A Brief History of Marble
Long before it was used for your fireplace or kitchen benchtop, marble was naturally created largely on the ocean floor out of sand that transformed under the rising heat and pressure. In ancient times, this magnificent stone was considered the upmost of luxury in building materials. It cladded the walls of castles and churches, and the wealthy crafted monuments and statues out of the rare material. Its luxurious reputation started in Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy where remnants of the stone as a construction material can be traced back to BC times.
The mining process for marble was not as straight forward as it is today. When a quarry was located, people used wedges and hammers to excavate the stone. Although it was popular and widely desired, marble was not mined as much as limestone, which helped further its opulent status. Up until the 16th century you could consider marble mining techniques as primal. Excavation was still widely done with the help of wooden beams and manmade pulley systems. As technology advanced, so did these mining techniques – helping the accessibility of marble worldwide. What was once mostly done with manual labour was replaced by electrical hoists and more careful methods of ensuring minimal stone damage and ease of transportation.
With this, we enter modern times where the everyday man can feature the material in their home. An average of over 100 million tonnes of marble are produced yearly worldwide, and it is found and mined in countries all over the world. Despite the classic white stone with a grey vein that comes to mind for most when they think of ‘marble’, it forms in countless colours and patterns that are popularly mimicked in engineered stones today.