The Calacatta Marble Buying Guide
Our Calacatta Buying Guide provides all the information you need to help you understand why this marble is so special and to help your journey in buying this stone. Please use the index below to navigate this guide.
Often described as the ‘Ferrari of marbles’ due to its expensive price tag and undeniable beauty, Calacatta Marble is also rare. It is mined only in the Apuania mountain range of Carrara in Italy. And, because of this, it can easily be confused with Carrara marble – until, that is, you see both forms of marble together. Calacatta Marble boasts a pristine while background with distinctive dark and thick veining. The design of this veining tends to be unstructured and can range in colour from gold to brown and from beige to dark grey. The background of Carrara marble, in comparison, looks cloudy and the veining is lighter and more linear in design. After it is quarried, the blocks of Calacatta marble are resin-treated and cut into slabs. At this point they are then treated with resin for a second time to maintain the pattern and the slab’s distinctive beauty. The word Calacatta is Greek for ‘to gleam and sparkle’ and that’s exactly what this luxurious-looking marble does – as we’re sure those who have already invested in it will testify. Certainly, it was the favourite stone of one of the world’s greatest stone carvers – none other than the great Venetian sculptor Michaelangelo.
Where is Calacatta Marble from ?
The quarries in which the world famous Calacatta marble is mined can be found lying behind the town of Carrara in Northern Tuscany in Italy. Together with Massa and Montignoso, Carrara makes up the municipality of Apuania.
There are around 650 quarries in the Apuania mountain region – half of which have already been abandoned or extracted over the centuries. Calacatta Gold, Calacatta Borghini and Calacatta Macchia Vecchia are some of the more luxurious marbles mined in this area, but you’ll also find the less expensive (and also exquisite) Carrara marble, Bianco Venatino and Statuarietto.
It was the Romans who first began quarrying marble as far back as the early second century BC, using it for floors and the facings of buildings. Over the centuries the Apunania area changed hands many times, and, as the 20th century neared, it was regarded as a ‘hotbed of anarchism’ thanks to the marble workers and stone carvers fighting for a better living for themselves and their families.
Why is this marble so appealing ?
Interior designers and architects appreciate the cool white background of Calacatta marble, the distinctive bold veins and the variety of colours these appear in. The thick and sparser veining of Calacatta also makes the slabs easier to match together, meaning it’s possible to get a larger design area where the slabs can be perfectly matched to complete an entire wall.
The fact the marble is only available from the quarries in Carrara also adds to its ‘exceptional’ and rare appeal, especially considering quantities are limited during the winter months. This is due to the harsh conditions in the area, when it is too dangerous to work or even access. And, of course, the rarer an item is, the more expensive it becomes. As such, Calacatta slabs are viewed as luxurious. You’ll only find them in high-end hotels or luxury homes, used as wall facings, flooring and as kitchen countertops.
How do I know it’s a good quality marble?
You can tell that a marble is good quality from how white the background is. The whiter the marble, the better the quality and more expensive the cost. You want a sharp whiteness, rather than a cloudy appearance (the like of which you will often find on some of the inferior marble types).
The veining on marble slabs for sale can tell you a lot about quality too. The more ‘balanced’ the veins appear (i.e. the more white and ‘open’ the pattern is) the better the quality of the marble. One of the reasons this is so prized is because it allows you to ‘bookmatch’ the marble (i.e. match the slabs, for a larger pattern area).
Suppliers with marble slabs for sale will always point to Calacatta marble as being one of their best varieties. A good supplier should be able to advise you on the different types of marble available and where each functions best, such as in a particular room or space.
How much do Calacatta marble slabs cost?
While each natural stone slab is unique, Calacatta marble is much rarer than, for example, Carrara marble. So far that reason alone, it is going to cost more. Then there is the fact that Calacatta is a ‘brighter’ stone i.e. with a whiter background, and a more distinctive and matching veining. This makes it a more luxurious and attractive marble to look at. As a result, you will usually find Calacatta marble slabs start at around £300 to £1,000 per metre.
But, of course, as we have already mentioned, there are different varieties of Calacatta marble. Some of the more expensive slabs are cut from Calacatta Borghini and Calacatta Oro – both of which have a starting cost of around £500 to £600 per metre. At the lower end is Calacatta Vagli and Calacatta Belgia. These are less expensive to purchase per slab but you will find they still cost more than most types of marble slab.
Where can I use Calacatta Marble in my home?
Calacatta marble worktops in the kitchen are a popular choice, especially amongst the rather more luxurious, designer homeowners these days. Ask any interior designer and they will confirm that the striking white background and dark veins of this rare marble work well with any colour and style of kitchen cabinetry – whether dark or pastel shaded, matt or gloss. Open plan kitchens are de rigueur these days, giving you a chance to show off the beauty of the marble when used as a worktop for a kitchen island. But if you’ve already chosen an alternative worktop material, then Calacatta marble splashbacks can also add that elegant, designer touch many luxury homeowners are after.
Another popular area of the home in which this smooth, natural stone works well is in the bathroom. In fact, Calacatta marble in the bathroom isn’t uncommon in high-end apartments or homes. The sparkling clear white stone with its attractive veining gives off an opulent, clean and soothing feel – perfect for a spa bathroom. Installing Calacatta marble wall panels can ensure that sense of luxury is magnified throughout the room – not simply as flooring or as shower walls where it can zone off a particular area of the bathroom.
But having a Calacatta marble bathroom or installing Calacatta marble worktops in the kitchen aren’t the only areas of the home in which this beautiful stone can be used. You can also find it used as flooring in large entrance hallways. Some upmarket home owners – especially those in warmer climates – prefer to go all the way and use marble panelling for the walls in the entrance area too, opening up the area and adding an instant feeling of coolness from the sweltering hot exterior. And talking of heat, Calacatta marble is also used for open fireplace surrounds and as hearths, providing a stunning focal point for any sitting room.
Is a Calacatta marble worktop a good choice?
Calacatta marble worktops with their stark while background and dramatic dark veining don’t just look incredible in the kitchen, they are also extremely durable when looked after properly. By that we mean that this Italian marble requires a little regular maintenance in order to look wonderful.
The reason for this is that the marble can prove porous i.e. liable to staining from the likes of red wine, juice or oil, in particular. The way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to have your Calacatta marble worktops in the kitchen professionally sealed – both on installation and annually. If you cook regularly then every six months might be better. Simply invest in a professional sealant and paint over the area yourself. It doesn’t’ even take long.
For expert advice please refer to our marble care and maintenance guide, which provides detailed information on how to look after and treat your stone.
Calacatta marble worktops in the kitchen aren’t just a beautiful addition, they are also practical. What’s special about this marble, apart from its looks and texture, after all, is the fact it is so cooling. Place your hands on the surface on a hot scorching day and you will feel instantly cooled. And it’s why the stone is also heat-resistant. This means it won’t burn easily, however we still recommend using a pot holder if you intend placing a casserole dish down on your Calacatta marble worktop.
What are the Different Types of Calacatta?
A marble boasting a beautiful snow-white background and consistent grey veining, Calacatta Borghini is highly desirable as a luxury finishing in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas of the home. Calacatta Borghini slabs work best indoors, though. This marble has a medium to high absorption rate so should only be used on kitchen worktops which won’t come in to contact with acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus fruits (otherwise staining will occur). If using for flooring avoid scratching by placing a mat at the door area.
A very popular stone amongst architects and interior designers in particular, Calacatta Caldia marble has a clear white background with soft veining which can vary between a soft moss green, grey or yellowing-gold. Calacatta Caldia marble slabs can be used throughout the interior of your home, such as on flooring, in bathrooms, as kitchen worktops and backsplashes. Again, care should be taken around acid products.
Calacatta Cohen Gold
This beautiful marble is a registered trade mark of Imperial Stone Group and is only available in the UK through our company as we are the exclusive distributor of this stone. A stunning, classic stone, the Calacatta Cohen Gold marble slabs boasts a white background with the addition of a warm gold tone, as well as the characteristically striking grey veins. Calacatta Cohen Gold marble proves particularly popular for use in high-end establishments, such as hotels and spas, as well as in homes. For further information on Calacatta Cohen Gold please scroll to the bottom of this article.
Calacatta Gold marble is a beautiful stone with a warmer than usual white background and delicate grey with gold veining. The overall effect is one of elegance, ensuring Calacatta gold worktops appear luxurious, whether in the bathroom or kitchen. But you can also have a Calacatta gold kitchen by adding the marble slabs as splashbacks or even wall cladding.
With a cloudier background and fine grey veining, often with blushes of silver, Calacatta Lincoln marble is another popular marble in the home. With a low to moderate absorption rate it works well as a worktop in the kitchen or bathroom. It can also be used for wet rooms or cladding (including externally). Calacatta Lincoln marble slabs are also found on stairs and even swimming pools.
Calacatta Michelangelo marble is named after the famous Italian sculptor who used stone from the same quarry for his much-loved creations. Unlike other Calacatta marbles it has very fine veining, against a white background. Excellent for indoor use, Calacatta Michelangelo marble slabs can be used in bathrooms, kitchens, and as cladding or flooring in the home.
It’s easy to see where Calacatta Monet marble gets it name from. This lovely stone has more of a veining pattern – in grey and purple – than many other named marbles from this particular quarry. The design sits on a creamy white background, with the result that the Calacatta Monet marble slabs present as the perfect wall cladding, fireplace surround, bathroom vanity or kitchen worktop material.
Calacatta Oro & Oro Extra
With gold and grey veining on a white background, Calacatta Oro & Calacatta Oro Extra marble is striking, regardless of where it’s used. It is an elegant marble that adds a stylish touch to bathrooms, kitchens, and for flooring and cladding. In fact, Calacatta Oro & Oro Extra marble slabs are ideal for adding a touch of sophistication anywhere in the home.
Calacatta Rose is an exquisite and very popular marble. Its combination of colours that includes pink, peach and grey combined with its veining make this is a very desirable stone that adds a touch of class. Its end use tends to be in the kitchen and bathroom.
Calacatta Vagli marble comes with thick and light grey veining against a stark white background. The veining often separates the white, given the appearance of patches or ‘ovoid clasts.’ Calacatta Vagli marble slabs are a striking stone which works well as kitchen worktops, bathroom vanities, flooring and wall cladding, including kitchen splashbacks.
Calacatta Viola & Viola Oro
A beautiful and elegant stone, Calacatta Viola & Calacatta Viola Oro marble is certain to divert attention wherever it is laid in the home. Why restrict this purple and gold veined stone on a white background to the bathroom vanity or kitchen worktop? Your interior designer will also have his or her eye on Calacatta Viola & Viola Oro marble slabs as wall cladding or flooring in a sitting room or hallway.
Which Calacatta marble should I choose?
There are so many variations of Calacatta marble to select from that it can prove quite a chore in itself just to narrow down your choice. Here at Imperial Stone Group we can provide a few pointers to help you. For instance, if you’re worried about acidic stains on a kitchen worktop then opt for a Calacatta marble that’s less porous, such as the Calacatta Lincoln. An alternative is to invest in a marble which has more white and less veining since you won’t notice the mark as much if the worst does happen.
If you’re looking to bookmatch the marble slabs then it’s easier to do if there’s less veining to match up. Calacatta Borghini would fit the bill here. For a dramatic look, Calacatta Viola & Viola Oro marble, with its purple and gold veining will always make a statement. Use it for a fire surround or as wall cladding. Other marbles which can introduce a touch into your interior include Calacatta gold marble and Calacatta Cohen Gold. For a relaxing spa feel in a bathroom consider Calacatta Michelangelo with its stark white background and light veining.
What do I need to be aware of when buying?
Always buy from a quality supplier and ask where the marble is from.
Most marble originates from one of four countries – Italy, Spain, India and China. The best marble though i.e. Calacatta, comes from Italy.
Call the supplier before turning up and ask for a tour of the different kinds of marble available. Let him or her know why you want the marble, roughly how much of it you will need, and what colour scheme you plan to use it with. That way the supplier can put some thought in it before your visit and have the most relevant marble slabs ready for you to look at. The longer the length of marble you require, the more you’ll have to bookmatch – another consideration worth bearing in mind since the more abundant the veining, the more difficult it will be to match up the pattern.
Marble slabs sometime contain fissures. These are a natural feature of the stone, which adds character. They should feel smooth when you run your hand over them. A crack in the marble is different though and implies that the slab has been dropped at some point.
Where do I buy Calacatta marble from?
The best way to buy Calacatta marble for your kitchen worktop, bathroom vanity or wall cladding, is from a company which imports the marble directly. You can find a list of suppliers in the UK but always buy from a company which has an excellent reputation and a long history of selling marble. That way you know you’ll be talking to an expert – someone who can answer all your questions and give you straight answers. In other words, someone like ourselves here at Imperial Stone Group.
We regularly visit the best quarries in Carrara in Italy. We have been doing this for years now and over time have built up excellent relationships with management in the top quarries. Establishing our presence in this way allows us to select our Calacatta marble directly, without having to use a middleman. It also allows up to choose a block of Calacatta marble in the quarry before it is even cut into slabs, thus ensuring we hand pick the best available stone that we sell to our customers.
What is the buying process?
If you already know the type of marble you would like then you can call us, send a Whatsapp message or an email outlining how much marble you believe you need, along with your measurements. We can then provide you with a quote. If you’d like advice on how much marble you may need or what type would be best for your project then call us and we can help.
We hold all our stock in-house so it’s possible to come and take a look by arranging an appointment with us. We are open from 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and on Saturday (by appointment only). We can work with your fabricator or installer, or we are happy to recommend a trusted professional for you to work with as we have relationships with companies all over the country.
We’re a friendly, down-to-earth team, and keen to make sure you get the right stone for your project. You won’t find any nicer and more exquisite hand-picked marble than we can offer you here at Imperial Stone Group.
About Imperial Stone Group
With 25 years experience of sourcing and selling high quality stone and marble in particular, Imperial Stone Group is the leading supplier of natural stone in the UK.
We specialise in marble slabs and we also stock a beautiful range of granite slabs, quartzite slabs and porcelain slabs. Speak to us today to discuss your requirements. Call 020 3409 6253, send an email or you can also reach us via WhatsApp.
Recent Calacatta Projects
The following Instagram posts show a few examples of our beautiful Calacatta stone after it has been cut and installed. As you can see the end result is simply stunning!