Absolute Black granite has almost become the de facto standard for kitchen tops in some countries ,but Why is Black popular, black looks great, black is more expensive . There will always be someone trying to make a quick buck at your expense by selling you an inferior material at the top notch price.
Petrographically, not all black granites are granites, some are basalt, however for generic commercial purposes they are all grouped under the granite name.
The dark colored, fine-grained extrusive rock are called Basalts . The naked eye or even a magnifying glass cannot distinguish the mineral grains as they are so fine. Off all the igneous rocks they are the most widespread. Most basalt is volcanic in origin and was formed by the rapid cooling and hardening of the lava flows. Having cooled inside the Earth's interior some basalts are intrusive.
All Absolute Black granites are not of the same material though the first common misunderstanding is that they are all the same. Absolute Black granites can vary widely in color, quality and price!
“Sutareboda” the original Absolute Black, is the name for Swedish black granite which has been quarried for many years.
Ebony Black is probably the most famous Swedish black granite. It is durable, very hard and is very expensive. It has a beautiful polish and has an almost metallic "ringing" tone when struck with a hammer and chisel.
South Africa in 1962 was the first to export Belfast Black granite and shortly afterwards the trade in Italy started calling this granite Nero Absolute, Black Absolute being the literal translation.
Alternative names have been South African Ebony, South African Black and Prairie. Some of the Southern African granites can actually have a "rice-grained" effect similar to the Canadian Cambrian Black, and the less black qualities also a Silver Star reflector.
The generic name for many black granites Since the 1960's is Nero Absolute which is supplied from Italy including Angola, China, India, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many other countries, therefore unless one is specific the granite could actually be from anywhere!
When purchasing Chinese black granites great care must be taken since these black granites have become very popular in the last few years owing to their much lower prices, however some of these black granites can be prone to "shakes" and "vents" and many unscrupulous processors/dealers, oil or apply dye to the material to hide these defects.
This should give the granite an effect of fading and correctly polished black granite should not fade. The dyes and oils being removed is nothing more than the fading. Unfortunately the only solution can be costly which is to re-polish the top.
Do perform the following test before purchasing a granite top to find out if it has been doctored with. Apply some acetone to the surface of the granite, and then take a clean white rag. Do not accept it if any residue or black color is observed, it has been dyed.
Shanxi Black is the most dense quality Chinese black granite. It is A Grade and it expects to pay as much as any top quality Indian black or even more.
Some varieties of Shanxi Black have small gold points in them though some fabricators do not like this therefore this quality is slightly lower in cost. Well done! If you like the gold points and you get a good bargain and the material stands up to the acetone test.
Be wary if you are offered Shanxi Black which is B Grade in quality and it is not of export quality, it is generally not used outside of China due to its inability to take a good gloss polish.
It was only by the end of the 1960's when India first started exporting high quality black granites; however volume production of memorials and slabs were well under way by the end of the 70’s.
The black granites from the south of India are some of the finest quality, reasonable cost, and dense/absolute blacks, however some of these, including the very dense Khammam/Kunnam Black, can be very "soft", these can scratch and some can show scuff marks therefore care must be taken when specifying these for projects and even kitchen tops.