Carrara v Calacatta.
White marble, dark-veined, Italian origin.
Both stones are highly desirable and have been used for centuries. From the construction of cathedrals to Michaelangelo’s most famous sculptures to your next-door neighbour’s kitchen benchtop.
These white marble beauties have been quarried from the Carrara mountains since antiquity and show no signs of stopping – this is where the most volume of marble in the world is produced!
So what’s the difference?
For two types of natural stone that are quarried from the same region of Carrara (but from different parts of the mountain!) and commonly mistaken for the other, there are a few points of differences that set each marble apart. Here are 3 quick ways to tell how.
Carrara marble comes in varying shades of blue-grey, described as being “muddier in colour” when next to a piece of Calacatta. The veining is smaller, softer and tends to be more linear. Sometimes Carrara can appear granier.
A true piece of Calacatta marble is pure white, with darker, more dramatic and prominent veining. People have believed for many years that the more expanses of white on the stone, the more desirable.
And from both Carrara and Calacatta comes more different styles. Statuario is a version of Carrara but with bolder, bigger expanses of grey veining. Calacatta Oro is a stunning varation of Calacatta, with chunky gold veining.
Carrara is the most common stone from the Carrara region, and is produced in abundance! You’ll find no shortage in the mountains nor the household.
With Calacatta however, there is less availability and it is much rarer. This plays a big part in why Calacatta is considered one of the most luxurious and sought-after marbles.
Believe it or not, Carrara can be as inexpensive as Granite. Because of its availability, it is generally a lower cost than the rest of the Carrara grades.
But we are talking the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to the cost of Calacatta. Considered the most luxurious, this is the most high-end, high-priced natural stone you’ll find on the market. They say, the whiter the Calacatta, the higher the cost.
Does this mean one may be more maintenance than the other? No. Besides the difference in price and popularity, Italian marble is still made up with calcium which means that both Carrara and Calacatta are porous and more susceptible to etching. But, with the right amount of TLC and upkeep of a protective sealer, a Carrara benchtop will see you through for many years.