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Acropolis Stonework in Greece

Stonework From Around the World

This month, we decided to combine our love of history with our passion for beautiful stonework. The result was a collection of some of the most awe-inspiring stonework from around the world. Some are well-known, and some are more obscure, but we hope to showcase just how incredible and long-lasting quality stonework can be. Enjoy!

Ancient Greek and Roman Stonework

Acropolis Stonework in Greece

Acropolis Stonework in Greece

No one can talk or write about stonework without mentioning Ancient Greece. The Greeks were incredible architects, and they were not discouraged by the countless number of times invaders destroyed their masterpieces. Fortunately, the stonework erected in 482 BCE is still a sight to behold. The once gold and ivory statue of Athena stands atop the Acropolis in the city of Athens. Constructed mainly from limestone, these Greek architects weaved in Pentelic marble to create the jaw-dropping scene you see today.

Just a rock skip away in Rome remains the megalithic Theatre of Marcellus. The architectural influence of many theatres of the time, including the master Colosseum, was built from tufa and travertine, two types of stone known for their ability to resist water absorption. In addition, Marcellus was the first known structure built with fired Roman brick. These skilled architects knew how to construct a robust design, as this is the only theater from the period of Augustus (circa 11 BCE) surviving today.

English Cathedral Stonework

Exeter Cathedral Stone Work_1000

Exeter Cathedral Stone Work

Some of the most eye-catching pillars of architecture from the old world are the cathedrals stamped across England. One of the most noteworthy for stonemasons, such as our team at Petrillo Stone, is the Exeter Cathedral, properly known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter. Exeter is an Anglican cathedral, and the seat of the Bishop of Exeter, in the city of Exeter, Devon, in South West England. Gothic-styled stonework, the Cathedral was constructed from stone from more than 20 different local quarries. A combination of Salcombe Stone, Chalk, and Devonian Limestone, Exeter is genuinely a structure that architects, stonemasons, geologists, and historians appreciate.

Closer to Home

While we all seem to fancy ancient and olde worlde stonework, we cannot forget that we are surrounded by beautiful stone structures right here in our neck of the woods. Here is our top-three of the must-see stonework around New York City:

St. Patrick Cathedral New York_1000

St. Patrick Cathedral New York

  • Empire State Building. Most of us have probably been to the top, but have you ever stopped to enjoy the stonework? We highly recommend it.
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Built entirely out of stone in the mid-1800s, St. Patrick’s is an icon around New York City. 
  • Brooklyn Bridge. Next time you take a drive from Brooklyn to Manhattan, as you stop to take in the views of the city, construction, and rush hour, be sure to gaze up at the beautiful stonework of the piers. The Brooklyn Bridge, constructed mainly of limestone, granite, and steel cables, was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

The Stonework of Petrillo Stone

While the history of Petrillo Stone doesn’t go back quite as far as Ancient Greek, we are very proud of the stonework we have erected and the legacy we have built since 1907. Stonemasonry is not only our career; it is our passion. We would be honored for you to view any of our recent stonework projects

Fordham University Seal

Carving and Installing Limestone Work at Fordham University

We recently were contacted by Fordham University who was looking to add two Limestone carvings into their Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, NY.

We hand-carved a cross that was 10 ft by 8 ft and a University Seal that had a 12 feet diameter. It took us a few months to carve the cross and the seal at our Mount Vernon, NY facility. But once they were ready, we installed them in less than a week at the new McShane Campus Center at Fordham University.

Get a close look at how they turned out:


Oldest map of Western Brittany

The Oldest Map of Europe Found Carved into Stone

Oldest map of Western BrittanyFrom time to time we like to feature unique stories about stone and masonry. Our ancestors had to be creative when it came to recording information. The most common way was carving important information into stone and stone walls.

Recently, a slab of stone with engraved intricate lines and motifs dating as far back to the Bronze Age has been revealed to be Europe’s oldest map, researchers say.

As investigated by CNN, researchers utilized high-resolution 3D surveys and photogrammetry to examine the Saint-Belec Slab – an engraved and partly broken piece of stone that was discovered in 1900 but forgotten about for almost a full century. It was revealed to be the oldest cartographic representation of a known territory in Europe.

The Oldest Map of Western Brittany Recorded

The records of this map show that the slab was moved into a private museum, the National Museum of Archaeology, in the castle of Saint-German-en-Laye, in 1900. In 2014, it was rediscovered in one of the museum’s cellars.

After studying this slab, researchers recognized that its surface was deliberately 3D-shaped to represent a valley with lines in the stone thought to depict a river network. The team of researchers noticed similarities between the engravings and landscape of Western Brittany. There are still many unknowns to this story, including why the slab was broken in the first place.

This study was published in the French Journal Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française.

It is exciting and interesting to learn the different functions of stone, and how it has changed throughout centuries.

Construction on a 50-Story Office Tower in New York City

Construction of 787 Seventh Avenue in New York City

We are excited to share that we have been awarded a multimillion-dollar marble contract for our most recent project with the CommonWealth Partners’ property in the lobby of their 50-story office at 787 Seventh Avenue in New York City.

787 Seventh Avenue in New York City houses an athletic club, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a parking garage, two restaurants, and offers direct access to transportation. Our contract consists of removing and salvaging stone benches, planters, and lighting, known as Flanagan Sculpture. We are drafting, supplying, and installing over 20,000 square feet of Avorio Limestone, Calacatta Marble, Absolute Black Granite, Porcelain, Ceramic Tile, and Silestone. This project is estimated to be completed by the second quarter of 2021.

6 Types of Stone Commonly Used for Projects

Variety of stonesThere are countless types of stone that can be used as materials for building. Each stone is unique, not all stones are equal, and some perform better when you use it for materials. At Petrillo Stone, we commonly use 6 materials in our projects:

  1. Basalt: This stone is between medium and fine grain. It’s dark-colored and composed of plagioclase and pyroxene minerals. This stone is commonly used to build roads, bridge piers, dams, river walls, and statues.
  2. Granite: Granite has a crystalline structure, and the grain can range from fine to course. It’s mostly made up of quartz and feldspar, with a little bit of mica and amphibole. Granite is used in buildings, bridges, paving, and monuments. Indoors, it can be used for tile floors, stair treads, and countertops.
  3. Sandstone: Sandstone is commonly combined with silica cement, and this mix is used to build heavy, solid structures. It’s made up of sand grains and a mix of silt or clay particles to occupy the space between the sand grains.
  4. Limestone: We commonly use limestone although not all limestone is usable. Certain varieties have high clay content making them non-durable. But, limestone is compact and dense which makes it great for building materials for floors, roofs, and pavements. Salty air can abrade it, so it’s best not to use it in coastal areas.
  5. Slate: Slate is made of quartz, clay minerals, and mica. It is extremely fine-grained and is used to make roofing tiles and pavers.
  6. Marble: Marble is known to be strong, uniform, imperious, and polishes beautifully. It’s made out of crystallized carbonate minerals. It’s easily carved, hence all the ancient statues carved in marble.

Our Response to COVID-19: Our Services Remain Available

We hope that you and your family are staying safe and well during this hectic time. The team at Petrillo Stone is maintaining a 6-foot distance and keeping our hands clean.

In this scary and confusing time, we wanted to update our clients and let them know that we are still taking jobs. In order to keep our workers and customers safe, we are running only skeleton crews. In addition, we’ve been thoroughly sanitizing the touch surfaces on all of our equipment and vehicles.

We realize this is an evolving situation, and we’re keeping an eye on it every day.

Limestone carving by Petrillo Stone

Limestone Carvings of Ignatius Loyola

As part of our contract with Fordham University, we finished up these limestone carvings depicting Ignatius Loyola’s life.

To create these carvings, we used Indiana Limestone and the original molds from the 1950’s.

The finished carvings can be found in their home at a monastery in Shrub Oak, NY. Ralph Petrillo is pictured standing next to the last carving.

St. Regis Hotel

Restoring the New York Saint Regis Hotel

We were excited to take on this restoration project at the St. Regis hotel in New York City. The Regis is a chain of luxury hotels that was started in New York in 1904 by American businessman John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV.

The St. Regis of NYC is a 5-Star hotel overlooking 5th Avenue in Manhattan. It’s home to the famous King Cole Bar, where you can order their signature drink, the Red Snapper. One of the most coveted amenities of the hotel is their butler service. Each guest is assigned a butler who can accommodate anything they want, from ironing their suits, to digging up personalized reading material.

We wish we could have stayed at the Regis just a little longer…

Learn more about the St. Regis of NYC.

Restoring an Interior Wall at the Gucci Store in NYC

Interior Wall of the Gucci Store Restored by Petrillo Stone

We recently restored this interior wall of one of the Gucci stores in NYC. We were excited for the chance to work with one of the most successful luxury fashion brands in history.

Guccio Gucci was an Italian immigrant working at the Savoy Hotel in London. While working there, he was inspired by the high-end leather luggage that some of the guests brought with them. He visited the plant that produced many of the goods, H. J. Crave & Sons.

Later, he traveled back to his hometown in Florence, Italy to start his own luxury handbag and luggage company, which remains today as one of the leading luxury fashion houses. The word “Gucci” has become synonymous with quality ever since Lenny Kravitz described his bedroom as “very Gucci” in a 1999 article in Harpers Bazaar.