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How to Shop for Marble

By Dwell @dwell
There's no denying the appeal of marble in the home—it's one of the most prized materials in kitchens and baths. To shed some light on the buying process, we interviewed expert Arthur Moloian, senior manager of merchandising at Ann Sacks Tile & Stone. He shares information on the increasingly popular strains of marble, advice on how to shop for marble, maintenance musts, engineered alternatives that offer the look of natural stone without all of the fuss, and words of wisdom. Slideshow Stained black and painted white cabinets and countertop

What are the five most popular types of marble to use in the kitchen?

Current design trends have strongly favored classic white marbles, many of which come from the Carrara region of Italy. Strong for the last few years this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. These stones are on the pricier side (compared with marbles from China and Turkey) but of the five below, Carrara and Venatino are at the lower range, and then Statuary, Arabascato and Calacatta are at the top of the price range. Pricing ranges considerably based on the specific stone color and veining quality, fabrication detail, fabricator, project location, etc. A Carrara countertop can range from $70-125 per square foot fabricated and installed. Calacatta can be double that or more. Each of these stones is further complicated by numerous sub ranges of color and aesthetic quality. Hand select your slabs when possible. There are many marbles in the world, and some less expensive variations; however, the classics from Carrara are the most sought after and in highest demand.
All of these stones, the most popular currently, are from the same region of Carrara, Italy in the north west coast of the country. While Carrara marble is the most common, all the other marbles noted below run adjacent to or right through the Carrara veins in the mountain.

  • Carrara is the most common and classic marble in this category makes up most of the quarries supply in this region. The stone is a soft gray white background with a subtle and diffused light to medium gray veining throughout the range.
  • Venatino is a whiter cousin of Carrara, quarried at an adjacent mountain range, this stone is often called White Carrara because it typically has a much whiter background than standard Carrara.
  • Statuary is defined by a bright white background color with much stronger often thick heavy dark gray vein running through the stone. The patterns are dramatic and stunning. This is a stone for drama.
  • Arabascato is also a dramatic stone with a wild pattern of veins that form intersecting oval patterns in varying colors of gold, yellow, grey, black, orange, green on a warm white background. No two slabs look alike so it is important to select your slabs. These slabs are typically warmer in color than the previous three.
  • Calacatta—Calacatta Borghini, Calacatta Gold, Calacatta Viagli, numerous others)—is the most in demand at the moment and has a gorgeous honey white background color with rich and occasionally strong gold and gray veining. The colors are warm. Calacatta however is much more limited and due to high demand worldwide, the pieces have gone very high, especially for the most beautiful slabs.

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