Synonymous with luxury, marble is a classic material that is always popular. To get technical, marble is a metamorphic stone composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals that is relatively soft and porous; within that category are a wide range of different marble types.
Grain, color and vein pattern are what differentiate one marble type from another. There are at least 60 types of marble, found in deposits all over the world. The most popular marbles for interior decor and furnishings are:
Carrara marble is an extremely high quality stone found in Tuscany, which is used extensively by Italian designers. Carrara ranges from white to blue grey in color, and is notable for its linear veining, which can be soft and subtle or quite dramatic. Carerra marble has been used since the days of the Roman Empire, making it quite literally a classic.
Calacatta comes from the same region as Carrara marble, and looks fairly similar. However, there are a few significant differences that are worth considering before choosing one or the other. Calacatta tends to be a brighter white than Carrara, and its veining is both larger and higher in contrast.
Emperador is a distinctive dark brown marble, quarried in Spain. It features fine veining, and is available in two grades; First and Standard. First Grade Emperador is uniform in color, with a small amount of white calcite included. Standard Grade Emperador shows more variation in color, and more white calcite inclusions.
Surprisingly, travertine isn’t technically a marble at all. Like marble, travertine starts out as limestone before metamorphosing under extreme pressure into something new. But while marble takes well to polishing, travertine tends to look better in its natural matte finish. Travertine can be identified by the holes or pits in the stone, and its pleasant, warm coloration, which ranges from white to walnut brown.