Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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Marble – the natural stone with magical radiance


Finding out more about real marble is also interesting and useful for those who are not particular fans of stone, as marble is the undisputed king of rocks. No other natural stone enjoys the same level of esteem.

First, we will clarify where the name marble comes from. Marmorus comes from the Greek and was a term for a block of rock. The natural stone of marble has many different definitions. Geologists define it as a metamorphic rock converted from limestone. Formed from limestone due to an increase in pressure or temperature, marble has medium to large crystals and a typical, sugar-grain appearance.


In its purest form, marble is white, but foreign components give it colour as patches or veins and form flames, grains, stripes and clouds in an extremely varied way. These impurities naturally cause coloured marble. Iron compounds, for example provide yellow, red and brown colouring, while graphite dyes black and grey.

Pure white and ideally suited to sculpture, statuario marble is translucent to a depth of up to 25cm, giving it its typical and unique shimmer. But marble of this quality is relatively difficult to find.


In Ancient Greece, where particularly white marble originated, it was named after the place it was found, such as Parian (the island of Paros), Naxian (the island of Naxos) or Pentelic (Pentelikon, Attika) marble.

In the construction industry, in retail and in everyday speech, any limestone which is solid and thus can be polished is also referred to as marble. Both limestone and marble are formed from a single mineral, calcite, along with additives from the region, the place it is found or the quarry, such as Lahn marble.

Only experts are able to differentiate between real crystalline marble and marbled limestone. The basic differentiating features are listed here for lay people:

  • Metamorphic marble has large crystals in the form of grains of sugar, is translucent in slabs, and has no cavities or embedded fossils.
  • Marbled limestone has fine crystals, is not translucent, sometimes has cavities, and embedded fossils are relatively common.

Then there are also imaginative names for products which actually have no petrographic relationship to marble, such as:

  • Castellina marble, a name for the plaster variety alabaster
  • Gypsum marble, a name for an artificially produced material which uses colour and skilful drawing to simulate marble
  • Stucco marble is the definition for a mortar made from limestone, which is applied in many layers before, in the final stage, a painter applies a pattern to give the appearance of marble

Find out more about the fascination of marble

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Mar 31, 2020
8:30:00 PM CEST