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Different Types of Marble

January 15, 2018

Different Types of Marble

Even though all marbles stem from the common origin of metamorphosed limestone or dolomite, marble is an astoundingly diverse material. Those similar chemical mixes result in a great diversity of colors and textures suitable for a variety of projects, from art, construction, and even your kitchen countertops! Marble is often thought of as a creamy white stone, such as the Carrara marble that hails from Tuscany, Parian marble from Greece, and Sylacauga marble from Alabama (which is regarded as the “world’s whitest”).  However, this is not always the case.

Marble exhibits a spectrum of colors. Some forms of marble even guarantee multiple colors within the same deposit. Griotte is a deep cherry-red marble commonly used in France that may be spotted with deep purple and bright white veins. Such contrast makes it one of the most beautiful varieties available. The deep black variety from Belgium produces very striking designs, particularly when it is used in combination with other contrasting colors of marble. Pavonazzo marble from Italy often resembles the white, creamy marble a person may typically think of, but it can also contain veins of yellow, red, and blue. Along the same lines, Tuckahoe marble from New York contains veins of orange and brown caused by rusting iron minerals, like hematite and pyrite.

Not all marbles are pure marble, as many contain veins of other minerals. Cipollino marble from Greece is a white variety that contains wavy ribs of green mica, chlorite, and epidote, and its color is said to mimic crocodile skin. Some marbles even preserve fossils, such as the Lahn marble quarried in Germany that contains a 380-million-year-old coral reef, and the Italian Red Verona marble that contains fossil ammonites and belemnites, two ancient types of mollusks.

Despite how they may look, some marbles are not technically marbles at all. Connemara marble, also known as Verd Antique, exhibits a mottled white and green appearance and polishes beautifully. However it is technically a breccia made from broken rock fragments that were later cemented together. Tennessee marble is actually a dark pink crystalline limestone, the rock from which marble is metamorphosed. It is used extensively in the United States, including the senate staircases of the United States Capitol Building. The dark Ashford Black marble is one often used for decorative inlays, but it is also a limestone, not a marble. Despite the confusion, these rocks are all still beautiful additions to art and architecture, and are used in the same ways as real marble.

All the above varieties of marble communicate the common themes of tradition and class. From its first popularized use in sculpture and construction by the Ancient Greeks, to the building of modern historical landmarks, marble conveys importance, beauty, and strength. Now that you know the many varieties of marble – from the pale whites to the shadowy blacks – all that is left to discover is what works best for your vision of your kitchen countertops.