Marble withstands storm at Taj Mahal complex

Marble Withstands Storm at Taj Mahal

Want to use marble outdoors, but worried how marble withstands storm and other weather conditions?  reports on two ancient pillars sadly being destroyed by the storm just days ago. Meanwhile, four white marble minarets surrounding the Taj Mahal survived the violent winds. Yet again standing against the test of time.

Violent winds topple stone pillars at Taj Mahal complex

Agra (India) (AFP). A violent storm has destroyed two ancient pillars at the entryways to the Taj Mahal, an official said Thursday. Underscoring the fragility of the centuries-old marble monument to love.

The four-metre high sandstone minarets topped by ornate spires were left in chunks after being felled by strong winds late Wednesday.

“Two decorative pillars collapsed last night amid high-velocity winds. One of the pillars stood at the royal gate. The other at the southern gate.” an official from the Archaeological Survey of India told AFP.

None of the four white marble minarets surrounding the Taj — or the spectacular shimmering mausoleum itself — were damaged in the storm, authorities said.

Tourists often get their first glimpse of the Taj — a UNESCO world heritage site — through the royal gate, a grand fortress-like entrance made largely of red sandstone. It was flanked by two imposing minarets before the storm brought one crashing down.

Footage showed the stone pillars lying in large broken pieces. The distinct spire is still intact but separated cleanly from the shaft. Nobody was injured by the falling steeples, authorities said.

Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth in 1631.

The Taj is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Beset by problems from air pollution yellowing the marble to insects leaving green stains on its rear wall.

Efforts to restore its grandeur have dragged into a fourth year, with scaffolding marring the view for the 10,000-plus tourists that visit the 17th-century mausoleum every day.

Work is yet to begin on its main dome, with authorities concerned about how to proceed with handling the fragile centrepiece.

The Taj has attracted world leaders and royalty, including former US President Bill Clinton. Diana, the late British princess, was famously photographed alone on a marble seat there in 1992.

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Azul Macauba, a blue Quartzite used in this state of the art pool

Blue Quartzite Beauty – A Pool House

A Beautiful Sight, the Blue Quartzite.

We love our selection of blue Quartzite stone slabs at Victoria Stone Gallery. Check out this pool house we came across. Designed by a New York architect Rafael de Cárdenas, for a mid-19th-century English country manor.

Cárdenas’ approach to architecture and design “sees it apply form and materials to create spaces with distinctive atmospheres”. Blue Quartzite marble, the perfect distinctive material to use.

Azul Macauba, a blue Quartzite used in this state of the art pool

“Given that the pool house was going to be its own building, the main thing was to make it feel like a destination.” said de Cárdenas. “Something quite distinct from the main house, that would draw on and complement its surroundings.”

Other natural stone included in this state of the art pool house is on the walls and the floor around the pool. Botticino marble tiles makes up the floor, treated with an anti-slip rullato finish on the floors.

Azul Macauba, a blue Quartzite used in this state of the art pool

The book-matched Azul Macauba quartzite, creating the intense blue colour of the pool really caught our eye!

Quartzite is an increasingly popular choice amongst homeowners, designers and architects. Not to be confused with  Quartz – the man-made material created by mixing crushed stone with colour and resin to form an engineered slab. Quartzite is formed by naturally occurring metamorphic rock. It starts out as sandstone and evolves over time under intense heat and pressure. Look out for exotic patterns of pinks, greens, reds, brown and blue quartzite that mainly come from Brazil.

Check out our evergrowing Quartzite collection. We have plenty more arriving in the new year! Our favourite blue quartzite is our Blue Roma. We currently have it available in a polished or leathered finish. Read about some other alternatives to marble.

Watch this video of Azul Macauba being quarried in Brazil.

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Outdoor Stone

VSG is Rained Out Today! But What About Our Outdoor Stone?

Victoria Stone Gallery is closed today, as we stay indoors and prepare ourselves for three months’ worth of rain to fall over Melbourne and the State over the next three days. This has been predicted to be the worst downfall since 1993! But this has got us wondering about outdoor stone…

Which of our stones can be used outside? What will withstand weather such as this, the best and the worst? How do we care for our natural stone applications in such cold, wet and on other days – warmer – climates?


  • Rain and wind will wear away the thin polished layer on the surface of marble, it’ll take away its shine and expose the rough interior/natural state of the stone.
  • Keeping a marble table outdoors but under cover will reduce the chances of the seal wearing away faster.
  • In some colder places, others will have to consider the freeze and thaw cycles, but fortunately, this isn’t a major risk for marble tables and benchtops as moisture inside the stone will evaporate from all sides.
  • In hot climates, the porous nature will leave it susceptible to heat retention.
  • Certain types of marble also have a potential for damage if they contain a large number of veins.Tip: Applying a sealer to the top surface of a table will allow for the surface underneath to keep rainwater on the top surface from absorbing. This goes on to prevent any major cause of cracking.Travertine
  • Naturally occurring air pockets within a Travertine slab may create structural issues if water were to collect in these recesses.
  • Travertine really works and looks well outdoors, bringing a further sense of nature to the setting.Tip: Consider a honed or leathered finish on Travertine to complement its texture and reduce the need to polish.Granite
  • This is your toughest stone to take on to the conditions, the most non-porous of all the stones!
  • Popular for outdoor applications not only for being the least absorbent to liquids and staining but also resistant to fading
  • Requires little maintenance.Tip: Darker stones will absorb the heat, so be careful with your hands on it in the summertime!Quartzite
  • One of the densest natural stones with high density, low porosity, and very low water absorption rates
  • Resilient to challenges from the elements such as staining from leaves and other foliage
  • Its textured surface contributes to its high resistance to slipping when wet, a good option for tiles around the pool!

What we can suggest for all outdoor stones…

Prioritise durability over looks, reseal regularly after cleaning the stone thoroughly from dirt and debris, and consider finishes other than polished, like leathered or honed.
Try to steer away from polished for outdoor use, it is a lot more susceptible to outdoor conditions and will quite easily lose its shine. Whereas you will find that a textured finish works and holds up really well!

From the team at VSG, we hope you and your outdoor stone stay safe and dry from this weekend’s extreme wet weather conditions!