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Marble is a metamorphic rock formed under the influence of heat and pressure and consists of a mass of interlocking calcite or dolomite crystals. Pure marble is white, and some other marbles take their common names from their color or mineral impurities. Marble is often used for fine building material or sculpture, thanks to its beautiful appearance.

Marble Polished
Marble Classification
Common Name Marble
Species Rock
Marble Optical Properties
Transparency Semitranslucent - Opaque
Refractive Index 1.486-1.658
Birefringence 0.172
Optic Character NA
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG)
Fluorescence SWUV: Variable
LWUV: Variable
Pleochroism None
Marble Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 3
Streak Varies By Color
Specific Gravity 2.650-2.750 Typical: 2.700
Toughness Poor
Inclusions Marble is often dyed. Interlocking calcite crystals.
Luster Vitreous, Pearly, Greasy
Stability Fair
Fracture Uneven, Granular, Splintery
Cleavage None
Marble Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name calcium carbonate
Chemical Formula CaCO3
Crystal System Trigonal
Chemistry Classification Carbonate

Marble Colors

  • Multi-color Marble Multi-color
  • White Marble White
  • Orange Marble Orange
  • Red Marble Red
  • Pink Marble Pink
  • Green Marble Green
  • Gray Marble Gray
  • Brown Marble Brown
  • Blue Marble Blue
  • Black Marble Black

Countries of Origin

Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of); Romania; United States of America (the); Egypt; India; Spain; Greece; Sweden; Turkey; Norway; China; Ireland; Russian Federation (the); Brazil; Italy; Mexico; Algeria; Chile; Germany


History section needs to be rewritten: Marble typically begins as a limestone or predominately carbonate bearing rock that undergoes a miraculous change after being subject to immense heat and pressure deep within the Earth in a process called metamorphism. This process changes an ordinarily grey and dull limestone into the stunningly white stone with black streaks that we all know as marble. The black streaks themselves are a result of the metamorphism process concentrating the carbon impurities from the limestone into the well-known black lines. Scientifically, these streaks are known as stylolites. Historically, marble is most recognized for its use in art and architecture since the days of ancient Greece, and possibly even earlier. Buildings such as the Taj Mahal, the Lincoln Memorial, the Supreme Court Building, and the Greek Parthenon have all been constructed out of marble.


Gentle care, moderately soft. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, vinegar, harsh cleaners. Soluble in acid.

More About Marble

Because marble is made up of calcium carbonate it is mined for its use in antacids. Marble is also used to mitigate acid content in our environment.

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Connemara Marble

Ireland’s unofficial national gemstone, Connemara marble is a calcite marble that contains large amounts of serpentine. Green in color, its name comes from the locality in western Ireland where it is mined. Mining of this ornamental rock is one of Ireland’s oldest industries and there’s even a visitor’s center devoted to this decorative stone. The perfect stone to represent Ireland, which has long been known as the ‘Emerald Isle’, Connemara marble has been carved into a wide variety of decorative items throughout history. Known since the Stone Age, Connemara marble has also been used over the centuries as a medium of exchange.

Connemara Marble Marble
Connemara Marble Classification
Common Name Connemara Marble
Connemara Marble Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.50
Toughness Fair
Inclusions Serpentine
Stability Fair

Onyx Marble

The term onyx marble is sometimes used to describe a rock made up of alternating layers of different colored calcite or aragonite. It should not be confused with onyx which is a banded variety of chalcedony. It was referred to as “alabaster” in ancient times, but in modern usage this term is only used to describe a variety of gypsum.

Onyx Marble Marble
Onyx Marble Classification
Common Name Onyx Marble
Onyx Marble Optical Properties
Birefringence 0.172
Onyx Marble Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.650
Toughness Fair
Inclusions Alternating color bands, often dyed.
Stability Fair
Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.