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For those with limited experience choosing a natural stone for their kitchen or bathroom countertop and are considering the timeless beauty of marble, there’s only one kind to choose from, right? In fact, there are many types and colors of marble to choose from. Your first order of business should be finding an experienced and well-qualified natural stone dealer to help you decide. The most important thing to remember about marble is this: No two slabs are alike.

Of course, a key question is where do you want the marble to go? Is it marble for your kitchen? Is it marble for your bathroom? Or perhaps you’d like a marble fireplace. And, of course, there is a matter of your budget. What price range do you want to be in?

As you consider these questions, let’s look at some of the more popular marble types and examine what makes them different so you have an idea of what you are looking for before you start shopping.

Italian Marble or Something Else?

The finest marble is mined from Italian quarries. Two in particular are among the most well-known and popular. They are:

Calacatta

Simply, this is marble’s gem. Quarried in Italy’s Carrara region, the stone is somewhat rare making more prized – and expensive. This usually is a white marble with dark gray veins running through the natural stone.

Carrara

This might be considered Calacatta marble’s poorer sister, not because it’s less beautiful or functional but because it is found in greater quantities so is less expensive than the rarer Calacatta.

Spanish Marble Also Shines – As Do Others

Right behind the prized Italian marbles are the natural stones quarried in Spain. Two in particular are popular choices among homeowners. They are:

Dark Emperador

Emperador marble is found in various regions in Spain and come in a variety of colors. The most popular among them is known as the Dark Emperador. Its coloring – a deep chocolate brown with irregular veining – gives the stone a warm feel to it which translates into a cozy feel in any home where it is used. Dark Emperador, a popular choice among homeowners, is especially popular as flooring or bordering fireplaces.

Crema Marfil

Although this marble comes in a variety of colors it’s most popular – and widely known – is a creamy yellow with many veining variations. Like the Emperado, Crema Marfil is a warm natural stone and provides a homey feel to any house. In particular, this stone looks terrific with natural wood. For this reason it often is a popular choice for exterior installations.

There are, of course, many other marbles to choose from. Some of the more popular choices include Black, Travertine, Blue, Arabescato and Verde. As mentioned, your best bet is to locate a well-known natural stone retailer in your area and check out their inventory with the help of a home design rep.

Are All Marbles Equal in their Durability?

There is a tradeoff for the beauty of a marble countertop in your kitchen or bathroom. It’s softer than granite or quartz and acids can etch the surface. This means your countertops will show wear and develop their own unique character over time. So care is required when you have marble in your home.

There are differences in how well different types of marble hold up. Some marbles from Italy may be more elegant but also more prone to etching as opposed to a dolomite style marble from Brazil.  Dolomite marbles like Fantasy Brown or Super White will typically hold up better to wear so not all marbles are created equal.