The word "marble" derives from the Ancient Greek (mármaron) "crystalline rock", "shining stone”.
Marble is a rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, most commonly limestone or dolomite rock. Metamorphism causes variable recrystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains. Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of a very pure (silicate-poor) limestone or dolomite original carbonate rock (the protolith). The characteristic swirls and veins of many coloured marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally magnesium-rich limestone or dolomite with silica impurities.
As the favourite medium for Greek and Roman sculptors and architects, marble has become a cultural symbol of tradition and refined taste. However not many know that Scotland also has its own opulent marbles. From good luck charm, jewellery and to construction of famous buildings - this stone has a long tradition in Scottish culture.
SCOTTISH HIGHLAND MARBLE
Just north of Ledmore, on the northwestern edge of the Loch Borralan Complex, lies Ledmore Quarry where this Marble is still being mined. The colour of this rock depends on the chemistry: white veins resulting from calcium compounds, lime green veining originating from copper compounds, and greys and blacks from organic compounds. This is due to its age - the initial deposits laid down 600 million years ago, but the veining is relatively young at 430 million years. Our favourite shade is delicate yellow – so different to marbles from other Scottish locations Ledmore Marble is the most common marble in Scotland used today in construction and decorative work.
IONA GREEN MARBLE
This marble was mined on the Isle of Iona from medieval times until the early 20th Century. It is believed to be connected to St Columba - Patron of Derry in Ireland who arrived on Iona in 563 AD. Iona marble is a 2700 million year old rock composed of calcite, serpentine and tremolite. Together they create a unique effect which stands out among other Scottish Green Marbles. Today the old quarry remains are under protection so only way to collect samples is by diving!
PINK TIREE MARBLE
It is found only on Isle of Tiree on the west coast of Scotland. This rock is unique on the World scale. Tiree Marble contains very attractive pink calcite and dolomite, spotted with dots of green diopside and black pyroxene. It is one of the oldest rocks in Scotland - 3 to 1.7 billion years old! This stone, known also as Isla Rosa, is becoming popular again among Scottish jewellers and lapidarists.
Skye Marble has been extracted from Strath Suardal, Torrin on Isle of Skye for centuries. Formed 500 million years ago, the amazing colours and shapes produced by incredible pressure and time on marine sediments, has created a remarkably beautiful stone used to adorn buildings all over the world. This marble has many shades – white, grey, green and even pink! Occasionally you can find fossils in marble that has been metamorphosed only lightly.
SCOTTISH DARK FORSTERITE MARBLE
Our Forsterite Marble comes from a very small recently discovered deposit near Loch Creran, Argyll, Scotland. It has distinctive dark green colour with black, white and purple swirls. It also displays folding – rare in the marble family. Caledonian Rock Shop has introduced this stone to the market and is the exclusive supplier of this, the greenest marble in Scotland.
HIGHLAND FORSTERITE MARBLE
Loch Duich area produces a grey-white marble, dark on weathered surfaces, with rounded greenish-black diopside and serpentinized olivine. It is quite coarse grained rock, very unique in its appearance.