To deepen our insight into this topic, we need to recall a few facts that we mentioned in the first article of the series “Discover Carrara Marble” (Kurier Kamieniarski, no. 6/2019):

1) Natural raw materials known as “Carrara marble” are mined in a vast area of north-western Tuscany which is part of the Apuan Alps. The area is subdivided into five mining sub-areas: Carrara, Massa, Lunigiana, Garfagnana and Versilia.

The Carrara area was already mined by the ancient Romans in the 1st century BC and its mining capacity is three times the total production of the other four areas. Carrara is so famous that all the raw materials quarried from the Apuan Alps are called “Carrara marble” all over the world. The mining areas are divided into many marble basins. For example, the Carrara region is divided into four basins: Pescina-Boccanaglia, Torano, Fantiscritti-Miseglia and Colonnata. Each pit has “active quarries” (in continuous operation) and “inactive quarries” (those where the mining process has been stopped). For example, the Fantiscritti-Miseglia basin has 30 active quarries and the Colonnata basin has 29 of them.

Given that several types of marble are quarried in a single quarry, it is evident that hundreds of kinds of marble come from the deposits in the Apuan Alps.

2) Traditional names, the names the people of Carrara use to describe and sell their marble, are much more numerous than we think. Here are some examples: Ordinario nebo Bianco Ordinario, Bianco Venato, Bianco Macchiato, Venato, Macchiato, Bianco Statuario, Statuario Venato, Statuario Macchiato, Paonazzo nebo Pavonazzo, Paonazzetto nebo Pavonazzetto, Bardiglio, Cipollino, Fiorito, Misiarchio, Misiarchio, Misiarchio Calacatta nebo Calacata, Arabescato, Brouillé, Cipollino Zebrato nebo Cipollino Zebrino nebo Zebrino, Bianco P.

3) The traditional names of Carrara were created to designate and distinguish the main types of marble mined in the Apuan Alps. Each kind has several or more subtypes, which may differ in appearance and technical properties.

4) Some of the traditional names have disappeared from the vocabulary of stonemasons and the raw materials to which they used to be assigned have been given new names.

5) Apuan marbles are marketed in various countries by local importers trading in many other materials (e.g. granite, travertine, onyx), so their knowledge of Carrara marble is usually very superficial. The vast majority of these dealers simply do not know the full and correct nomenclature of the Carrara marble in their offerings, so they only use generic “slogan” names. Unfortunately, in Italy, you will also find marble distributors who ignore or even confuse the names of the main kinds they market.

To sum up:

Not all white marbles are “Bianco Carrara”. The name “Bianco Carrara” is the name of a stone exclusively from the Carrara mining area and cannot be used for marbles from other areas of the Apuan Alps. Our vigilance should also be aroused if the seller praises the goods and calls them “Carrara” as a universal name. Then it is worth asking him a few questions from which you can deduce his level of knowledge about these unique raw materials.

Source: Kurier kamieniarski

Author: | Published: 22.09.2020