Every four years, one winter sport in particular manages to capture the international zeitgeist for the briefest of moments before disappearing into obscurity until the next Olympics. Nestled in between events that require athletes to hurl themselves from the tops of mountains and launch themselves into the air with blades attached to their feet, curling functions as a mental reprieve for those of us who are more athletically challenged.
There’s something wonderfully ordinary about men and women of varying levels of fitness playing glorified shuffleboard on ice. However, as comparatively undemanding as curling is on the body, the same cannot be said for the curling stones themselves.
It turns out there are very few types of rock in existence that can withstand the stress of gliding along melting ice and smashing into more rock. Most granite is too quartz-rich for it to withstand the impact under curling conditions, which is what makes the granite found on a tiny deserted island off the Scottish coast so special.