Stone under the microscope – Absolute Black

Absolute Black is both a specific and general term used in the stone trade for a fine-to medium-grained igneous rock that approaches a black colour when highly polished. Because of the superior geotechnical characteristics of this type of stone coupled with its rarity relative to other granite varieties Absolute Black is perceived as a prestigious product. For these reasons the main applications of Absolute Black are in the monumental trade, for modern and/or prestigious internal flooring, and for kitchen tops. Although the initial Absolute Black arguable emanated from South Africa and was given the Italian name of Nero Assoluto other countries have adopted the anglicised term to differentiate this type of stone from other dark granites. Because of the strong mineralogical and chemical similarities that characterize this type of stone the following discussion will incorporate most of the Absolute Black granites of the world. India, China, and South Africa produce the majority of Absolute Black but there are contributions from Zimbabwe, Uruguay, Brazil, Sweden, United States, and Australia. Australia is littered with numerous small deposits of such black granite but in many instances the size of the individual resource is too limited, the location of the resources too remote, and the geological structures too demanding to make exploitation viable and sustainable. Of the 30 quarries from which this stone type was extracted in the Kimberleys none continued for more than a short period.