The Majesty of Marble

The Majesty of Marble

December 30, 2014

Few things rival the beauty of marble. This majestic material has been used as a building material since ancient times. A favorite medium of the Greeks and Romans, marble has been a cultural symbol of refined tastes ever since. Today, marble is still a favorite material when creating a look of luxury.

What is marble exactly? Scientifically, marble was once limestone. Intense pressure and heat altered its crystalline structure and introduced other minerals, which produce various colors and veins. Commercially, any stone capable of taking a polish (with the exception of granite) is known as marble. This includes travertine, onyx, and limestone. Marble is quarried throughout the world, most notably in Italy, Spain, Germany, Canada, Greece, and the U.S.

White marble is one of today’s most popular choices for interior surfacing. Though in classical times it was prized for its use in sculpture. Artists preferred white marble because it was soft and pretty shatter-resistant, which made it easier to carve. Marble contains calcite, which has a low index of refraction. This means that light can penetrate several millimeters into the stone before being scattered out. This characteristic gives marble a waxy look, which gives “life” to sculpted pieces.

Italian Marble at The Breakers in Newport, RI

Italian marble serves as the backdrop for festive holiday decorations at The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island.

One beautiful example of a breathtaking marble interior is the mansion built as a summer home for Cornelius Vanderbilt II in Newport, Rhode Island. Now owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County, the home was built using marble imported from Italy and Africa (plus rare woods from all over the world.) Completed in 1892, the home’s Great Hall features limestone figure groups over each of the six doors, which lead from the room. These figures celebrate humanity’s progress in art, science, and industry and feature Galileo (science), Dante (literature), Apollo (arts), Mercury (speed and commerce), Richard Morris Hunt (architecture), and Karl Bitter (sculpture).

Inside or out, marble creates a timeless, majestic elegance that’s impossible to deny. Visit us at one of our two New England area showrooms to see our amazing selection of marble. No matter what you’re creating, or what color you prefer, we’ll help you select the perfect slabs for your project. We’re happy to answer your questions about marble or any other natural stone surface.


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