Inside Granite Quarry, Winnsboro. South Caroliniana Library.

Blue Granite

The state is famed for Winnsboro blue granite, which was quarried for many years in Fairfield County. The stone is of light blue color and contains particles of mica, feldspar, and quartz. It is much prized in construction and decoration.

State stone. Blue granite was designated the state stone by a law approved by Governor Robert McNair on June 24, 1969. Legislators declared that “the blue granite stone of this State has been widely used to beautify all areas of South Carolina.” The state is famed for Winnsboro blue granite, which was quarried for many years in Fairfield County. The stone is of light blue color and contains particles of mica, feldspar, and quartz. It is much prized in construction and decoration.

Granite is a coarse-grained igneous stone produced by slow cooling and solidification of molten rock. Winnsboro blue has been used in the construction of churches, houses, gravestones, and fence posts since the early nineteenth century. The Winnsboro Granite Company quarried and shipped the “beautiful blue” for many years, and the stone acquired national renown as “the silk of the trade.” It has been used in such structures as New York City’s Flat-Iron Building, the old Charleston Post Office, and the great dry dock of the Charleston Naval Shipyard. It was used for the Jean Ribaut Monument at the U.S. Marine Corps Depot at Parris Island and for Charleston’s John C. Calhoun Monument. The Fairfield granites won a medal and diploma at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

After Winnsboro blue was no longer quarried in South Carolina, stocks still remained in the state, and the stone was still found in Elberton, Georgia. In 2002 the Willis Dimension Stone Company of Elberton donated Winnsboro blue to Shaw Air Force Base to be used for a monument to firefighters who served at New York City’s “Ground Zero” on September 11, 2001.

Jacobs, Thornwell. Story of “The Silk of the Trade.” Rion, S.C.: Winnsboro Blue Granite, 1952.

South Carolina. Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Immigration. The Granite Industry of South Carolina, U.S.A. Columbia, S.C.: State Company, 1906.

Yates, Nancy C. “Amethyst and Granite: The Official Gemstone and Stone of the State of South Carolina.” Sandlapper 4 (March 1971): 24–27.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Blue Granite
  • Author
  • Keywords State stone, Winnsboro blue granite, Fairfield County, World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date July 28, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 1, 2019
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