When it comes to classic beauty for countertops and other surfaces, white marbles are indeed the fairest in the land. What is it about the milky grace and elegance of white marble that keep us coming back since the Romans wielded influence over Europe more than 2,000 years ago? It is refined and elegant without being stuffy or ostentatious. Marble can instantly “dress up” a room; its classic look harkens back to European cafes and castles, but it’s not stuck in centuries past. White marble offers a crisp and refined backdrop that is adaptable to many styles – traditional, contemporary, and modern.
Within the white marble family, Calacatta Gold is a white marble that has been gaining popularity for use in kitchens, bathrooms and throughout the home as dramatic fireplace mantels or back splashes. Calacatta Gold has a striking look with a pronounced, large gray veining which can take on a taupe or gold tone. It’s more dramatic and eye-popping than the ever-popular Carrara marble, which can have a grayer background and finer, feathery veining.
In contrast Statuary marble has an even brighter, semi-translucent white background color. It may have less veining, giving it a more pristine, unblemished look, or darker, more dramatic veining, which contrasts nicely with its crisp whiteness. Historically, this snowy and immaculate looking stone was highly sought after for sculptures and statues. This was the marble of choice for Michelangelo, who used to carve his masterpiece, the statue of David. Either Calacatta Gold or Statuary marble will add instant brightness to a room, as well as a clean and sophisticated ambience.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing what kind of marble is right for you is that marble is a porous stone and is softer and more chemically sensitive than other natural stone, meaning certain liquids and foods can stain and etch the stone. If you choose marble (or almost any natural stone for that matter) it is highly advisable to have the stone chemically sealed, especially if you plan to use it in a high traffic or commonly used space such as a countertop, floor tile or other surface you will come in contact with frequently. The sealant will prevent staining, and may need to be repeated on a regular basis to maintain its stain barrier.
Another concern is etching, which is caused when an acidic or vinegar-based liquid reacts with the calcium carbonate in marble and causes a dull, grayish marking on the stone. This may show up as a ring from a glass or bottle of wine or a splatter of a tomato-based sauce or salsa – anything that has been left to sit for a while on a marble surface may cause the stone to etch. These marks may fade over time, and are often not very noticeable unless you look at it from a certain angle or light. Some people feel these little marks add character and personality to the stone. Think of the white marble you see in French patisserie or cafe. These surfaces have certainly been marred from lots of use and wear, but they are beautiful none-the-less.
When choosing a white marble for your kitchen, it’s important to think about all the pros and cons that go along with it. Marble is an elegant and enduring surface that remains a luxurious and timeless choice. Marble doesn’t conduct heat very well, so it remains cool to the touch and is a favorite surface for bakers to roll out pastry or pizza dough. Like most natural stone, regular use may leave it less than perfectly pristine. But many people enjoy the personality and patina that develops over time, and sealers along with regular care and maintenance will help keep these blemishes to a minimum.
Rachel Zohn is a freelance writer and editor and part-time contactor with Zillow Digs