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Marble Types & Identification (Part I)

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Most of us can probably identify marble when we see it, but it takes a pretty keen eye (and maybe some geology knowledge) to be able to spot the different types – and this is not a bad skill to have when you’re selecting your next marble countertop.

What’s hot and what’s not in the world of marble is always up for debate. Last year it was Carrara, and maybe this year it’s Makrana. But, if you don’t know the difference, then what does it matter?

First, we’ll take a look at marble types.

Marble Types

To the layperson, there’s only one kind of marble, and that’s marble – it either is or it isn’t, and the type is of no consequence. But, for a connoisseur it’s all about the type, and there are many.

In fact, there are too many to name here. Marble deposits can be found in 26 different countries, and each is specific to the kind of metamorphic processes that formed it in those locations. Of those countries, 12 have two or more marble types.

If we focus on the most popular stone as defined by use, we can chisel this list down to about 15 types. A handful of these include Carrara (Italy), Sylacauga (USA), Parian (Greece) and Makrana (India).

Mistaken Marble

The above does not include rock that a lot of people call marble, but is really either a) limestone, b) serpentinite or c) a composite of some type. These include Vermont marble, Connemara marble and composites like Terrazzo, which is made from marble chips.

That’s not to say these are inferior options; they’re just not marble. And, for people who want real marble it makes all the difference.

Check back tomorrow and we’ll tell you all the ways you can test your marble to better know its type. 

The “Chantret” pedestal table by Design Toscano is hand carved in the Louis XV style and features a solid marble top.

This freestanding vanity by AA Importing comes topped in black marble with a walnut finish.

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