Italian marble. Is it a splurge only the biggest budgets can justify? Or is it the most necessary ingredient for a quality design that will last decades?
Chinese marble is a ‘go-to’ alternative to genuine Italian marble, but is it really worth the price cut? At Kreoo, we’ve compiled a list of all the reasons why you really don’t want to settle for second best. Take a look and decide for yourself…
1. A rose by any other name…
The most common alternative to genuine Italian marble is “Chinese Carrara”.
If you ever see this terminology, run. Chinese Carrara is nothing more than false advertising. Carrara marble is ONLY quarried in Carrara Italy. That’s what makes it Carrara marble. Anything else is fraud, pure and simple.
Sure, some of you may say “It’s just a label. That’s no big deal.” And if it were just a label, we’d agree with you. But in the marble industry, quality and expectations are directly linked to the title of the chosen stone.
For example, Carrara marble is a white to blue-grey, showing a soft gray veining, only mined in Carrara Italy. Calacatta marble is much more dynamic, with bold veins set against a white base. Its variations offer a wide range of both warm and cool tones. So as you can see, how a marble is labeled is vital to the final quality of your design.
While less expensive than genuine Italian marble, Chinese marble is usually extremely poor quality stone. It is notorious for yellowing and rusting over time. Typically clients who lean toward marble are interested in something that will last years, not something that needs replaced quickly. Italian marble has been used in the greatest works of art and architecture the world has ever seen! Sculptures and buildings that have stood for hundreds of years are a testament to the durability of true Italian marble.
2. Selection specialists
Did you know that an experienced quarry foreman can tell from the shape of the quarry mount the quality of the marble inside? Italian companies have been developing this expertise for years and employ exactly those kinds of experts when quarrying stone.
A quarry is something like nature’s warehouse. It is the foreman’s job to make the right selection for the most efficiency, and minimal waste or affect on the environment. It takes a lot of skill to pick a good quality block.
After each block is selected, it is further sectioned into individual slabs. Through the cutting and shaping process, there will always be “surprises”, imperfections in each stone. True quarrying experts, like those at Kreoo and other Italian marble quarries will excise those sections to offer only the best spans of stone to designers and final customers.
3. The devil is in the details
This is probably the most overlooked reason why Italian marble is the best choice for design, but it’s no less important. Most people easily understand why stone quality is so important. However, the processes, the behind-the-scenes details that go into crafting and manufacturing the final product are just as important as the actual block of stone!
In marble tile, it’s not only a question of stone quality, but production quality as well. The best marble products have crisp cuts, even thickness across every sheet, and high quality mesh backing with solid adhesive to give extra security. For solid projects like sinks and furniture, the quality of the finish determines the quality of the final product. In fact Kreoo has developed it’s own protecting hydro-oil-repellent finishes for increased durability.
This is the major difference between Italian and Chinese marble companies. Italy operates from a permeating culture of excellence. From shoes to wine, anything that comes out of Italy is certain to be of the highest quality.
While “Made in Italy” is synonymous with excellence, “Made in China” is reason enough to put a toy back on the store shelf. Why should it be any different with large purchases like marble?
4. Process makes perfect
Now that we’ve hit on the major quality issues, it’s time to look at the companies behind the sales. Once you’ve found a quality product, made from a beautiful stone, it’s pretty important that it makes it to you in one piece. And when there’s a problem? Companies that care about making things right are worth their weight in gold.
When it comes to shipping and top customer care, Italian companies like Kreoo know what they’re doing. Often, Chinese firms don’t take care to ship products properly. Shipping containers can reach extreme temperatures which affect the integrity of the marble as well as stretch or shrink mesh backing, resulting in misshapen sheets of tile and other imperfections.
On the other hand Italian marble manufacturers are known for their attention to detail. At Kreoo, mosaics and marble inlays are pre-installed at the Italian factory to ensure a perfect alignment in the final product.
5. A glowing past, a brighter future
The last reason we will always, always recommend Italian marble manufacturers if for the history and authenticity they bring to any design project.
When asked what defined luxury, blogger and designer Martyn White said this:
It is all about the finer details, the connections and the story in its creation.
That history is what propels designers into the future. And that’s another thing you need to be aware of when spec’ing your next marble piece. Where is this company going to be three months from now? In five years, will you have cultivated a longstanding relationship that adds credibility to your firm or will you be scrambling, again, to find another manufacturer because the last one went out of business…
Knowing you can trust the companies you work with enables you as a designer to be bolder, more creative, more empowered. In the long run, that is what will truly benefit your customers.
What do you think? Is Italian marble worth the splurge? Share your comments below!