5 businesses set in stone

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In the digital age, it’s easy to forget the fact that many businesses base their trading model on materials, techniques and technologies that have been around for eons.

The stone industry is a prime example — there’s archaeological evidence of stone tool manufacture at the beginning of the Old Stone Age some 2.5 million years ago, but many modern humans still make a living from it.

So whether you fancy working in a quarry as a letter-day Fred Flintstone or have your heart set on selling decorative gravel to high end hotels, jobs in this industry can lead to rock solid careers.

With that in mind, here are five businesses set in stone.

  1. Dry stone dyking

In areas of the UK like Scotland, walls are referred to as ‘dykes’, so dry stone dyking is a traditional technique where a highly-trained craftsman creates a solid wall from natural stones without using cement or sand to bind them together.

If you haven’t seen a dry stone dyke at close hand, you might think it sounds fragile or unsteady — but built properly, these walls can last for hundreds of years.

For practical and ornamental examples of this ancient art, take a look at the website for thriving Scottish-based dry stone specialists Galloway StoneCraft.

  1. Stone engraving

Stone engraving’s been around since time immemorial and it’s still a business niche which can prove lucrative.

Modern stone inscriptions are most commonly encountered on grave stones, but they’re also found on commemorative monuments, stone architectural installations and building foundation stones.

An adept stone engraver is as skilled and sought-after as a professional calligrapher — David M Gibson’s website gallery contains some prime examples of masterworks.

  1. Sculpture

At the arty end of the stone sector spectrum lies sculpture, and materials like marble have been beloved mediums for artists from Donatello to Henry Moore.

But making a living producing fine art masterpieces is tough, so many modern sculptors supplement their artistic passions with work restoring buildings like cathedrals which are protected for posterity.

Stone carver Martin Coward is one such craftsman — his impressive commissions catalogue ranges from modern art to religious iconography.

  1. Stone repairs

Anything that’s made eventually degrades and has to be mended or replaced.

Stone is no different — if you’re trained in the right techniques, you can make a decent living restoring and repairing everything from ornamental stonework to formal front steps and mortar joints.

And firms like Edinburgh Stone Repairs enhance their offering with services like lime pointing — diversification helps you differentiate from the competition.

  1. Stone aggregates

Stone aggregates and sand have many applications in areas like landscaping, road resurfacing, field sports and showjumping — so if you want a varied clientele, look no further.

In this line of business, being able to offer a huge range of quality technical products that meet strict specifications is par for the course.

And companies like aggregate experts Marchingston Stone even have their own quarries in order to ensure high standards throughout the supply chain.

That’s our list! If you work in stone, share your thoughts in the comments section.