Marble Baths

Generally when people ask about marble quality, they want to know about it in relation to pricing. In this sense, higher priced stone is generally rarer. That means that it tends to have less common minerals and a more unique pattern.

Pure quality depends on the minerals present too, as some minerals are weaker than others. Also, high amounts of open veins can make marbles fragile. A higher quality stone in this sense is a stronger, more durable one.

Price is balanced by market demand and the availability of the stone. Could be that the pattern is unique or other visual factors.

Marble adds a centuries-old elegance to any home or commercial building it inhabits. But it can be difficult to tell if you are looking at authentic marble, faux marble or granite.

Modern imitative materials can replicate the exact look and functionality of marble.

Man-made marble has its own beauty and value -- but you may want to know when you're looking at the real thing. Learning the characteristics of marble will help you identify it on sight.
Check the Coloration

While the coloration of marble can vary from pristine white to black, the natural stone comes in subtle shades of coloring rather than stark colors. Marble free of any impurities or flaws appears as a solid white. Layers in the limestone and integration with other naturally occurring minerals can create green, yellow, pink, gray, cream and bluish coloration. Bright and stark colors such as turquoise, orange or black signify granite, man-made stone -- or natural marble that has been mixed with other ingredients such as cement to create a faux marble product that is easy to custom color.

Look for Veins

The veins and swirls present in many marble pieces occur when various mineral impurities
mix with the original limestone. From discrete cream veins in white Carrara marble to violet, red or blue veins in yellow Sienna marble, natural marble will show its impurities through long sinewy streaks. Granite often has similar color variegation, but the secondary coloration in granite will look more like clouds than streaks, or it will have a "salt-and-pepper" look to it. Manufactured materials can imitate a swirled, veined look, but will not show the depth and dimension that the naturally occurring veining in marble does.
Do the Knife Test

Authentic marble is a metaphoric rock formed by applying heat to limestone, forming crystals of calcite, a relatively soft mineral. Because of this, the surface of marble shows scratches and wear more easily than its imitators. The malleability of marble is what has made it a popular material for sculptures and custom-shaped kitchen countertops, and any real marble will become more highly individualized through aging and usage. If you see scratches or signs of wear on the surface of your stone, you are looking at real marble. If you scratch a knife across an inconspicuous area or on the underside of the slab and it shows little or no damage, you are looking at the more durable granite or manufactured stone.
The Shine and Sheen

The glossiness of a true marble is one of its most desirable attributes and distinguishable characteristics -- and can't be sustainably imitated. Synthetic stones made for kitchen countertops and other household surfaces incorporate glass and other finely crushed materials with a high sheen into their compound. This can create an initial high gloss, but will not shine as clearly or brightly as highly polished natural marble. Use marble polish to get the stone's surface to its purest and cleanest state, and to be able to see the true nature of the stone.

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Jack Potter:
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