The beauty of marble was admired in Greece and Rome, and later – in Italy and France. It is really a very beautiful stone, especially if the surface is polished brilliantly. In Greek “marmaros” means “shining stone”, or “glittering stone”. Nowadays marble is mined in many countries, but the most famous is still Italian and white Carrara marble, the most valuable for sculptors. Parian marble from Greece is equally famous, traditionally it is yellow. Marble is also mined in Natal, Karelia, the USA and North Africa, the Far East, Armenia and Georgia, Ukraine and the Urals.
Marble and its features
Marble is formed from dolomite or limestone formations. The structure of this rock may include other minerals, such as quartz. Note that the marble has medium strength, and if the structure of the mineral is impure, it responds to low temperatures badly as well. The stone with a fine-grained structure is the most durable. Marble is easily worked, in particular – polished. Moisture absorption coefficient is about 0.15 – 0.50%. There are several types of marble according to the peculiarities of the structure. Composite rocks may have inclusions of other minerals (chlorite, talc, etc.) in the form of bunches or lodes. But shelly marbles consist of a great number of mollusk shells, which are interconnected with a limestone base. Marble is presented in a range of different colors. It is the “color” of marble, which determines its value, rarity and price. Let’s start with creamie.
There are almost no foreign inclusions in the structure of this stone, and its structure is fine-grained and homogeneous – that is, it is very durable. The use of whire marble to create a sculpture is a luxury for any master. Parian creamie “Lychnites”, which was mined deep underground with oil lamps illumination, has been known since the times of Ancient Greece. This marble has a slight translucency. Parthenon was boult from Pentelic creamie mined from Mount Pentelicon. Its peculiarity is that in the course of time golden-brown patina with greenish veins of talc or mica appears on its surface. Since this amazing texture is drawn with layers, and the lines of mica resemble onion, the Italians called this type of marble very laconically – “cippolino.” Carrara creamie was also very appreciated in Italy (Apuan Alps). Creamie with blue veins is produced in Algeria, and near Florence – «bardiglio» – creamie with inclusions of red. There may be even purple inclusions in the structure of creamie (“pavonazetto” type).
Rouge marble is one of the valuable types of stone. In particular, there was known a type of monochrome rouge marble in Greece, produced on the territory of Mount Taygetos. One of the most beautiful rouge marbles in the 18th century was “serancolin” (Pyrenees, near Sarancolin). The main feature of this type is that its color was not only red, but also included multiple gray, purple and red “coulees” (waves). It was very popular in the days of Louis XIV. Specifically, this marble was used for manufacturing furniture panels in France. There is rouge marble «griotte» (the 17th century) as well. One of its types, «aveyron», had the texture of red and black drawings with white spots, and if there were chaotic white stripes, it was “La griotte de la France”. In Spain there was known rouge marble brocatel, which consisted of a great number of fragments of shells. It was mined in Tortosa. One of the most beautiful marbles is the Tyrolean ammonite one. How is rouge marble formed? In the structure of the stone there is clay-slate in the form of strongly curved layers that lie between the limestone areas. Nowadays rouge marble is mined in Verona, Salzburg, Belgium, Riviera, Scandinavia and other areas.
Other varicolored marbles
Yellow marble is equally famous. It was first brought to Rome from Numidia. It took much time, and only in 1870, this type of marble was re-opened by the French. By the way, marble is characterized by the tendency that most valuable types were opened “for the second time.” The history of using marble is a very distant past, as the epochs changed, and the ancient territory and culture did accordingly, so many fields of marble were forgotten (sometimes for several centuries). Yellow marble can be interspersed with black and brown colors in the form of strips, rings, spots. The most beautiful yellow marble is “marbre d’Antin”, popular in France. Among green marbles, note “carystium” type – with white stripes, and in Genoa “verde antico” type (with black spots) was mined. In France, green marble was popular at the end of the 18th century (“verde d’Egitto”, “le vert Campan” types). Purple marble is a rarity, it is mainly presented by several breccias. Breccia is a rock that consists of fragments connected by the bulk. “Violetto antico” type (Rome) is characterized by the presence of white spots, and “la breche violette”, breccia known in France, includes fragments of white and dark red. Blue Marble is less valuable compared to others, but it is not less beautiful. Typically, the color will not be marked blue, but rather – grayish gray-white or blue-veined. The known types are “le bleu fleuris” (blue-gray, with black “break” veins), “le bleu turquin” (blue-gray with black, white stripes). One of the most resistant to external factors is gray marble, so it is used both inside and outside. Drawing in gray marble is distributed layered and resembles a cloud texture. Among the well-known types one should note “pedochioso” (with white spots), and with red spots – “Sainte Anne francais”. At the end of the 19th century gray Carrara marble was imported in France. Another original look of gray marble should be mentioned – it is “pietra stellaria”: its peculiarity is that it is formed by fragments of shells white and gray coral, with a cross section in the form of stars. Black marble was mined in Carrara and Pergamum. Types with white veins strips (“lucullan paragone”, “nero antico”) are known, as well as inclusions of other colors. For example, black with white and red spots is a type of “africano antico”, with yellow – “di Porto Venere”, blue-black with orange-yellow inclusions – “portor” type. In France “vert le mer” type – black marble with gray and green spots in the form of thin undulating bands – was popular.
The usage of marble
Marble has excellent moldability, so it is used not only in the interior cladding, but also for exclusive decorative items. It may be flowing shapes, reliefs and sculptures. Also unique mosaic compositions or panels are made of marble. Visually, it looks like a sophisticated painting on a shining stone. If such compositions are laid out on the floor, then this is probably the piece of work. Moreover, handrails and steps, fireplaces, columns, window sills, countertops, and many other elements of the interior are coated with marble. Note that there are types of marble, which are transparent (but it is not so marked as in onyx) that allows one to create original lighting effect. In landscape design small architectural forms are made of marble – but it is often implemented only in design projects. Moreover, besides ordinary marble, marble chips or crushed sand are used – for production of plaster, mosaics, or as a filler in concrete.
The usage of marble is suitable for creating any interior style – classics, modern, minimalism, Asian, ethnic style, and many others. If the room is properly decorated, with the background of marble only a few accents will be enough to denote a particular style. Marble is perfectly combined with other materials – metal, glass, ceramics, as well as its background stand out handmade products.