Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It is extensively used for sculpture, as a building material, and in many other applications. The word 'marble' is colloquially used to refer to many other stones that are capable of taking a high polish.


Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of very pure limestones. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally high magnesium limestone or dolostone with silica impurities. These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallised by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphism.

Uses. Marble has long been highly valued for its beauty, strength, and resistance to fire and erosion. The ancient Greeks used marble in many buildings and statues. The Italian artist Michaelangelo used marble from Carrara, Italy, in a number of sculptures.

Faux marble or faux marbling is a wall painting technique that imitates the color patterns of real marble (not to be confused with paper marbling). Marble dust can be combined with cement or synthetic resins to make reconstituted or cultured marble.

Marbles have similar characteristics to limestones and are typically used on the same applications, though, marbles are almost always more aesthetically valuable and available in much wider range of colors.

There are several types of marbles, including calcites (from calciferous limestones), dolomites (from dolomitic limestone), serpentines (typically green marbles) and travertines (sedimentary limestone). Each of these is similar in their composition, that being predominantly calcium carbonate, and their capability to take a polish.

Compared to granite, marble is a much a softer stone. It should not be cut on because it will scratch easily. But, it's not as soft as soapstone.

Marble is used for many things. Fireplace surrounds, flooring, sinks, vanities, closets, and for limited countertop use. It's also used for other items such as pillars, fountains, benches, architectural trim, and sculptures. Because it is a softer stone and easier to carve, items made of marble are usually ornate and very highly detailed