(April 2010) Brazil’s export industry for natural stone is losing its competitive edge according to the bulletin „Informe“ (1/2010) of the National Trade Organization Abirochas (Portuguese). The reason for the drop in turnover is high taxes combined with an unfavourable exchange rate of the Dollar. 2009 saw a drop in exports by -24% and by tonnage of -16% compared to the previous year. With sales totalling 724,1 million US-$ (1673 million t) turnover fell below the level of 2005. Only soapstone showed an increase in exports (+8,8%). Exports were losing ground in 2006 and 2007, i.e. before the world wide financial crisis indicating a general loss of momentum and competitive edge according to the authors of the study. The downward trend also holds true for local sales.

The French Natural Stone Competition in not restricted to French candidates. Foreign suppliers, too, are welcome to compete provided the stone was worked in France (French).

Disappearing act for things in and around the house is unconventionally solved by US-based Dekorra Products Company.

Natural stone found a wide range of uses in award-winning projects, of the New Zealand National Kitchen and Bathroom Association.

The StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas will take place in 2011 together with the Surface Trade Fair form January 25th to 27th. Conferences will begin one day earlier.

An interesting marketing event was called to life by the Swiss Stone Masons and Sculptors’ Trade Organization (Schweizer Verband der Bildhauer- und Steinmetzmeister, VSBS) for the 100th anniversary of the organization: 100 members are to construct and sculpt seats and benches. The pieces will be exhibited for a period of two weeks and then distributed across the country. A brochure is available to accompany the event expounding the participants and material used according to the German trade magazine „Naturstein“ (01/10).

Meter-high marble statues of Roman rulers were found by Belgian and Turkish archaeologists not far from the vacation resort of Antalya.

Cleaning and protecting the Pyramid of Cheops was successfully completed by the Austrian Company Finalit.

Geological insight on earthquake activity in Chile.

Video of the month: handicraft instead of diamond wire saws. Perhaps a pioneer idea for the stone branch as shown by a Turkish Taekwondo-Master.