Stone has played an important part in human history — from Neanderthal axes to the ceremonial monuments left by Druids and Picts.
Although technology has advanced immeasurably in the aeons since, it’s still one of the most versatile materials in everyday use around the world.
In the UK, several canny companies make solid profits through stone and the sector is more diverse than you might think.
And with the House Builders Federation recently reporting that builders spent £11.7 billion with suppliers in 2017 (90 per cent of this figure staying in the UK), companies with sought-after products and services can turn a pretty penny.
If you think turning to stone could be your next corporate venture, here’s an overview of a few firms that rock the business world.
One of the biggest outlets for rock and stone products is the home garden market — customers love the earthy, organic ambience they bring to any green space.
So stone garden statue specialist TorStone add a touch of drama, mystery or elegance to any garden with a range of products influenced by global cultures, animals, folklore and fantasy.
Their Easter Island heads are a sure-fire conversation starter at any lively barbecue, while some modern pieces resemble the abstract art of Henry Moore.
The Somerset firm was established over 35 years ago and has gone from strength to strength since, selling popular decorative items in greyish white Portland stone and warm cream Bath stone.
As well as statues, they offer sandstone and basalt water features and stately carved balustrades.
A H Stone Walling
Ancient dry stone walls pepper the countryside of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England — some of which are up to 3500 years old.
Building and maintaining these walls was once a dying art, but thanks to a growing band of enthusiasts and artisan tradesmen, this living historical craft has been preserved for posterity.
Dry stone walling experts A H Stone are based in the Peak District’s Stockton Brook and the technique is a family tradition passed down over four generations to gaffer Andrew Holmes.
Dry stone walls are popular with owners of old and new properties as they enhance the aesthetic qualities of the exterior and their attractiveness adds value.
Their offering is bolstered by sublime stone fire pits, gate posts and even new build homes — the tradesmen can turn their hands to all manner of large and small projects.
Product quality control is easier when you own your own quarry like experienced aggregate supplier Marchington Stone.
The Stockport supplier’s Shire Hill quarry produces a high grade buff Derbyshire millstone grit which has been used for the Victoria and Albert museum steps in London and at the Olympic mountain biking course at Hadleigh Park.
But the depth of their product range is breath-taking — you’ll find decorative gravels like blue slate and green granite, natural stone products like quoins and cills and even equestrian sand.
And their delivery fleet can ship bagged and loose loads nationwide, with a pallet option provided for smaller customers.
Established in 1970, the company supplies a range of sectors including construction, civil engineering, builders merchants and sports and leisure landscapers.
There are several stone firms making their mark in Britain, but these three traders perfectly illustrate an eclectic industry that’s built for the future.
And their dedication and discipline means there’s rock around the clock for everyone who needs it.
Do you work in the stone industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section.