Ornamental Stone Map of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Scale 1:4,000,000
Ghazi J. Abdulhay, Abdullah M. Al Zahrani, Mohammad Al Shihri with the collaboration of Mohammad Omar W. Al Mourabet, Mohammad A. Al Rashed, and Abdullah S. Al Onaizan
Most ornamental stone in the Kingdom is quarried from the crystalline rocks of the Arabian shield; the most widely used limestone is found in the Phanerozoic rocks flanking the Arabian Shield. Natural stone has been used for hundreds of years in Saudi Arabia, but the first modern reference to its use was in 1965, concerning the quarrying of granite, granodiorite, roofing slate, and marble, in the vicinity of major population centers. Major growth in the ornamental stone industry in the Kingdom occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, and continued in the 1990s with development of an export industry, to markets in Japan, the United States, Australia, Europe and Korea. Meeting the needs of the local market, quarries has been opened to exploit a variety of attractively colored granites, blocks from which are either locally slabbed and polished for domestic use, or exported to the world market.