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Granite is an important structural and ornamental stone, and due to its high compressive strength and durability, it is used for massive structural work. Fine-grained granite is employed for ornamental and monumental work as well as for inscription purposes. It is the hardest of structural stones. Its mineral-rich colors, the hardness and density, make it and ideal choice for flooring, counter tops, vanities as well as exterior applications. A broad range of elegant patterns and colors makes granite the most versatile and durable of all stones. It is also the most "maintenance free" of all stones. Granite is composed of quartz, feldspars and micas, as well as traces of a wide variety of other minerals. These minerals contribute to the color and texture of the various granites. Crystal size is somewhat determined by the rate at which the granite cools: the slower the cooling process, the larger the crystals grow. Faster cooling produces fine-grained granites. Granites get their wonderful variety of colors and patterns from minerals that are melted into the liquid mass as it is formed.