Capturing the Essence of Northern Minnesota
Northern Minnesota boasts striking beauty that has been shaped by forces of nature, time, and the turning of the seasons. Tilting volcanic bedrock and receding glaciers left depressions that are today’s lakes. Violent shifts of tectonic plates gave rise to the Sawtooth Mountains. The unceasing motion of Lake Superior carved out a dramatic shoreline. This diverse region is where we draw our reclaimed materials.
Blending Innovation and Artistry
We enjoy relaying the history of taconite mining in Minnesota because it is a story of innovative engineering—and it helps to explain how we re-imagined the reclaimed materials and how our AuroraStone™ evolved.
After World War II, the steel industry’s growing demand for iron ore spurred University of Minnesota mining engineers to develop a unique and cost-effective way to extract iron ore from the sedimentary rock of Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range.
First the rock is crushed and pulverized. Then magnetism extracts the iron particles. After processing the iron into marble-sized balls, these taconite pellets are shipped from Minnesota ports through the Great Lakes to steel producers throughout the world.
The aggregate “tailings” from the mining process become our treasure. At our crafting plant in Hutchinson, Minnesota, AuroraSurfaces melts the quartz and silica-like minerals in a super high temperature plasma furnace and then casts the melt into handcrafted molds, encouraging the lustrous shading and luminescence so reflective of the ancient rock and waters of Northern Minnesota. We call our beautiful material AuroraStone. AuroraStone™ is stable, durable, and weather resistant, equally ideal in either indoor or outdoor spaces. No wonder so many people tell us that our pieces help them to stay connected with nature and achieve centered moments in their lives. You can read more about the Story of Taconite here.