“White Marble” brings to mind the significant qualities of ‘purity’, ‘sacredness’, ‘richness’, and ‘royalty’. It is considered to be a prized and expensive stone used since ancient times for making sculptures, temples and palaces.
White marble has the ability to provide beautiful and dramatic background to other colorful and decorative stones. Its use in interior architecture adds enigmatic charm and energy to the space. The low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate several millimeters into the stone before being scattered out, resulting in the characteristic waxy look which gives "life" to marble sculptures and architectural elements made out of it.
White marble is metamorphic rock with fine to coarse granular texture. In strict geological terms they are considered as ‘true marble’. Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of a very pure limestone or dolomite. It is generally difficult to get a big chunk of pure white natural marble – one has to accept the characteristic swirls and veins of many colors due to various mineral impurities (such as, clay, slit, iron-oxide) that are naturally present as grains or layers in the limestone.
Italy and Greece has been known worldwide to produce white marble since ancient times. While some of the ancient quarries here are now closed, active mining is still present in some places that even now cater to global demand of ‘white marble’. India is also known for producing very high quality of ‘white marble’ and more recently some quarries in Unites States have also started producing it.
Some of the famous quarries that are (or were) well known for producing high grade white marble are listed below:
Name of the Quarry
Famous works of Art
Active quarrying near Dionysos
Magnificent temple dedicated to Athena built on Acroplois of Athens.
Temple of Apollo in Delphi; Figure of Hermes bearing infant Dionysus in Temple of Hera at Olympia.
Statue of David, Victoria Memorial (opposite Buckingham Palace); Marble Arch in London
Interiors of U.S. Supreme Court; Ceiling of Lincoln Memorial; Head of Christ made by Giuseppe Moretti
U.S. Supreme Court; Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.
Makrana Marble is considered to be the best and the oldest quality of white marble in the world. It needs no chemical reinforcement like Italian marble. There is also no change in its naturally ‘white’ color for several decades. This is practically verified by numerous buildings, temples, mosques, churches and monuments in India for over 1000 years now.
Makrana marble has fine to medium grained white calcite. It is best used for inlay work with semi-precious stones. It is ideal to make fine and intricate architectural elements such as jaali (trellis), fountains, sculptures, pillars, carved ceilings, etc. The trellis made of Makrana can be cut so delicately that it looks like lace - demonstrating a very fine work of art.
(Note – This article has been prepared by gathering information from various sources, including wiki).