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Amazing World of Marble

Amazing World of Marble

Marble is a natural stone that has amazed people with its mesmerizing beauty and unique qualities since the dawn of the world. When cut and polished this unique stone can be used for a great variety of stuff: floor and wall tiles, mosaics, facing stone, architectural panels, window sills, columns, stair treads, as decorative stone, for indoor and outdoor furniture, decoration accents and many more.

In addition to its numerous qualities and properties, marble also has an amusing side. Let’s explore more on this topic.

Interesting information about the origin and name of marble:

Most probably everybody knows that marble is a metamorphic rock but here are a few less known and interesting facts about its origin.

  • Today people know it as marble but back in the days the Greeks have called it “Marmaros” which basically means something very shining and beautiful. When it is well polished and clean, marble has excellent reflective properties and that is why people love it so much.
  • It takes hundreds of years for marble to form and therefore it is found among the oldest parts of the Earth’s crust.
  • Marble starts its life as limestone or dolomite and due to pressure and heat it transforms into a harder, denser and more colorful stone.
  • Some of the key marble components are calcite, dolomite crystals and aragonite.
  • Marble is usually found among other metamorphic rock such as gneiss and mica.
  • In Patagonia, Chile you can see the most beautiful blue marble formed in partly submerged caves.
  • Marble because of its Long period of service has been used successfully by the Romans, Greeks and other civilizations as well. It is estimated that it is utilized as a construction material for more than 2000 years.

It is curious that in ancient times people were able to tell where does the marble come from just looking at its color. Now, there are still kinds of marble that bear their historical name derived from the place of its origin. Here are a few examples:

  • Carrara Marble and Luni from Italy
  • Kishangarh Marble from Rajasthan, India
  • Durango Marble from Coyote Quarry, Mexico
  • Thassos, Paros and Penteli from Greece
  • Rouge de Rance from Rance, Belgium
  • Proconnesus from Turkey
  • Macael from Spain
  • Black Marble from Kilkenny, Ireland
  • Royal White and Beijing White from China
  • Yule from Colorado
  • Danby from Vermont
  • Boticena and Onyx (Green) from Pakistan
  • Makarana Marble from Rajasthan, India

Bizarre uses of marble: 

We know that marble can be used for a great variety of purpose both as interior and exterior material. We often see it in the bathroom, the kitchen, admire the eternal buildings and sculptures made of it but there are also other creations that perhaps will never cross your mind. Here are a few:

  • Carrara marble is used for iPhone 7 and notebook cases.

  • There are companies who make frames for eyeglasses out of marble.

  • Marble of exceptionally white color is sometimes used to produce a product known as “whiting,” a white powder that is used as a pigment, brightener, and filler in paint, paper, toothpaste and other products.

  • Dairy cows and chickens need a steady supply of calcium to produce milk and eggs. Farms that raise these animals often use animal feeds that have been supplemented with additional calcium. Powdered limestone and marble are used to produce these supplements because they are softer than the animal’s teeth, soluble, and rich in calcium.

  • Marble is composed of calcium carbonate. That makes it very effective at neutralizing acids. Highest purity marble is often crushed to a powder, processed to remove impurities and then used to make products such as Tums and Alka-Seltzer that are used for the treatment of acid indigestion.

  • Some marble is heated in a kiln to drive off the carbon dioxide that is contained within the calcite. What remains after kiln treatment is the calcium oxide – known as “lime.” Lime is used as an agricultural soil treatment to reduce the acidity in soil. When applied in combination with fertilizer, it can increase the yield of a soil. This test plot shows a portion of a corn field where no lime and no fertilizer were applied. The plants in that plot are struggling to survive.

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  • Marble is composed of calcite, a mineral with a Mohs hardness of three. It is softer than most bathroom and kitchen surfaces and can be used on them as a scrubbing agent without producing scratches or other damage.

Famous buildings made of marble: 

There are many famous buildings and constructions that are made of marble both ancient and modern ones. Here is a list of examples that will make you wonder:

  • The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is one of the most beautiful and famous buildings in the world. It was built between 1632 and 1653 as a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Marble was used extensively throughout the building, including the marble domes and towers.

  • Michelangelo chose pure white marble for his sculptures as it is translucent and light actually penetrates about 1 inch into the surface before being reflected. This makes his statutes of people look almost alive.

  • The Washington Monument was built of marble between 1848 and 1884. Initial work on the structure was done using marble from a quarry located near Texas, Maryland. The project was then delayed for nearly 30 years due to a lack of funds. When construction resumed in 1876, similar stone from the Texas quarry was not available, so stone from the Sheffield quarry near Sheffield, Massachusetts was used. The Sheffield quarry had problems delivering stone in a timely manner, and in 1880 their contract was cancelled. A new contract then went to the Cockeysville Quarry near Baltimore, Maryland which supplied a slightly darker dolomitic marble. These different stone sources can be seen in the monument as labeled in the photo above.

  • 530,000 cubic feet of marble were used for the construction of the New York Public Library in America, which was finished in 1911. The stone was used for flooring and to cover the exterior walls. The employees were required to wear rubber-soled shoes in order not to scratch the stone.

  • The Lake Palace, formerly known as Jag-Nivas, it’s a luxury hotel in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. It is made up of Indian white marble, and it is located on a natural foundation of 4 acres (16,000 sq mt.) on the Jag-Nivas island in Lake Pichola Udaipur India. It was built in 1743 in the supervision of Maharana Jagat Singh II and was called Jag-Niwas after its founder, the successive ruler used this place is as their summer resort holding their Darbar in its courtyard with columns terraces fountains and gardens.

  • The Supreme Court building of America was constructed between 1932 and 1935 using several different types of marble. Vermont marble was used extensively in the exterior. The inner courtyards were made using bright white marble from Georgia, and the interior corridors and entrance halls are made from creamy white marble from Alabama.

  • The Colosseum is located in Rome, Italy. This building was building was completed in 80 AD. The amphitheater was used for public spectacles, executions, battles and dramas.  At the time, the Colusseum could hold 50,000-80,000 people. The majority of this monument was built with travertine stone slabs, a very common building material in Italy.

  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a key place of worship for the whole of the United Arab Emirates. Finished in 2007, it is designed to unite the Muslim world, and it can be visited by more than 41,000 people during the celebration of Eid. The courtyard has what’s considered to be the largest example of marble mosaic in the world. There are 96 columns in the main prayer hall and they are all marble-clad and inlaid with mother of pearl.

  • The Sikh Gurudwara situated in Bidar distt. of Karnataka has water tank (Amrit-khud) built in made up of Indian white marble. Built in the Sikh architecture style, the Gurdwara is a lively blend of the Mughal and Rajput styles. Onion-shaped domes, multi-foil arches, paired pilasters, in-lay work, frescoes, etc. are of Mughal extraction, more specially of Shah Jahan’s period, while oriel windows, bracket supported eaves at the string-course, chattris, richly ornamented friezes, etc., are derived from elements of Rajput architecture such as is seen in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and other places in Rajasthan.

Places named after marble:  

Not only marble is named after the place it comes from. In the world there are also several locations and settlements named after marble. Some of the most popular examples include:

  • The Marble Arch in London
  • The Sea of Marmara
  • The Marble Rocks in India
  • The town of Marble, Minnesota
  • The town of Marble, Colorado
  • Marble Hill in Manhattan, New York

Interesting marble qualities: 

Marble is famous for its qualities like durability, easy maintenance, resistance to bad weather and the incredibly astonishing collection of colors, however there are also a few more properties that will make you choose it for your next renovation project.

  • Because of its density and durability marble is also hypoallergenic. Therefore, it is a popular choice for people with allergies or for families with small kids.
  • Marble is heat resistant; it doesn’t absorb heat or energy quickly and is quite suitable for countries with hot climate. That is one of the reasons why this incredible stone is so often found in the Mediterranean countries and in India.
  • There are no two slabs of marble that have exactly the same pattern. This makes the stone so exceptional but also means that you have to pay extra attention when choosing floor or wall tiles and always order from the same batch.

  • Marble can be a host rock for corundum, spinel and other gem minerals, even rubies. There is an interesting specimen of white marble with a large red ruby in it found in Afghanistan.
  • When marble is cut into blocks and slabs of specific size it is referred to as “dimension stone”.

 

 

 

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