From quarry to kitchen, the story of the granite countertop is fascinating, and the process is as painstaking as it sounds.

The story starts in the quarry where granite formations equivalent to thousands of countertops are found. Granite being a tough rock, miners don't come to the site with pickaxes and shovels on hand. Instead, they use heavy machinery like jackhammers and belt-driven cutters to prepare for the next step: the big boom.

That's right--the drilling and cutting only soften the granite chunk enough to be blasted off. Keep in mind that the quarry has to perform a controlled explosion for the chunks to slide to the ground safely. The wrong explosion may trigger a dangerous chain reaction that can render the quarry useless.

From the quarry, the granite blocks are shipped to a manufacturing facility. The blocks are rinsed with water while being cut into huge slabs, the water making it easy for the cutting tool to do its job and ensure a smooth cut. In the countertop industry, these slabs are called "rough plates," and will then be coated with resin and baked for a set time.

After polishing and quality control, the huge slabs are trimmed down to retail sizes. The rough edges are smoothened and the slabs cut to spec for shipping to countertop retailers around the world. The resources and the amount of work needed to make the countertop tiles justify its price.