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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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Blue Cabinetry and Veined Marble

Room of the Week: Deep Blue Cabinetry and Veined Marble Forge a Wow Kitchen

Photos by Shannon McGrath.  Answers by Kate McMahon and Rob Nerlich, directors of mcmahon and nerlich

Full article on Houzz.


Who lives here: A semi-retired couple who were downsizing from a significantly larger residence
Location: Malvern, Victoria
Room purpose and size: A kitchen and dining room with French doors to a courtyard. The area is 32 square metres in total.

Brief 
The clients were looking for a relaxed setting to reflect their love of fine art, cooking and reading, extended family entertaining and events. They wanted something informal with a hint of country, but with quite a sophisticated and beautiful material palette. The budget didn’t permit a radical transformation to the rear facade, yet we had to improve the indoor-outdoor flow.

Starting point
We began by prioritising the large island bench. Freeing it of services meant it could provide a generous preparation area and become the centrepiece for relaxed social interaction, with leisurely cooking prep and glasses of wine over a long lunch or dinner. We also had to accommodate a freestanding Lacanche cast-iron range, which provides a hint of country charm and complements the French doors.

Key design aspects

  • The stone is the feature element and the hero of the kitchen.
  • The remaining materials were selected to respond to the ‘hint of country’ in the brief, with a contemporary feel.
  • We introduced a third set of French doors to improve the indoor-outdoor flow and balance the facade. Together they work to provide the look the clients wanted.

Colour palette: A custom deep- blue based on ‘Blue Lobelia’ from Dulux was the only colour applied. The balance of colour comes from the remaining natural materials themselves.

Materials palette: Arabescato Vagli stone features on benchtops and splashbacks and is complemented by the warmth of the Victorian ash shelves and the deep-blue cabinets. The engineered-timber floor was selected for a touch of country style.

Key pieces of furniture/fittings
The Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen AJ Royal pendant light above the dining table is from Cult. The feature kitchen pendant and spotlights are from Darkon. The timber table is by Mark Tuckey, while the dining chairs are from Danish Red in Armadale. The black steel planter boxes are from Redfox & Wilcox.

Thinking behind the arrangement of furniture/fixtures: Everything is organised around the generous island bench, the kitchen is complemented by the adjacent timber dining table to provide a place for the family to eat, read, study, relax and converse. Open timber shelves increase the practicality of the high overhead cupboards and allow for display of glassware and objet d’art.

A significant part of the brief was to house the clients’ enormous book collection. The dining room wall is fully lined with the cantilevered timber shelves, which work with the Mark Tuckey timber table. The marble is also used as shelving, with the cabinets dividing the kitchen and living room fashioned into a full-height bookshelf, and a hybrid marble-timber bookshelf in the end of the kitchen island itself.

Vertical elements such as the integrated refrigerator and pantry are located together opposite the French doors, and appliances and sink arranged along a long bench to the rear. A frameless, flush range hood is perfectly concealed behind the overheads. The pantry doors open to reveal hidden additional bench space, complete with sensor lights and marble. Deep overhead cupboards imply a continuous surface, elegantly resolve the junction with the pantry, and create a recessed appliance area.

Challenges you worked around
The clients wished to negotiate with a particular builder, which caused some challenges with budgets at a late stage, however, everyone pushed through these issues in good faith to obtain a great outcome.

Why do you think this room works?
We love this room because it is a deep response to the personalities of the clients and their design commission. For a semi-retired couple in a conservative suburb of Melbourne, most designers and clients would err on the side of restraint. Yet our clients had a real appreciation for art and literature and immediately responded to the artistic provocation of this incredible Arabescato Vagli marble, as well as the resonance of the deep blue. We presented it to them and they loved it.

The design is contemporary in nature, but with all the timber and marble elements balanced, the centrepiece of the island bench and the introduction of the triple French doors, it still references a hint of country with a relaxed and informal setting.


Want to shop this look? Check out Arasbecato Corchia and Arasbecato Don from our Carrara Marble range.

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.

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Italian Marble Quarries As Never Seen Before

Photographer Luca Locatelli goes literally above and beyond to take these stunning photographs of Northern Italy’s marble quarries. Capturing these ancient pieces of large, white stone, being quarried and processed into what will become an ever-so-desirable marble kitchen benchtop.

Article shared from anothermag.com


Majestic Views of Northern Italy’s Spectacular Marble Quarries

Spellbound by the ancient white quarries of his home country, photographer Luca Locatelli set out to capture them from the air

He’s well known for his awe-inspiring photographs revealing how humans and technology are altering the world we live in, so it should come as no surprise that Luca Locatelli’s body of work about Northern Italy’s majestic marble quarries delivers a devastating blow – in the best possible way. Locatelli was recently shortlisted for an award in this year’s Sony World Photography Awards for White Gold, published by The New York Times Magazine, which series turns the spotlight on the Italian marble trade.

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Credit – Luca Lucatelli

The Italian photographer has been training his lens on the stunning Apuan Alps. An area rich in marble. The naturally occurring and extremely desirable stone made from tiny crystallised creatures compressed over hundreds of millions of years. Since Roman times, humankind has ripped the dazzling white stone from the land via hundreds of quarries that operate in the region. Activity in this part of Italy is as intense as ever.

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Credit – Luca Lucatelli

Outside of the country, current demand mainly comes from cities from Abu Dhabi and Mumbai to Beijing. With the marble destined for mosques, malls and hotel lobbies as well as lavish palaces. To say it is big business is an understatement. Quarries such as Henraux Cervaiole, the Calacata Borghini and the Borghini, all of which Locatelli photographed, are working flat-out to keep up with demand.

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Credit – Luca Lucatelli

As Locatelli’s images so powerfully show, the quarries are staggering in terms of size and shape. Their sheer scale is not always immediately obvious. Look once and you’ll see the jagged side of a mountain. But look again and you realise there are tiny tractors and men crawling all over. Using a drone to capture many of the most breathtaking views from above, Locatelli also went inside the quarries, boarded a cargo ship that transports the marble, and visited a workshop where sculptors are pictured honing their craft.

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Credit – Luca Lucatelli

“The marble quarries of northern Italy are famous around the world. They are so impressive.” says Locatelli, who is based in Milan.

“I was curious to find a way to shoot them – to show their majestic dimensions. So I was making pictures, which I started to share on Instagram.”

Shortly afterwards, The New York Times Magazine contacted him suggesting they work together on a project.

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Credit – Luca Lucatelli

“For thousands of years we have taken from the mountains and created a powerful alternate landscape,” he continues. “You can see those mountains as ruined by humans, but at the same time, the mountains – and this is what attracts me to the story – are in some of the best pieces of art we have on the planet. […] I wanted to talk about what’s behind those great pieces of art.”

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Credit – Luca Lucatelli

Luca Lucatelli's photograph of Italian marble quarries

Credit – Luca Lucatelli


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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?

Yahoo.com  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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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)