Marble is a beautiful stone that is arguably the most commonly used stone for interior design in homes and offices. Marble is in such high demand that faux marble has become an industry of its own, making several marble-like fixtures available on a budget.
The popularity of marble is attributed to the intricate veining of the stone, the variety of colors, and the general classic look of marble. Real marble stone has a cooling effect to it as the stone has a natural temperature that is a few degrees cooler than the temperature of the room. Marble is a timeless material that makes any room exquisite.
Marble was originally used by ancient civilizations in Greece and Rome for sculptures, furnishings, and for building temples. These natural stone formations were highly-prized for their smooth appearance, and cold temperatures that gave a feel of sophistication reserved only for the highest of social classes.
Many wealthy homes were built with marble columns, as they showed off the status symbol of an individual. Temples and other places of worship were made with marble as an ode to the mystic beings worshiped in those areas.
During the French Renaissance period, sculptors preferred to use marble for their works as the stone was soft enough to chisel without breaking, and provided an almost transparent hue to the finished work. The result would be sculptures with a soft finish, mimicking the tenderness of the flesh. Works like Venus de Milo were carved from a single block of pure marble.
Natural marble can come in a variety of shades from dazzling white with gray veining, to a stunning black background flecked with gold and white veins. Marble can come in shades of beige, brown, hues of blue, green, and even pink depending on the composition of the stone during formation, as well as the location in which the marble was quarried.
Carrara marble is known as the most common type of marble, renowned for its snow-white background, feathery gray veins, and smooth surface. The stone is sourced from only a few quarries in Carrara, Italy, making it a rare find. Calacatta marble is similar in appearance, but has a higher value due to its relative rarity.
Popular black marbles include Nero Portoro marble, which has beige to gold-like veins, Marquina Black marble that resembles a starry night, and the coppery-black Noir Saint Laurent marble. Silver beige marble, on the other hand, leans towards the gray scale, as does Fossil marble. Other colors are available depending on the region of origin.
Beneficial Features of Marble
Despite being a high maintenance material, marble is surprisingly durable when properly kept - surpassing the test of time as seen in many structures and sculptures that date all the way back to ancient times.
Ancient Roman and Greek marble pillars, temples, and coliseums still stand today as they outlived the societies that built them. Renaissance sculptures, like the famed Statue of David, continue to intrigue the art world with the philosophies of renaissance works. Greek temples depicting the myths of gods and goddesses pass down their stories to present-day generations.
Other than being durable, marble presents a smooth finish that compliments other materials well: from wood to concrete, and from steel to resins. Marble gives off a cooling effect in any room the stone is in, and is generally pleasing to the eye. Marble can have a matte finish when sealed with a matte protective layer, and is perfect to use for flat surfaces.
Uses of Marble
Modern day uses for marble stones lean towards the architectural side as marble is one of the most commonly used materials for countertops, flooring, tiles, and decorative fixtures. Homes and offices that prefer an air of class over the rustic look would often have a marble centerpiece in a coffee table, cabinet, floor design, or other furniture.
Marble has even found its way into the culinary world as marble slabs are used to serve cold appetizers and dishes in fine dining restaurants. Cuts of Carrara or Calacatta marble would be used for charcuterie, while the pitch-black hues of Nero Portoro offer a stunning contrast with the red, white, and orange hues of sashimi.
Niche uses for marble also exist, and the demand for marble has increased over the years with the minimalistic and natural aesthetic. So revered is marble that plain, cut slabs of marble have replaced sculptures and paintings in designer homes, offering a minimalist design while keeping the natural stone material.
Marble is a high maintenance material known for its smooth surface. However, the smoothness of the material can be easily corroded by typical household cleaners, acidic solutions, and moisture when not properly maintained.
Avoid using acidic solutions on marble whether the material is sealed or raw. Even mildly acidic solutions such as vinegar, lemon juice, or carbonated drinks can cause etching in marble, which would give off a rough, cloudy-white appearance that is indicative of damage. The damaged spot would be susceptible to mold and water damage when left untreated.
The best care for marble surfaces would be to use a gentle stone cleaner that is commercially-bought, or made from castile soap diluted with water. Heat and marble do not mix, and avoid scrubbing the stone with abrasive materials during cleaning. When properly cared for, marble will last for generations!