Marble is classy and elegant, offering a sophisticated feel and timeless appeal not found in other materials. It can be found in both honed and polished finishes, making it a top choice when searching for a high-end look. Two of the most popular types of marble are Carrara and Calacatta, both from the Carrara region of Italy. The differences between the two stones are slight, though obvious to the untrained eye, but both still offer that perfect touch of luxury.
History of Marble
Marble is formed by the process of metamorphism. When limestone is exposed to extreme pressure or heat, it recrystallizes into what we know as marble. Famously used in ancient Greece and Rome for architecture and sculpting, marble has a rich history and depth which lends itself to the classic touch it gives to a home.
The most common marble found in Italy, Carrara marble is named after the region in which it is mined: Carrara. Carrara tends to have a softer look than Calacatta because it has subtle, light gray veining that will sometimes lean blue as well as have soft, feather grains. The base color of Carrara marble is also typically not “true” white, but more of a very light grey hue. Overall, Carrara marble has a much softer appearance than Calacatta.
While Calacatta marble is also mined in the Carrara region of Italy, it has some distinct differences from Carrara marble. The base color of Calacatta is usually mostly white and it has thick, dramatic veining that come in a variety of colors ranging from beige all the way to gold. The sharp contrast between the stark white base and the thick veining offers Calacatta marble a breathtaking appeal not quite found in Carrara marble.
As a general rule, beautiful marble isn’t cheap because it’s a timeless material that can fit any aesthetic. Carrara marble is quarried more aggressively and is more abundant, so there is a higher supply which means a lower cost. Depending on the quality of the marble, this could run anywhere from $40-$100 per square foot. Calacatta marble is considered much more rare, which means it comes at a premium price, typically double or more than what would be paid for Carrara.
Effectively, Carrara and Calacatta marble are remarkably similar and, for many people, the choice between the two will come down to either budget or color. Both are elegant stones with their own unique look, and while Calacatta marble is seen as the more high-end stone, Carrara is still an exquisite stone in its own right.