I hear and read so much garbage about 'grades' of Granite.
Let me expound a bit on this subject. There is no universal grading system for Granite. Each individual factory makes their own determinations about what is First, Second, or in some cases 'Commercial' grade. Ideally, when a factory owner cuts a block of say Santa Cecelia, they know what they expect it to look like. These people are very sophisticated at what they do. This is not happenstance. I had factory owners showing me blocks that they knew were going to yield 2nd choice or commercial grade. Sometimes, they are surprised, but not usually.
Virtually all Brazilian factories 'resinate' their slabs. This is a different, yet related, subject. If the Santa Cecelia, which is supposed to be pale yellow with black and gray, with garnets and a gentle flow, somehow has a football sized black spot in the middle of it, it will be termed 2nd choice, or perhaps even commercial. Structurally, is it inferior? No. It is a color flaw only. It will 'perform' no differently. As a fabricator, I'll cut around that spot. As a distributor, they can't buy materials like that because the normal fabricator will jump up and down about the spot.
Now, I'm not saying that all US distributors ignore 2nd and 3rd choice stones. Because, I know first hand that they buy 2nds and 3rds all day long. There are some materials, like Boreal or Key West Gold, that are infamous for having blue spots in them. Depending on the size and location, they may be graded from 1-3. Is there any structural problem? No. The problem I have with some distributors is that they'll buy what I know are clearly second choice stones and then charge A grade prices. There are four that service this area that are famous for that.
To summarize, there are about 4 primary reasons why a slab may be downgraded. Spots, coloration, fissures or cracks, and pocked surfaces. Fissures and filled cracks [with epoxy resin by the factory] are a part of some stones. You know they are going to be there. Most factories are good at filling voids, but some are not. These can certainly downgrade a stone. But, frankly, we can fix even a bad patch job by the factory.
Now, pocked surfaces are a problem. Can we fix them? It depends. It is a function of time. Do you want to devote one employee for 8 hours to try and salvage a slab of Tropical Brown? The math is not favorable for that. When we or our agents examine stone, one of the first things we'll do is look at the surface 'down light'. That is where the pits or pocks will be noticable. Tropical Brown and Baltic Brown are two to examine closely.
This is Golden Shadow, 2nd choice. In all likelyhood, this is probably New Lapidus. Different factories use different names. Note the color change from the top portion to the bottom section. That is why this was a '2nd choice' stone.
Therefore, 'grades' are in the eye of the beholder. If it is pleasing to your eye, and some little Brazilian inspector deemed it 2nd choice, so what? If you like it, that's the bottom line.