Carrara vs Calacatta Marble, what’s the Difference?

Most people can’t tell the difference between Carrara vs Calacatta Marble or get confused between the two! When it comes to premium natural stone for luxury interiors, marble is often the material of choice. Its timeless elegance and unique patterns make a serious style statement in any space. However, even within the realm of marble, there are notable differences that can influence a homeowner’s or designer’s choice. Amongst the most sought-after—and often confused—varieties are Carrara and Calacatta marble. Understanding the subtle yet distinct differences between these two can guide you to make the right selection for your project.

An example of what Carrara marble looks like and it has a light grey background with subtle feathery dark grey veining.

Origins and Availability

Before diving into the differences of Carrara and Calacatta marble, let’s explore their origins. Both marbles come from Italy’s legendary Carrara region, a place that has been shaping and shipping marble since the time of Ancient Rome. They may originate from the same general area, but the extraction points within the quarries differ, contributing to their unique characteristics.

Carrara marble is more commonly available and thus tends to be less expensive than its Calacatta counterpart. The ease of quarrying Carrara marble reflects its more affordable price point.

Calacatta marble, on the other hand, is rarer and prized for its pristine quality. It comes from specific quarry areas within the Carrara region, and this exclusivity adds to its alluring image and associated cost.

Calacatta Gold which has  bold veins and patterns with gold, yelllow and grey with a white background.

Visual Characteristics

The quintessential way to distinguish between Carrara and Calacatta marble is through close observation of their colours and veining.

Carrara Marble

Carrara marble is renowned for its softer look and typically presents a light grey background with fine, feathery veining that ranges from small to medium in scale. The grey lines often display a softer contrast against the white background, giving it a more homogenous appearance.

Calacatta Marble

In contrast, Calacatta marble boasts a bright white background with dramatic, bold veins that can range from gold to brown to grey. The veining in Calacatta is generally larger, thicker, and more pronounced compared to Carrara. This high contrast between the white and the veins is part and parcel of what makes Calacatta sought after for its luxurious appearance.

For detailed information about buying Calacatta marble (cost, applications, different types, etc) please refer to our Calacatta Buying Guide.

It’s important to note that there a lot of styles and variations for Calacatta to suit and enhance a range of projects. They include the likes of Calacatta Rose, Calacatta Borghini, Calacatta Viola, Calacatta Gold and Calacatta Cohen Gold. The latter marble was only discovered in Carrara last year and is only available in the UK exclusively though Imperial Stone Group.


Calacatta Viola is a beautiful marble that has prominent veins and colours such as purple, back and grey in addition to a white background.

Applications in Design

Carrara Marble

Given its understated beauty, Carrara is often selected for larger areas where the subtlety of its patterning can be appreciated over a wide space without overwhelming the eye. Think of flooring, large-scale kitchen countertops, and bathrooms. Its greyish tones provide a neutral palette that complements various interior styles and colour schemes.

Calacatta Marble

Calacatta marble’s stunning contrast and bold veining lend itself to statement pieces that become the centrepiece of a room. It’s often used for focal point installations, such as a singular kitchen island, a splashback, or an eye-catching fireplace surround. Designers may also opt for Calacatta in luxury bathrooms where its bright white base can lend an opulent and spacious feel.

For detailed information about buying Calacatta marble (cost, applications, different types, etc) please refer to our Calacatta Buying Guide.


Calacatta Cohen Gold marble from Carrara in Italy. This stone has a white / off white background with soem dramatic veins in gold, black, yellow and grey

Maintenance Considerations 

Both Carrara and Calacatta marbles require similar maintenance commitments. Marble is a porous material so needs regular sealing to prevent staining and etching. Additionally, acidic substances like vinegar or lemon juice can damage the surface, so swift cleaning of any spills is vital to maintaining the stone’s integrity.

For detailed information on marble care and maintenance please refer to our expert guide that includes preventative measures, cleaning tips and how to deal with spills and stains.

Imperial Stone Group warehouse in Dunstable

Carrara or Calacatta?

Whether you lean towards the subtle grace of Carrara or the dramatic flair of Calacatta marble, both stones offer unmatched natural beauty and a sense of timeless refinement. By understanding the differences laid out in this article, you’re well-equipped to select a marble that not only meets your aesthetic preferences but also serves your living space in the manner it deserves.

When choosing between Carrara versus Calacatta it’s important to take into account your project and the colour scheme. As a marble slab supplier and Italian marble specialist we visit Italy every month to hand pick all our stone. We have been buying stone this way for many years and we recommend visiting a marble slab specialist such as Imperial Stone Group to see the stone in person to help you decide. 

We are based in Dunstable which is just outside London but we work all across the UK. If you would like to arrange a visit or have any questions or queries please speak to us using the contact details below or by sending a WhatsApp message.

Read our Calacatta Buying Guide

If you require more information about this stone read our Calacatta Marble Buying Guide. This comprehensive guide covers a range of topics like cost, different types, what to look for when buying, its suitability for kitchen worktops and more!


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 are a specialist marble slab supplier and we also stock a beautiful range of granite slabs, quartzite slabs, travertine 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.

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