Marble is made up mainly of recrystallised carbonate minerals, and geologists use the term to described metamorphosed limestone.
The different types of marble natural stone is usually classed in three different ways:
Dolomite – if magnesium carbonate content is over 40%
Magnesium – if magnesium content is between 5% and 40%
Calcite – when magnesium carbonate content is below 5%
Marble stone is the preferred kind of this natural rock when used in sculpture and architecture, including in foyers, bars, tables, countertops, bathrooms, fireplaces and the like, since it looks incredibly elegant and is very easy to clean.
It can have a glossy or non-glossy surface, as well as a non-reflective finish, recommended for outside uses.
Further marble stone can be further divided into pure white or coloured – with available shades including yellow, grey, green, pink and brown.
Many different countries produce their own kind of marble – some of which may or may not be classed as such by purist geologists. These include Egypt, India (whose white marble was used to build the Taj Mahal) much of Europe, North America, Australia and much of Europe.
In Britain and Ireland, types of marble include the Ashford black and Purbeck varieties (although the latter is no longer quarried), as well as those from Connemara, Iona and Sussex.
Two of the more popular types of marble are from Italy, Carrara and Calacatta, and they can look quite similar since both are white with grey veining. However, Carrara tends to be greyer with a softer, more linear veining, while Calacatta is a bolder white and its veining is more striking.
Another key difference is that Calacatta is the rarer kind of marble, and so is considered a luxury stone. Its heavy veining is in stark contrast with its crisp white background, and so can make for a striking appearance when it comes to showers and floor tiles.
At the same time, though, Carrara, the more readily available marble, is another beautiful and classic choice for bathrooms.
With so many different kinds of marble available on today’s market, make your choice carefully and seek professional advice about what looks best in your environment if you need to.
And remember, whatever kind of marble you have, follow our marbleguide to keeping it in good shape in between professional cleans.