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The Metamorphosis of Limestone to Marble

by Tim Sprague

Posted on January 16, 2018 04:27:00 PM

Do you ever find yourself marveling at the natural beauty and elegance of marble stones? Perhaps you are the owner of a classy white marble countertop or a stunning Calacatta Gold marble bathroom vanity top, as these are some of the most attractive home project stones known throughout the natural stone industry. But, did you ever wonder how marble is formed? The process is both as fascinating and elaborate as the aesthetics of marble itself.


Jersualem White limestone bathroom vanity top


The natural creation of marble stones starts with the metamorphosis from limestone, a rather grainy material made primarily from a mixture of organisms and different types of clay minerals such as calcite, graphite, quartz as well as a list of others. The process begins when limestone becomes subject to a combination of heat and pressure that causes the calcite to recrystallize, creating a dramatic metamorphic change from limestone to the more visually eye-catching marble stone.

The heat and pressure that transfigures limestone to marble is also both complex and fascinating. Anyone who owns a slab yard or is familiar with marble knows that there are many different types of this natural stone as well as an array of different colors, veiny patterns, and grades. But how does metamorphosis determine how each type of marble is formed? The answer to that question is simple; those veiny features are the mineral impurities we mentioned earlier, which also include iron oxides and salt commonly found in limestone, left present during the metamorphosis cycle. Thus, over time we are left with countless types of marble formed by the montage of limestone recrystallization, something that affords us with a unique opportunity to design our homes with stunning bathtub surrounds, shower surrounds, butler’s pantries, exquisite kitchen countertops, and much more.


Calacatta Extra marble kitchen island countertop


Since veiny patterns are the remnants of limestone minerals, the more unadulterated the marble is in your home, the purer the limestone must have been during the metamorphosis process. Taking any Calacatta marble, for example, the veiny patterns that make the marble so unique were formed when the limestone’s impurities were blended into the marble during the recrystallization process. On the other hand, white marble with virtually no detectable veiny sequences was most likely formed from limestone that had little to no minerals intermixed during its metamorphosis cycle.

Limestone is still widely used throughout the natural stone industry for a variety of home interior projects, especially when trying to give your bathroom a nice upgrade. One particular limestone that is famous throughout the natural stone industry is Jerusalem White limestone, which is commonly seen in ancient Jewish monuments, such as the Western Wall. Even though it’s not common to find large quantities of Jerusalem white limestone in a slab yard, you may see this stone installed from time to time as bathroom vanities and bath surrounds.


Visit your nearest slab yard if you want to view a variety of stones for your next project. This will go along way when updating that refined Calacatta marble bathtub surround, a new white marble shower surround, or a smartly designed kitchen countertop for all friends and family to enjoy.