Marble is a natural rock with a great texture, formed by limestone or dolomite rocks that, subjected to high temperatures, undergo a recrystallization process. It can be found naturally in stratiform or irregular masses, depending on its origin. It has been known and used for various purposes since the Silurian geological period of the Paleozoic era, 443 million years ago.
It is mainly composed of calcium carbonate (CO3Ca), which defines the white color, but its shades and physical characteristics are the result of the intrusion of some components, also called impurities: magnesium silicates, mica, quartz, chlorite, iron oxide, including precious stones such as garnet.
The hardness of marble is 3 to 4 on the Mohs scale it’s another of its unique characteristic . It is scratched by steel and any other material of equal or greater hardness, which explains why, when subjected to a simple abrasion process, and without the need for chemical additives, this mineral achieves great shine this is why marble is a precious material. Cut in thin sheets, it is translucent or transparent. It is susceptible to acids.
Main deposites of marble
The most famous deposit in the world is Macael, in the province of Almeria, Spain, known as the City of White Gold since the Phoenicians found a vein of white marble in its mountains in the 5th century BC.
Macael is a commercial and touristic reference for its numerous quarries and quarrying sheds; squares, monuments and other public spaces elaborated based on the rock. The perennial exploitation in this province was initiated by the Muslims, who called the white marble al-mulaki, the royal, and used it especially in funerary works.
Another famous marble is that of Carrara, Italy, extracted from the Apuan Alps. Its characteristic whiteness and blue tones make it a perfect material for the elaboration of utensils and decorative objects. Blocks of Carrara marble are used in the construction of public buildings and patriarchs’ houses in Rome. In art it has had significant value, as seen for example in the sculptures of Michelangelo and Donatello.
In Rome it was exported using the port of Luni, which is why the Romans also called it lunense marble or marmor lunensis.
In the past it was extracted from Mount Hymetus, south of Athens. It was of an ashen color that produced a bad odor when cut, as it was partly composed of organic remains. However, it was used in the form of pillars in important buildings, such as the Basilica of San Pietro in Rome.
The Siboney gray marble is extracted in Cuba and is one of the most used for its concealing color (black and white figures). Also in the Caribbean country there is the serrano green variety, of great beauty and resistance.
Use of marble stone
Since ancient times, marble applications, have been used for construction, architecture and art, taking advantage of its characteristics. From small utilitarian and/or decorative pieces to large sculptures have been carved with it. There are marble stone of different colors, grains and textures: uniform, marbled (splashed) or veined (straight patterns), each one more or less functional in certain fields.
Nowadays, marble and its enviable characteristics are used for covering walls in interiors and exteriors, denoting beauty, class, prestige and durability. It is quite easy to clean, durable, shock-resistant and endures high temperatures. Hospitals and other medical services opt for marble because it favors asepsis, the absence of germs.
It is a quality material that provides elegance, that is why it is used in walls and floors of rooms or buildings of great concurrence, museums, meeting rooms, hotel halls, squares and government palaces. Marble pieces are also used in kitchen tops and shelves.