Wyoming Decorative Stone

Wyoming contains a wide variety of granite, marble, sandstone, quartzite, gneiss, limestone, and volcanic rocks suitable for use as decorative stone. Because the United States imports approximately 80 percent of the dimensional stone used in interior and exterior construction, the decorative stone industry has great potential for growth. With convenient transportation and a wide variety of rock types and colors available, Wyoming is one of the most promising locations for expansion of this industry. Limited exploration for stone has occurred in southern Wyoming during the past 12 years. Requests for local stone products, rather than imports, appear to be driving a small interest in Wyoming stone.

Dimensional stone is quarried in large blocks by sawing or drilling the stone. The material is then either processed on site or shipped by truck to a fabricating plant.

Wyoming contains extensive outcrops of rocks of many different colors and lithologies suitable for use as decorative and dimensional stone. Currently, the only dimensional stone quarry is Strid Marble & Granite’s Rawlins sandstone quarry in the Cretaceous Mesa Verde Formation, located southeast of Rawlins, Wyoming. Strid operates a stone fabrication plant near Cheyenne.

In the past, stone quarried in Wyoming was mostly used locally. Quarries near developing towns provided stone blocks for public and private buildings, curbs, walkways, and other purposes. During the late 1800s, three quarries in Wyoming shipped stone to out-of-state markets. The Waterfall Quarry near Kemmerer in western Wyoming was the source of the stone used to construct and face the city hall in Portland, Oregon. A gray sandstone quarry near Rawlins supplied dimensional blocks for construction of the Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne, the Union Pacific Railroad depot in Ogden, Utah, and several buildings in northern Colorado. The University Quarry in the Casper Formation near Laramie furnished stone for about half of the buildings on the University of Wyoming campus. Some stone from this quarry was also used on private buildings in Laramie and Cheyenne, and Fort Collins, Colorado.

Grant Ranch marble. [Credit: R.E. Harris]
Raven granite
Raven Quarries’ Mirage Granite. [Credit: R.E. Harris]

From the early 1900s through the 1950s, the Jay Em Stone Company in Jay Em quarried granite, marble, onyx, quartzite, and other rock types in eastern Wyoming and in the Black Hills of South Dakota for use as monuments and other products. In the 1950s and 1960s, Basins, Inc. of Wheatland quarried and sold several types of decorative aggregate including green serpentine and various colors of marble. In the late 1970s, Georgia Marble acquired Basins and continued quarrying white marble west of Wheatland and processing it into decorative aggregate. Georgia Marble was purchased by Imerys Marble in March 2000, and the pit operation closed in March 2004.

Raven Quarries operated a site in northern Albany County where it produced two types of granitic rocks until 2003. A black amphibolite, Wyoming Raven, quarried here was used to construct Bill Gates' house in Seattle, Washington.

Strid Marble & Granite Company currently quarries Wyoming granite and red sandstone in Carbon and Converse counties, respectively. Large blocks of quarried stone are removed from the outcrop, and finishing work is completed by the Dakota Granite Company where the stone is prepared for final applications. Some of this stone was used in the remodeling work on the Herschler Building in Cheyenne.

Other contracts include decorative accents in federal buildings, church cornerstones, and monuments. The variegated pink granite, first called Fantastico, then Mirage, was quarried until February 2003.

Wyoming continues to produce decorative aggregate and fieldstone, most of which is sold to the Colorado Front Range and Utah Wasatch Front markets. However, distributors in California, Illinois, and elsewhere have expressed interest in some of these products and have purchased small amounts of material for market testing. Wyoming hosts nearly as many different colors and varieties of stone as the rest of the world combined. However, no dimension stone quarries are currently active in Wyoming.

Map of Wyoming's Decorative stone
Samples of potential decorative, dimensional, and ornamental stone in Wyoming.


Further information on Wyoming’s decorative stone resources can be found in the following WSGS publications, both of which present colorful summaries of the wide variety of decorative stones found in Wyoming.

Harris, R.E., 1991, Decorative stones of Wyoming: Geological Survey of Wyoming [Wyoming State Geological Survey] Public Information Circular 31, 27 p.

Harris, R.E., 2003, Decorative stones of southern Wyoming: Wyoming State Geological Survey Public Information Circular 42, 55 p.


Christopher Doorn, christopher.dorn@wyo.gov