What's the Difference Between Calacatta and Carrara Marble?

Calacatta marble is the most sought after material in the natural stone universe. There are Calacatta marbles with intricate veining as seen in our Calacatta Gold marble for the detail-oriented or larger, bold veining featured in our Calacatta Lincoln for a striking appearance, and even linear veining seen in our Calacatta Marble for something unique. From rich cabernet tones seen in our Calacatta Viola marble to dramatic gold and taupes featured in our Calacatta Macchia Vecchia marble, there are endless looks and styles that you can achieve with a Calacatta marble.

But anyone who has shopped for Calacatta marble knows that there are so many types and price ranges out there. So how do you know if you are buying the real thing or a cheap knock off version?

Calacatta vs. Carrara Appearance Differences
Left: Carrara Marble | Right: Aria Stone Gallery's Calacatta Vagli Marble. Image courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.

Calacatta vs. Carrara: How do they look different?

Typically, Carrara features muddy hues and is not pure white. Carrara is also less expensive and more common to find in your everyday marketplace or cut into tiles. On the contrary, Calacatta has very bold veining with a crisp white background. While each natural stone slab is unique, Calacatta marble is much rarer than your typical Carrara.

Calacatta Viola Marble Kitchen | Aria Stone Gallery
Calacatta Primavera Marble Kitchen 01
Calacatta Caldia Extra Marble Kitchen | Aria Stone Gallery

Where Does Calacatta Marble Come From?

Calacatta marble comes from quarries found in the Apuan Mountains in Carrara, Italy. Owner of Aria Stone Gallery, Vinny Tavares, has been going to the Carrara area of Tuscany in Italy – the land of Calacatta marble – for the past 10 years. Tavares explains, “what most people don’t realize is that Calacatta marble doesn’t come from one specific mountain or quarry. There is a vast mountain range in the Carrara region in Italy, with each quarry producing a variety of white marbles such as: Bianco Carrara, Goiai, Venatino, Statuario and finally, Calacatta marble. All of these materials are white marble with more or less the same geological formation.”

Some quarries produce better Calacatta marble than others. For example, the Borghini Quarry is one of the oldest operating quarries in the Carrara region and some of the quarry’s cuts are traced back to Roman Times.

Calacatta Namibia Marble Kitchen by Marie Flanigan Interiors
Calacatta Gold Marble Bathrom | Aria Stone Gallery

What Does the Perfect Calacatta Marble Slab Look Like?

In order to understand Calacatta, you need to know Calacatta is not. Just because someone calls Statuario marble, “Calacatta” – does not mean it is a true Calacatta. But what truly differentiates all the white marbles in the Calacatta Region–as the Italians have discovered hundreds of years ago–is the stone’s veining and how white the background is. The whiter the material, the more expensive the slabs. The more “uniform” the veining in the stone, the pricier it gets.

Here at Aria we only go for the best Calacatta slabs, the one in a thousand. For example, the one with the most unique veining and most clear and consistent pattern meets Aria’s standards and is what you will see at one of our galleries.