We’ve all done it: opened the latest issue of a design magazine or logged onto Pinterest, and there it is leaping off the page or screen. The drop dead gorgeous, all white kitchen or bathroom of our dreams. You’ve pinned it, posted it, torn images out of magazines and committed to the decision. White is for you. Now armed with all the visual tools… you’re ready to venture out and choose material. But as you start your journey you quickly realize that not all white is the same. Here are some words on white to help guide
From Carrara to Calacata, which white marble is that really?
Italian White Marbles like Bianco Carrara and Calacata are some of the most popular counter- top and back-splash choices for today’s kitchens. Because there are many varieties of Italian white marble that come from the same region of Italy and because many re-sellers use different names for them, it can be confusing to know what you are looking for and what you are getting when shopping for white marble for your kitchen project.
Italian White Marble, a classic for centuries
All the classic white Italian marbles come from the Carrara region of Italy located on the coast of Northern Tuscany. The mountains come almost up to the sea in this area, and white marbles have been quarried in these peaks since the time of the Roman Empire. There are many marble quarries in this area but the three main types are Bianco Carrara, Statuary White and Calacata, all of which are graded for specific attributes like the whiteness of the background and the color and movement of the veins. This is similar to the way diamonds are graded for color, clarity and cut. And, like diamonds, the higher the grade of white marble, the higher the price. We are fortunate to have an office in Carrara, Italy staffed by third generation marble experts, who go into the quarries and block yards every day to select the finest marbles for us.
Simple Italian White Marble Classifications
The simplest way to tell these materials apart is to use the “Background and Vein Color” rule. The shorthand version of this is:
Bianco Carrara – A “grayish white” background with overall thin and feathery grey veining.
Statuary White – A cool, bright white background with thicker dark grey veining evenly distributed over the surface.
Calacata – A warm white background with a blend of thick and thin bands of beige, light grey and green grey to blue grey.
A little more detail might help you make the best choice:
There are three grades of Bianco Carrara:
There are two grades of Statuary White:
Because of its popularity there are dozens of Calacata varieties on the market right now. A few of our most popular Walker Zanger Calacata marbles are noted below:
Pricing for all 3 types of “Carrara White Marble” can vary widely depending on the grade of the stone. The whiter and cleaner the background and the more evenly distributed the veining, the higher the price. Like any precious commodity, the finest grade is only a small portion of the production and the demand definitely outstrips the supply.
Tips for shopping for White Marble
All stone slabs are a product of nature, and no two are exactly alike. That is especially true of the Italian Carrara Marbles, where the movement of the veining can vary greatly from one bundle of slabs to another. Be sure to visit several reputable slab yards and spend time looking through the slabs and comparing them to find the ones that are just right for you in terms of price and quality. Once you have found “the one” be sure the slab seller will hold the specific slab that you have fallen in love with for your fabricator to pick up.
To really appreciate the grandeur of Mother Nature and the art of all those who’s hands help create your kitchen or bath, take a moment to watch this amazing video…
The White Side of Carrara: