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From Earth to Elegance: What Makes Marble Colors?

Have you ever gazed upon your marble, adorned with its array of exquisite colors—some vivid and striking, while others exude a more refined and graceful allure—and pondered the origins of these beautiful hues? After learning how these colors are formed, you’ll never look at your marble quite the same.

Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms from limestone through the process of metamorphism. (Alteration of rock by heat, pressure, or other natural occurrences). During this transformation, a range of factors influence the coloration of marble, giving rise to the stunning array of colors and patterns that make each marble type unique. The main factors that contribute to the colors of marble are mineral composition, impurities, and geological processes. Let’s explore each of these aspects in detail:

Mineral Composition

Marble is primarily composed of calcite or dolomite minerals, which are both forms of calcium carbonate. (Calcium carbonate is a combination of carbon, oxygen, and calcium and is a common mineral found throughout the world.) The crystal structure of these minerals allows them to interact with light in different ways, influencing the perceived color of the marble. The presence of other minerals and impurities further enhances these color variations.

Impurities

Impurities are foreign substances that find their way into the marble during the metamorphic process. These impurities play a significant role in determining the color and patterns exhibited by the marble. Some common impurities found in marble include:

Iron Oxides

Iron impurities can give marble various shades of red, brown, yellow, and orange. Hematite creates reds and yellows, while limonite produces browns and yellows.

Graphite

The presence of graphite can lend a gray or black color to the marble.

Clay Minerals

Clay minerals introduce earthy tones such as beige, tan, or brown to the marble.

Serpentine

Serpentine impurities create green marble, such as the famous Verde Antique marble.

Sulfides and Organic Materials

These can lead to black or dark veining in the marble.

Geological Processes

The geological history of the region where the marble forms can also influence its color. The presence of specific minerals or the type of rock that undergoes metamorphism alongside the limestone can contribute to the unique colors and patterns. Additionally, the intensity of heat and pressure during metamorphism will impact the recrystallization of minerals and the formation of specific colors.

Local Geography and Environment

Different regions around the world are known for their distinct marble colors and patterns due to variations in the local geology and environment. For example, Carrara marble from Italy is famous for its white color and has been used in many famous sculptures and buildings. The Danby marble from Vermont, USA, is prized for its pure white color and minimal veining.

Age and Degree of Metamorphism

The duration and intensity of the metamorphic process can influence the colors of marble. Marble that undergoes extensive metamorphism over prolonged periods may have a more uniform color, while marble that experiences variable conditions may show a greater variety of colors and patterns.

The mesmerizing colors of marble result from a complex interplay of mineral composition, impurities, geological processes, and the specific environmental conditions where the metamorphism takes place. This diversity in colors is what makes marble such a sought-after and cherished material for various commercial, residential, and artistic applications.


By Fred Hueston. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

About Natural Fiber Hemp Rugs

From time to time we are asked if we clean hemp rugs, or our customers will ask our opinion of hemp rugs vs other, more traditional types of natural fiber material. Do they hold up well? Are they easily maintained? Are they eco-friendly… etc. Here’s our take on hemp rugs…

Yes, we do clean all types of rugs, including hemp. Here is a little insight into hemp rugs, vs other more traditional types of fibers: Most of the time, when people think about natural fiber rugs, they think about wool or cotton. Maybe even sisal or jute, but very seldom do we think about hemp as a natural fiber rug. However, as it turns out, hemp can be and is made into rugs.

The biggest problem hemp has is people’s assumptions that hemp plants and Cannabis (aka marijuana plants) are one and the same, but they aren’t. What they are is 2 different varieties of the same plant species. (Like a housecat and a tiger or a Great Dane and a Dachshund).

There are several real differences between the plants themselves:

  • Hemp – Tall sturdy stalks with little to no flowering buds.
  • Cannabis – Shorter, bushier plants with an abundance of flowering buds.
  • Hemp – Very low THC content (.03% or less).
  • Cannabis – Higher THC content (can be upwards of 30%).
  • Hemp – Hemp has many commercial uses such as rope, paper, fabric, and biofuels.
  • Cannabis – Grown strictly for medicinal and recreational reasons.

As noted, hemp has many commercial and industrial uses, one of which is rugs. Like other natural fiber rugs, they have their good and bad points:

Pros of hemp rugs:

  • Durability – Hemp fibers are known for their durability, making hemp rugs robust and long-lasting. They can withstand high traffic areas without wearing out quickly, making them a great choice for homes or offices.
  • Hypoallergenic – Hemp rugs are hypoallergenic, making them an excellent option for individuals sensitive to allergens. They do not trap dust or harbor allergens like some other materials, enhancing indoor air quality.
  • Environment Friendly – Hemp is a highly sustainable material. It requires minimal water, no pesticides, and grows quickly, making it an eco-friendly choice for rugs. Its cultivation helps to improve soil health and can be part of a regenerative agricultural cycle.

 

Cons of hemp rugs:

  • Color – Hemp fibers may have natural color variations due to the plant’s organic composition. While this can add a unique aesthetic, it might not suit those seeking a uniform color or pattern.
  • Texture – While durable, hemp rugs can be rough to the touch, especially when compared to softer materials like wool or cotton. Some people might find the texture less comfortable, particularly for sitting or walking barefoot.
  • Shedding – Hemp, like some other natural fiber rug material is prone to shedding. Regular vacuuming can help keep this under control.

Hemp has found its way into various industries, including the creation of durable, eco-friendly rugs. While hemp rugs offer durability and sustainability, they might not suit everyone due to their texture, shedding, and natural variations. Understanding these pros and cons can assist in making an informed decision when considering hemp rugs for your living or working space.


By Sharon Koehler. This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

STONE TOPS: TO SEAL OR NOT? A Simple How-to Test

Not all stone countertops need to be sealed but most will benefit from the added protection —”an ounce of prevention,” so to speak. Here’s an easy test to know if yours needs to be sealed—or re-sealed. It’s called the “Water Test,” and it is so simple:

 

  • Clean the surface of your countertop with a stone-safe cleaner, making sure to remove oils and grease.
  • Let the surface dry completely.
  • Pick out a few different areas to test. Preferably, areas that get a lot of use or are prone to spills and stains. These areas will be the most likely to have worn-down protection.
  • Pour a little bit of water onto your test areas. A few spoonfuls at least.
  • Let the water dwell for a bit. Give it 4-5 minutes or so.
  • Wipe away the water. After a couple of seconds, look carefully at the area. If there is no evidence that water had been spilled you’re good to go. However, if the water soaked in and left a dark spot (not a stain, as it will eventually dry out) then it’s time to reseal.

 

Tips About Resealing

  • Even if only one area in the test absorbs the water, we recommend a complete re-seal. It’s an all-or-nothing necessity.
  • Failure to reseal can lead to damage such as permanent or difficult-to-remove stains on your countertops.
  • Having a pro do the job will ensure the proper type of sealer is used and common sealing problems are avoided.
  • Re-test every year or so.

Your countertops are not only an investment, they play a significant role in the appearance of your kitchen. The simple act of keeping them properly sealed will go a long way in keeping them looking great for years to come.


By Sharon Koehler. This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.