Types of marbles, curiosities to know

1 Jun 2023 | News

There are different types of marbles, all of which can be classified according to their mineral composition, geographical origin and color. However, few are fully aware of its characteristics, varieties and criteria for distinction. If you would like to learn more about this topic, we invite you to continue reading: in the next few lines we will take a journey through the different types of marbles, from the best-known ones to others that are less well-known, but no less interesting.

Types of marbles, basics

The term comes from the ancient Greek marmaros (μάρμαρος), the meaning of which was “polished stone.” It is a metamorphic rock, that is, one that can change structure and mineral composition based on changes in the original environment, usually related to an increase in pressure and temperature.

In addition, marble falls into the category of sedimentary stones, formed by the progressive superposition of several layers of organic or inorganic material in contact with air or water. Therefore, it has a schistosity (tendency to flake into planes parallel to each other) that is more or less pronounced, but still present and able to affect the cutting parameters.

The extraordinary luster of the material is due to the presence of CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) in high amounts, as well as the reaction between limestone and dolomite. Mutual interaction between the two minerals results in the formation of calcite and dolomite crystals, the latter containing substantial proportions of magnesium.

With a heterogeneous structure, marble has a variable grain size, on which its mechanical peculiarities and ease of processing depend. In principle, the smaller the grain size, the easier the cutting and processing of artifacts.

The rock in its raw state does not possess high hardness or porosity, but it boasts extraordinary compactness. It is susceptible to color changes when exposed to the sun and, non-gelling types aside, we do not recommend its use outdoors. We at Lanzeni Mario Srl will offer you targeted advice regarding the most suitable marble types for your home.

What are the main types of marbles?

We can distinguish types of marbles according to composition, geographical location, and color.

Taking into account the first criterion, marbles can be distinguished between:

  • clastic marbles, found as small accumulations in rocks, cemented fossils, and in siliceous and calcareous materials;
  • crystalline limestone marbles, characterized by the presence of large crystals and the total absence of impurities;
  • cryptocrystalline limestone marbles, have a less defined crystalline structure than their predecessors, and within them contain colorful fossils responsible for the different colorations;
  • Serpentine marbles, also called “Prato green marbles,” originate from the rock type of the same name, serpentine. In addition to green, these marbles can take on colors that tend toward yellow and blue.

Based on the second criterion, we will rank by continent, citing the major producers:

  • Europe (particularly in Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Belgium, Ireland);
  • Asia (China and Turkey);
  • Africa (Namibia, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia);
  • Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, USA).

As for Oceania, the continent boasts a variety with extraordinary luster and hardness (Opal White), mined in Australia.

The colors of the most commonly used marbles

Probably, you have already realized that another valid criterion for distinguishing between types of marbles is determined precisely by hue. In fact, the existence of so many varieties is due to the presence of impurities trapped within the lattice and subsequently re-crystallized. Here are the most important ones:

  • hematite (Fe2O3) and rutile (TiO2), both for pink, red and brownish;
  • Pyrite and graphite for all shades of light and dark gray;
  • chlorite for every shade of green;
  • sodalite for the blue varieties;
  • sand, clay, and earth for dark yellow and brown shades;
  • Amphiboles for shades of gray-green.

In classical times, sculptors, architects, and artists did not even consider this type of stone when it had streaks or coloring visibly distant from white. Colored marbles, in fact, were considered dirty, not usable for making sculptures and monuments.

The classification between monochrome and polychrome marble types is noteworthy. One has a uniform hue, while the other does not. The polychrome rocks can be further subdivided according to the directionshape of the colour irregularities as well as the nuance of the background. Following the first criterion, we provide you with a list of the main ones:

  • veined, characterized by streaks contrasting with the dominant color;
  • mottled, having patches of various shapes and sizes;
  • arabesques, white with black outlined designs, resembling arabesques;
  • flowering, with lighter patches and curved lines;
  • mandolate, having nodular spots;
  • Dendritic, branching motifs;
  • lists, where there are bundles of parallel, thin lines;
  • stained.

As for the background shade, you can find the following types of marbles:

  • peach blossoms, white with streaks between purple and red;
  • paonazzi, yellow veined with green and purple;
  • onions, blue-gray with veins on green.

To these we must add mixtures (limestone rocks with amphiboles, sometimes obtained artificially by mixing with glass paste) and breccias (mixtures of cement and limestone). The colors of marble, therefore, go far beyond the classic cliché of the snow-white slab.

Prices and which type of marble to choose

The amount charged for siding, flooring and manufactured goods made from this material are calculated per square meter. Marble prices also vary, on average, according to quality: keep in mind that the rarer it is, the more expensive it is.

The choice depends on the furnishings in the house and their location. Frost-resistant types of marble, such as Botticino and Pietra di Trani, are perfect for exteriors, while Carrara, arabesque, Rosso Veronese and Perlato di Sicilia are fine for thresholds, stairs and interior baseboards.

Portoro di Portovenere, Calacatta, Candoglia and Statuario di Carrara are ideal for luxurious settings; in the kitchen, on the other hand, Occhialino marble, Chiampo marble and Rosso di Levanto stand out, with good results also for bathroom furnishings.

The types of Lanzeni marble in Bergamo and province

Purchasing all types of marble (in slabs or blocks) cannot be done without the advice of specialized personnel: there are, in fact, no varieties that are adaptable to all kinds of buildings and weather conditions, so you will always need to consult an expert before installation.

We at Lanzeni Mario srl, a leading company in the industry, have been providing support in the selection, design, processing, execution of special treatments and on-site installation of marbles in Bergamo and throughout the province since 1970. We offer our services at detached and condominium units for residential use, hotel destinations, and other building structures, in full compliance with the provisions of the zoning laws.

Our trained consultants will be able to show you the types of marbles to furnish your space. We have a wide assortment of materials for exteriors, interiors, entrances, kitchens, living rooms, and many solutions for bathroom furniture, with the emphasis on quality and aesthetics.

Varieties available include Calacatta, light and dark Guatemalan Green, Verde Alpi, Collemandina, Graphite,Grigio Olivo, Nero Marquinia, and arabesque Orobico gray or red. To learn more, visit us at our headquarters or contact us by phone, e-mail or form-we will be happy to answer your questions and clarify any concerns.