone for a variety of jobs. Of course, with the development of useful stone soon came representational art made of stone. The earliest examples of this are petroglyphs, or any depiction formed by incising, picking, carving, or engraving. All of these forms allowed people to keep track of information and make art in ways less susceptible to the elements.

The Ancient Greeks

The earliest of stone carvings are the result of stone-on-stone contact, where a harder stone was hit or scratched against a softer one. Before the discovery of steel, no metal was strong enough to carve stones. Ancient Greeks used bronze with trapped granules of carborundum. Also known as silicon carbide, carborundum is a rarely-occurring mineral that functions as a great abrasive. Ancient Greeks would create files from the carborundum-filled bronze, enabling them to carve stone by filing it.

The Iron Age

Upon developing iron, tools for carving stone with ease appeared. Steel carving tools took the form of chisels, drills, and saws. Steel had the ability to be hardened and tempered to a stronger state, strong enough to withstand stone cutting many times over. Since the Iron Age, our carving tools haven’t changed much. Because it was more convenient to carve, stone transitioned out of being used solely for tools and informational carvings. Now, stone was capable of being carved for the purpose of art or architecture, shaping much of our still-standing stone artwork. 

Modern Stone Carving

Today, stone is carved in a different way that cuts cost, labor, and time. Most rely on the concept of abrasion to remove stone in the desired areas, though this is done more quickly by using water erosion and diamond saw cutting. Another new method involves a technique where a high temperature is suddenly applied on the top surface. The expansion of stone due to heat causes it to break away. Other methods include oxyacetylene torches, lasers, and even jet heat torches for large projects like sculptures.

Impression’s Method of Carving

Impression provides custom home pieces every day, and it wouldn’t be possible without our highly-skilled artisans. Using their years of studying and experience, one-of-a-kind designs can be crafted for any aesthetic. Our artisans use hand-carving methods, ensuring a level of detail that simply can’t be captured through mechanical processes. Impression utilizes state-of-the-art tools, used on stone with the best texture, color, and grain. Stone carving has taken quite a while to perfect, but Impression is proof that the best custom stone pieces are available right now! Contact Impression today for your next custom home project.

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