Calacatta – “one lump or two?”

Calacatta Marble Block @ the Quarry

I thought some of our customers might enjoy looking at Italian Calacatta just before it is off to get the chop.  Fom this we create Calacatta 12×12″, Calacatta chair rail, Calacatta skirting, Calacatta Subway Tile and other mosaics.  You can see Italian Carrara next to it (on the left – our left).  If you look carefully you can see how white the Calacatta is compared to the Carrara.

Polished Basketweave, 3×6″ (also 6×12″) Skirting, Chair rail & Pencil now in stock

Carrara Bianco polished 3×6″ Subway Tile $7SF ● Carrara polished Bianco Skirting $19.95EA
Carrara Bianco polished Chair rail $13.95EA ● Carrara Bianco polished Basketweave $11.75SF

Calacatta Marble Honed Collection

Calacatta Marble 3×6″ Subway Tile Honed & Polished

Calacatta Premium Italian Marble Chair rail Honed $22.50EA & Free Shipping

The Calacatta Gold collection grew over the weekend with some new honed products turning up.  This collection of premium Italian stone will be the highest quality white based gray and gold veining stone that Italy has to offer and we will take this premium product from its raw quarried form and create an incredible collection of tiles, subway tiles, mosaics and trims.  We import this directly ourselves and instead of then selling to a distributor who then doubles the price and sells to retail who then again doubles the price and sells to the consumer (200%+ markup) we will sell directly to the consumer.

Selling with the classic no frills marketing strategy that has come to be synonymous with we will finally make Calacatta affordable.  It will still be almost 2x the cost of Carrara as a raw material the blocks cost more than twice as much as Carrara – it is more difficult to get hold, few quarries simply being able to get the product is an accomplishment – but we have and not just tiles.

Currently in Stock:

  • Calacatta Honed 3×6″ Subway Tile $12.95SF
  • Calacatta Honed 2″ Hexagon Mosaic $21.95SF
  • Calacatta Honed 12″ Pencil Bullnose Trim $15.55EA (free ship)
  • Calacatta Honed 12″ Chair Rail Trim $22.50EA (free ship)
  • Calacatta Honed 4×12″ Skirting Base Trim $31.75EA (free ship)

How to spot ‘Fake Carrara’ and some examples.

We quite often hear from customers that have purchased Carrara marble samples from different companies and ended up with something that has not met their expectations (not even close).  I think the USA is one of the few modern Western countries that does not have some sort consumer protection law or trade description act (like the UK for example: An Act to replace the Merchandise Marks Acts 1887 to 1953 by fresh provisions prohibiting miss-descriptions of goods, services, accommodation and facilities provided in the course of trade).  It is simply Caveat Emptor.  If there was a Trade Description act I would think that some companies calling their Carrara actually Carrara would be illegal.

Carrara marble – true Italian Carrara as in marble from the Italian region of Carrara not Turkish Carrara (which is impossible as there is no region in Turkey called Carrara) which is a play of words to trick the consumer is a Gray/White base with Gray veining and most defiantly not yellow. Fake Carrara is pretty easy to spot.  From China is/has more than 30% yellow (some cases 80% yellow) color to the stone.  From Turkey smudges of Gray on a crystalized base.  Both are extremely cheap for the retailer to purchase in most cases just $2SF this in term they label as Carrara and sell for $10/$15SF.  The cost of true Italian Carrara is closer to $5/$7SF making the margins a lot smaller and thus less appealing for retailers to sell.  More money in selling the fake stuff.

Here are some examples from one retailer.  Look at the basketweave flooring in the bathroom.  Oddly enough the consumer in the installed bathroom is happy with the floor (maybe they think it is Calacatta?).  However on a well-known discussion board the customer who purchased their ‘yellow’ basketweave was very unhappy. If you search ‘well known tile retailer’ (we cannot mention names) as in the google screen shot up comes the warning and blog about the very basketweave in question. You could argue it is a mistake an error a bad batch – but when you see the blog pictures of the stone installed in another part of the USA – I started to wonder how many other people have ‘yellow basketweave’ flooring. PS.  At the bottom I have included a picture of our Basketweave – Carrara Bianco ‘True Italian Stone’.  We will never make as much profit by selling the Real McCoy but then we also do not have a high cost structure.  So instead we pass the value on in quality and price to our customer.

Wrong Color BasketweaveNot Our Basketweave from a retailer shown in Blog Young House Love

Not Our Basketweave from a retailer shown in Blog Young House Love

A search of Carrara Basketweave from ‘retailer’ on Google

Unhappy customer on Garden web blog explains more about their buying experience

Real Italian Carrara Basketweave Marble Tile from

The last picture is of genuine Italian Carrara marble from Carrara Italy – it is pretty easy to see and tell the difference.  What is really unfair is when coming to sell your home people will ask – ‘where is the marble from’ and if you have a yellow floor that looks like the top pictures you may be better off saying it is Honey Onyx.

*this is my disclaimer, I am not a journalist and without spell check I would be a failure, so there are most likely grammatical errors in this post, I apologize and this probably does not read especially well.  This post is just designed to help. I am just tired of walking into retailers and seeing signs for “Turkish Carrara” how is that even possible, Carrara is from the Tuscan region in Italy. Turkey is another county. In hindsight Italy should have looked after their brand better, protected a stone over which they have a natural monopoly. I have even seen “Manhattan Carrara”, I have been to Manhattan and did not see a teleport system with trucks of Italian marble driving through it either.

Turkish Carrara is the worst, it is an obvious spot to even estate agents, which is really sad. When people come to sell their home and think they have added $30K in equity with an Italian marble bathroom and then it is pointed out to them, “erm….. this is not an Italian marble bathroom, it is marble, but not Italian” that has to be a very sad moment. This is all we are trying to do pull back the curtain on this industry and help people make choices whether that is buying from us or elsewhere.  Where you buy from is not relevant we sell all the marble we can get that fits in our quality bracket. I would just be sure to get a sample and ask for pictures before it ships. You have those rights, then if you are happy with how it looks that is probably the most important factor, a bathroom that makes you happy!

New Products for 2012 – Long Octagon


What does everyone think?  Would this look good in Carrara Bianco, Carrara Venato or Calacatta?  I think in Calacatta it would look the best – but that is probably becuase Calacatta offers the whitest base of any white marble along with the most dramatic veining.

Basketcase for Basketweave @ $12.25SF + Free Shipping

Personally I can see very quickly why Carrara marble Basketweave mosaic tiles are as popular as they are.  Here is a small collection of Carrara Basketweave from The Builder Depot.