What is the best white marble?
True marbles are metamorphic rocks and are common across Europe, particularly in countries near the Mediterranean continental collision that created the Alps. Their abundance here explains the historical tradition of Greece and Italy.
Pure white marble is usually the result of the metamorphism (and hence recrystallization) of very pure limestone. The characteristic veins of many marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay or silt, which were originally present as grains in the limestone.
The mountains of Italy, particularly the Massa-Carrara region, have long been celebrated for their yield of high-quality ‘Carrara’ marble. The crystals in these marbles are well developed isolated crystals rather than confused aggregates. Carrara marble is identified by its white background and distinctive grey veining. Statuary marble, another white marble, is actually a type of Carrara marble. It’s very pure and often has little veining, making it perfect for sculptures and statues such as those created in the Renaissance. In some cases this process has produced white marbles of exceptional brightness.
Carrara is often favoured due to its relative resistance to shattering (making it easier to carve/shape), its brightness and its cultural value and heritage (from buildings in Rome to the work of Michaelangelo and Canova). Italian quarries have also set the highest standards for quality control and everything from selecting and cutting the blocks to packaging and shipping. It has widespread use in modern interior decoration. It’s thought this is because the white marble is clean, neutral and timeless so interiors can be updated without replacing the fixed marble elements.
White Carrara is one of the most common types of marble used, for example, in kitchens. It is often confused with Calacata, a slightly more expensive marble from the same region. When placed together Carrara tends to be slightly grayer with softer veining, while Calacata is whiter with bolder veining. Calacata is currently much more limited and due to high demand worldwide, so the prices have gone very high, especially for the most beautiful slabs. Both of these marbles make excellent choices for luxury interiors.
Where does other white marble come from?
Greece ranks among the top stone industries of the world regarding export volumes. The quality of Greek marbles is characterized as excellent and Greece is considered as one of the countries with the widest variety of marbles, particularly in white and light colored varieties. Turkish marbles are good too. Many other countries produce great marbles fit for purpose they just perhaps don’t have the cultural weight of those from Greece and Italy.
Wherever you source marble from, caution should be taken to ensure the marble has fewer geological flaws that display themselves as pitting, slight lines of separation, voids, chips or dull areas.