Edge profiles for granite are created by beveling the edge of the stone into particular profile shapes. Traditionally, these edges were beveled by hand, but a growing consumer desire for perfectly even edges at reasonable costs has led to many companies using more modern technologies to ensure consistency. There are 12 basic shapes, but technology has advanced to the point where custom shapes are also available on occasion.
The first thing you will need to pick for your granite countertop edge is the overall shape or profile you want it to have. Base styles include the bullnose, bevel, ogee, knife edge, and straight. Each of these (with the exclusion of straight) has its variations, including partial and extreme or deep versions. The most basic of these is the straight edge, which is where the edge of the countertop has been squared off, then had its sharp edges beveled off. Most countertops will come with this as their base edge, and other edges will be cut into it.
From the straight cut, you can choose an angled cut, a rounded cut, or something a little bit fancier. If you like rounded cuts, you can choose between a full bullnose, which has a profile similar to a half circle, or a partial bullnose, which is circular at the top edge but squared at the bottom. If you like the rounded look but want something showier, the ogee cut is for you. Similar to the bullnose, it is mostly rounded, but has a sharp lip before it goes into its curve.
For more angular options, bevels and knife edges offer the clean lines you seek. Bevels are simply sanded off edges at the angle of your choosing (and in the direction you seek in the case of the inverted bevel), where the knife edge is a slightly rounder version of the inverted bevel.
Granite slabs are usually an average of an inch thick, which leads to several different options of thickness. You can have an edge that goes as small as 1/8th of an inch or go all the way to almost the full inch, but the majority of common edging options range from ½ inch to ¾ inch. The thickness of your edge will determine how far back the granite fabricators will have to begin the cut to ensure the integrity of your slab, so it’s best to discuss the options before you set your heart on a specific thickness.