Since the time of the old Egypt civilization, the human being has used natural rocks as construction materials. The main body of the pyramid was built by limestone and the tomb was decorated by granite. The old Greece civilization used limestone and marble for civil construction and architecture. The use of rocks for urban constructions was enlarged during the Roman Empire. Certain rock names, such as syenite and basalt, have their origin from this time. Nowadays, the rocks compose an indispensable role for the urban beauty.
The rocks applied to ornamental use, such as wall covering and floor pavement, are granite and marble. These are usually used with surface polish. Carbonate rocks, with low hardness, such as marble and limestone, are called commercially marbles. They have been used traditionally for ornamental use because of relative easiness of cut and polish. On the other hand, silicate rocks, with high hardness, such as granite, gabbro, syenite, orthogneiss, granulite, charnockite, etc., are called granites. The uses of granites are growing in the recent decades. In spite of the relatively high cost, granites are used preferentially as noble ornamental rocks (natural stones), because of high lustre on polish surface, high mechanical resistance, and high chemical durability.
In addition to marbles and granites, there are other types of rocks used generally without surface polish, such as slate, quartzite, paramylonite, orthomylonite and welded tuff. They are of variable natures and many commercial names. For example, Brazilian rhyolitic welded tuff is called commercially Basalts. The application of these rocks to the constructions and consequent social contribution are the same or more than those of granites and marbles.