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Carrara v Calacatta – What’s the Difference?

Carrara v Calacatta

A look into a Carrara quarry.


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.


Colour

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.

Carrara and Calacatta are easily told apart by their veining. All photos of actual stock.

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.

All photos of actual stock.

Availability

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.

Just some of the Carrara range available at Victoria Stone Gallery. All photos of actual stock.

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.

Carrara v Calacatta

Calacatta Extra bookmatched. All photos of acftual stock.

Price

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.

Now just to decide – Carrara or Calacatta? Consider the look that you like and the budget that you can work with. We’ve got the availability covered right here!

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Carrara Marble Quarry

Builders Turn to Carrara Marble Quarry

The Carrara mountains in Italy have been producing beautiful white marble since antiquity. In modern times, they produce the most volume of marble in the world

Read the article below for an insight into how Italy’s Carrara Marble Quarry is standing now and still one of the most desirable choices of stone.

Browse our range of Carrara marble.

 


Builders Turn to Italy’s White Gold

There is no end to demand for ‘Italy’s white gold.’

For many people, that white gold is not metal but marble from the town of Carrara in Tuscany. The marble mining work in Carrara is ancient. Workers first began removing stone from the mountains of Tuscany more than 2,000 years ago.

The ancient Romans were the first to recognize the beauty of the marble. Millions of people still go to Rome to see famous monuments made with the stone. Two examples are the Pantheon and Trajan’s Column. And then there are famous statues like the David and the Pietà by the sculptor and painter Michelangelo.

So what is happening in Carrara today?

A visit to modern day Carrara

Sculptors, other artists and designers of buildings have never stopped making trips to the Tuscan town.

M.J. Anderson, an American, first visited Carrara 36 years ago, when she started creating sculptures. She loved the look of the beautiful stone.

Anderson says she likes to take things apart. “The great thing about carving marble is that once that stone is gone, it’s gone. You can’t lament about it and this keeps you moving forward in the creative process,” she said.

Sculptors like Anderson know they are dealing with something very special.

“There’s no surprises when you are carving it. The molecules are put together very well and there’s so many different kinds of marble here. That’s what’s so special.”

That is what is bringing in orders and big money from all over the world. Carrara’s marble is in great demand in the Arab world and in countries like China, India and Thailand. Buyers want the material to use in the rooms and floors of their homes. Others want art made of the stone. For example, a few years ago, a request came for a huge block of marble to be used in a massive statue of Buddha.

An increase in the building of mosques and Islamic centres, especially in the Arab world, has meant even more demand and big business for some marble companies.

The Saudi Binladin Group, one of the world’s largest builders, got control of 50 percent of Marmi Carrara in recent years. Marmi Carrara owns a third of the marble quarries that are operational in the area today.

“Just the name Carrara basically says it’s the world’s best marble. It is the most beautiful. It has a centuries’ long history of being the best marble in the world and people come here looking for and wanting the very best,” Anderson said.

Read the full article here.

Hard marbles being quarried in India

Hard Marbles from India / Less Worry in the Home

Often we have customers come into our gallery who have already ruled out picking marble as their natural stone kitchen benchtop or island. Some don’t want to deal with the maintenance and others are under the impression that all marble is too delicate.  This can be true if looking at Italian or Greek marbles which need a little extra TLC. They require being resealed more often and are more absorbent and porous compared to a quartzite or granite. But here, we have a huge selection of hard marbles from India and other parts of the world.

These are slabs that are classified as marble but perform like a quartzite or granite and are a perfect option for your home!

Geologically, how are these hard marbles harder than your typical soft marble?

From the beginning of the natural process, sedimentary stones start with limestone; a compacted seabed of crushed shells.  This is the softest and most porous of all the marble family. The top powdery layer of the limestone bed doesn’t contain any of the seashells but more of a fine powder of crushed shells and lime. This mix compacts very well and is what is called a dolomite.  Dolomites are typically harder than limestone, thanks to its fine powder that compacts better.

When the limestone or dolomites are further compacted with heat and pressure, they enter a metamorphism process and become marbles. If the compaction is extreme, this is when the resulting marble can turn harder and denser.  Think of Greek or Italian marbles not getting to this point, hence them being softer, less dense and more porous.  This stage in the process establishes the difference between soft marble and hard marbles.

There is no scientifically proven answer as to why these harder marbles are coming from Indian quarries.

Maybe because they have been quarrying for much shorter than the 2,000 years that the Carrara mountains have been excavated from. Some have speculated that the Indian quarries have been untouched for so long that the minerals have been left beneath the crust of the earth to crystallize under heat and pressure for a longer period. Or it could simply just be due to the forces of nature over millions of years.

Not only do these harder marbles quarried in North India outperform the Greek and the Italian marbles but they come in such a wide variety of different colours and patterns. They are also the noticeably inexpensive option. Here’s what’s out in the market:

Fantasy Brown is a well known Indian hard marble amongst the industry.  Its makeup, performance and its type is summed up perfectly below, from the article Is Fantasy Brown a Marble or a Quartzite?.

“It mostly does perform like a quartzite or a granite. It’s a great stone. Geologically it does have some calcium carbonate & thus is a marble. A very hard marble. Even so, we have never noticed it etch, but since there’s some calcium carbonate we called it what it is – marble (just in case).” – Jeff @ Architectural Granite and Marble, Ltd. (AG&M).

Other common Indian hard marbles are:

San Simone
Aba White
Mercury Black
Bruno White
Atlas Green
Cyprus White
Chateau Blanc
Rainforest Brown
Eclair White

As it goes for any stone, we do still strongly suggest to our shoppers that sealing is a must for these hard marbles.  The slabs are still compromised with calcium carbonate that reacts with acidic substances.  A sealer applied by an industry professional will protect and buy you much more time to wipe up spills that can react with marble!

 

More About Marble

More about Marble

Thinking about buying Marble for your benchtop in Melbourne, Victoria? Here are some fast facts to get your shop on! Find out some more about Marble.


More about Marble

What type of natural stone is Marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock. It forms when limestone is subjected to the heat and pressure of metamorphism. This video of marble quarrying in the Italian Alps shows some neat footage of how marble can be quarried.

Carrara Italy – marble quarry in Fantiscritti valley. Marble works of Miseglia. Apuan Alps mountains.

Uses for Marble?

White Marble has been used for centuries in classic sculptures to construction. You might recognise it in such works of art like Michaelangelo’s, David, or the Taj Mahal, even recently in modern-day photo shoots like the one campaigned by NZ brand Lonely Lingerie where woman modelled next to Carrara Marble. Marble is commonly used in Melbourne in the bathroom, kitchen benchtops – Where the Kitchen starts, splashbacks or reception counters. Don’t let the characteristics of Marble scare you away from using it in your home! Read our post on Marble & 5 Facts Nobody Will Tell You.

Why should you choose Marble?

It’s beautiful and timeless. Homeowners and Melbourne stone fabricators sometimes shy away from marble being one of the softer natural stones and more prone to etching and stains. The right care will maintain it and you’ll have a stunning marble benchtop, adding value to your home. Read this amazing story on Natural Stone at home? How much is it worth – who knows how much value your marble benchtop or marble bathroom may bring you!

How do you maintain Marble?

Be sure to seal your marble benchtop every one to two years. Protect your marble benchtop from vinegar and citrus’. Avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners on your marble benchtop.

 


Check out our Marble catalogue.

Lonely Lingerie models in Italian Carrara marble
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Honoring the Female Form: Lonely Model Alongside Italian Carrara Marble

A New Zealand-based lingerie brand is celebrating women of all shapes and sizes.  A stunning new underwear campaign sees models posing alongside classic Italian Carrara marble sculptures.

Lonely Lingerie enlisted photographer and artist Yumna Al-Arashi to shoot models Naomi Shimada, Riya Hamid, and Ayesha McMahon at a classic marble atelier in Carrara, Italy, for its Autumn/Winter 2017 campaign.

Since Ancient Roman times, sculpt depictions of the female form have been carved out of Italian Carrara marble. And the three models look right at home posing next to the statues’ marble curves.

Lonely Lingerie models in Italian Carrara marble

Photo taken by Yumna Al-Arashi for NZ lingerie label, Lonely

The brand prides itself on its honest representations of women. The company explained that ‘modern portrayals of women have never been more unrealistic,’ in comparison to classic works of art.

‘Where once curves, imperfections and realism were celebrated, many representations of women now seek unrealistic and potentially damaging ideals.’ Lonely said in a press release.

Unlike many advertisements found in today’s media, Lonely’s campaign aims to honour the female form rather than depict unobtainable body shames, homogenised ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, and heavily edited and retouched images.

Carrara’s marble has been used to make some of the world’s most famous sculptures, including Michaelangelo’s David and Pieta.

‘I visited an incredible atelier in Carrara. Home to some of the most famous marble quarries on this planet.’ she said of her inspiration behind the shoot.

‘Michelangelo’s hands worked in this town, and its marble has built structures that have withstood the test of time.’

 

Source dailymail.co.uk, lonelylabel.comyumnaaa.com

 

Check our Italian Carrara marble range.

Scan of Ebbets Field Marble Natural Stone Slab

Natural Stone At Home? How Much Is It Worth?

Like everything, natural stone types go in and out of fashion, bringing the cost up and down. The trends and styles in design dictate the demand upping the supply increases and the costs. Lucky for some, this means the stone you have in your home could double, triple or even more in value just by the clock ticking. Check out this article we came across about one lucky mans’ find…

In 1990, a Brooklynite was at a New Jersey construction salvage yard examining a pile of marble slabs for a table top. After a short bidding war, he obtained a 21-pound slab of Italian natural stone for a very modest sum and lugged it home where it resided for the next 25 years. The owner knew it had something to do with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ fable ballpark from 1913 to 1957.

The holy relic, from Ebbets Field’s ticket rotunda, recently sold for $72,000 in a Heritage auction. Shipping was only $45 due to Fed Ex’s great rates.

“It stands as the most significant artefact from the storied Brooklyn landmark in private hands. Second only to the original cornerstone at the permanent collection of the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Heritage noted.

On February 23, 1960, before a wrecking ball, painted at the whim of a dark humorist with the white hide and red stitching of a baseball, swung the dramatic blows that wiped the Dodgers off Brooklyn’s map. Salvaged were any contents of monetary value. For five dollars, the seats were unbolted and hawked off. Discarded bats and photos were sold at auction. And, as the exterior walls of the grandstands fell, the valuable white marble of the rotunda was carted off and repurposed in the Tri-State area’s inexhaustible rush of progress.”

Browse through the Victoria Stone Gallery collection to find the perfect stone for your project at a great price.

Natural stone truly can add to the value of your home more times than not. Stay on top of trends and choose wisely!

(Source, forbes.com, ha.com)