KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Oct 13 2015

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Quirks of the Quarry: A Tour of Polycor’s North GA Facility

Last week I had the pleasure of touring the depths of Polycor’s unexpectedly beautiful stone quarry in Tate, Ga. If you’re a stone novice like I was, then you may not realize what a coveted experience this can be for the public and industry professionals alike.

At more than 160 feet deep (though the stone vein actually continues at subterranean levels for thousands of feet), the quarry’s majestic “pit” is a dust-laden basin punctuated by monolithic blocks and tech-forward machinery. Encompassed by soaring stone walls, the pit even features a quaint, naturally occurring waterfall that feeds into a winding creek below – continuously pumped to prevent flooding. The area is generally restricted, and intrepid personnel require special training to traverse the pit and its surrounding areas.

Discovered by Henry T. Fitzsimmons in 1835, the quarry was later established as the Georgia Marble Company in 1884 by the locally prestigious Tate family (for which the town is named). Polycor did not acquire the site until 2003, and it has since gone on to supply the majority of marble used in iconic memorials, capitol buildings and other significant structures throughout the U.S.

The quarry is primarily used to source four color varieties of marble: White Georgia, White Cherokee, Pearl Grey and Solar Grey. A newly discovered area dubbed the Etowah Quarry, however, now also provides a plethora of salmon-colored marble.


As stone is sourced, stair-like formations referred to as “walls” (the vertical portion) and “benches” (the horizontal portion) are left behind. Workers slice the quarry’s walls before using innovative technology to sever the stone from the wall. The technique is similar to a water balloon. As the device fills with water, it expands and forces the cut stone from the wall onto the bench. Workers have little control over the size, but the bigger the piece, the higher its value.

Unusable pieces are put through a crusher that pulverizes the marble into variously sized granules. This dust is used in different industries, such as toothpaste production.

The stone that is kept for sale will then be categorized by color and grade, added to the inventory and relocated for further processing.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 at 8:44 AM and is filed under Bath Design, Kitchen Design, Miscellaneous, Products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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