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Materials - Marble

Marble is a crystalline, compact variety of metamorphosed limestone, capable of taking a high polish. Commercially the term is extended to include any rock composed of calcium carbonate that takes a polish, and includes some ordinary limestones; the term is further extended in the loose designation of stones such as alabaster, and serpentine.

The surface of marble crumbles readily when exposed to a moist, acid atmosphere, but marble is durable in a dry atmosphere and when protected from rain. The purest form of marble is statuary marble, which is white with visible crystalline structure. The distinctive lustre of statuary marble is due to the effect caused by light penetrating a short distance into the stone and then being reflected from the surfaces of inner crystals. Carrara marble, occurring abundantly in the Apuan Alps of Italy and quarried in the region about Carrara, Massa, and Serravezza, was used in Rome for architectural purposes in the time of Augustus, the first emperor, but the finer varieties of sculptural marble were discovered later. The greatest works of Michelangelo are made of this marble; it is used extensively by contemporary sculptors.

Other varieties of marble contain varying amounts of impurities, which cause the variegated patterns of colours for which many marbles are prized. They are used in building, particularly for interiors, and also in small ornamental works, such as lamp bases, tabletops, desk sets, and various novelties. Statuary and building varieties of marble are distributed over the world in thick and extensive deposits.

We include here a palette of some of our most popular materials. This display is not extensive as there are many others to choose from that are available to us from worldwide resources.