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 thebuilderdepot.com

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!

9 Responses to How to spot ‘Fake Carrara’ and some examples.

  1. al says:

    Is all about customer satisfaction and expectation. The beauty of the stone is in the eye of the beholder-gray vs. gold. Perhaps in this situation the issue is selling a marble that is called carrara but not from Carrara Italy. However if the seller provides the origin of the marble (regardless of its name,) it is up to the consumer to decide on the purchase. Prices in the market fluctuates (supply and demand) and often independent of the actual cost of the item; look at our gas prices! Someone is making the money in that market.

  2. karen says:

    I went to a tile shop and orderd Carrara Marble tiles for a bath renovation. Although the tile looked a little off we were assured that the time was indeed Carrara. We took the tile home, then went in search of s Carrara slab to be used for a vanity and bath surround. We found that our tile didn’t match any Carrara slabs we were shown and two separate vendors told us that the tile was either chinese or turkish marble. We got on line and found this post and we were shocked that we’d been taken. We then checked the styrofoam containers the tiles came in and sure enough they were stamped Made in Turkey. We’re taking the company to small claims court to get our money back. Do you have further information that would help us with our claim? In my opinion, when you request Carrara…it means Italy not Turkey. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for posting this information.!

    • Hello. I am sorry to hear about this. If you have yet to install the product then I would have expected a return to be fairly straight forwards? Would they not even let you take the uninstalled product back?

      • karen says:

        After alot of complaining they did take most of the unused tile back. However, there were twenty tiles that were bullnosed that they won’t take back. They say they can’t sell them which I would understand if I just willy nilly decided I didn’t want to use Carrara tile. However, the only reason we’re returning them is because they’re Turkish marble and we wanted Carrara. Would you believe these people had the nerve to tell me that you can’t get Carrara from Italy any more? So, although we’re willing to take a loss on the tile we put up (and the new sheetrock and glass decorative tile that was destroyed when we pulled the Turkish Marbleoff our walls) we don’t think it’s fair that we have to pay $200 for the tiles and a whopping $300 for bullnosing–which was outrageous! Again, they keep insisting that the sold us Turkish Carrara. I’m hoping the judge will read your post (we printed it out with several others) and understand that we were scammed and that although the tile was bullnosed, the only reason it’s coming back was because it wasn’t what we ordered.

  3. I have no response, how someone can say “you cannot get Carrara from Italy anymore” is incredible. “So why are you calling all these products Carrara?” (would be my response). Carrara can actually been seen from Satellites in space. The large white area in Tuscan region of Italy is the mountain, that is Carrara marble.

    Just ridiculous comment, I wish it had been recorded. But on reflection, this is one person from a company that employees thousands. I am not sure we can judge the business based on that. The person was flustered and lied instead of telling the truth. Or did not know it was a lie and was just saying what he had been told. Either way a business should never be judged by the few, no matter how frustrating the few are. I am not supporting them, just pointing this out. I am sure they have a lot of really positive reviews out online. It is just on this occasion you ran into probably the worst of the worst. That is my hope anyway. For the industry’s sake.

    In the end, sounds like a HR re-training issue.

    It is difficult. Consumers want low prices. Companies need to provide that to attract the consumer. But how can that be done with retail showroom costs, all the costs, corporate offices costs, marketing and on and on. It cannot. The only way is to have no costs (except those that pertain directly to shipping the order, a warehouse space and smart people), no marketing managers, no marketing costs, no advertising, etc. Take the product direct from Italy and sell it direct. Make the product the best you can make it. Then rely on word-of-mouth to grow. Accept that you will never have a private jet (and it is hardly necessary), 20 cars and 6 homes. Accept that margins will be tight and that you will just have to work very, very 16 hours a day hard and make a reasonable living. The people that join the company have to accept and understand the same. To survive in this market we have to offer incredible value and that leads to a good living, but not Trump living 🙂

  4. In reference to all this. It is our opinion that when buying from a store that sells online. Ensure they are a Google Trusted Store. That they have that badge. That is the only review system you cannot cheat. Some of the others. You can call customers ask for their opinion on how the order went…. they say great then the retailer will say wonderful, if you would not mind completing a review we will send you a $50.00 gift card. They are paying for the reviews.

    The Google trusted store program is and we have looked at pretty much all of them (even the ones that Google vouches for which I think they will take a few of those back) is the only 100% way for showing pure unbiased legitimate customer reviews.

    Then look. Look at the tile industry. I only know of one (1) that is ‘1’ company that is a Google Trusted Store partner. One, only one. It is pathetic. It is great that the one is us. But what a shady and terrible industry. We are determined to fix it. To provide the facts. Hampton Carrara, please…. come on everyone, really. There is no Italian Mountain in the “Hamptons” so that cannot and will not ever be real Italian marble. Want to take them to court for it, it will be like the “Manhattan” Carrara. There is no Italian Marble Mountain in Little Italy either.

    I think the Judge and courts will take the view that if you believe that Italian Carrara in quarried in Manhattan, the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard then you deserve what you get. I really do. They are clear on the name. It just takes common sense. If it was 100% Italian marble it would have a large sticker saying “100% Italian” Marble. It does not.

    So in short:

    #1. Go with a Google Trusted Store

    Being lied to. That is a separate issue and for that I would take offense and I would be upset and expect my money back. I would start by reporting them to the BBB. Then if that goes no where then you can see. But you need to get to corporate. Let them know you are not going to stop. What they have done is wrong and they are responsible for their people and the information they provide.

    But again it is one person in a company of hundreds .It is the same with any business or company or the world for that matter. It is that 4-5% that make everything such hard work for the rest of us who simply understand “we want to be treated in the same way we treat others”.

  5. Brunella says:

    I just purchased Venato Carrara, and was told by “Ben” whom I emailed, that my marble (which I just assumed was from Carrara, Italy, was actually only 80 percent from Italy, some from Greece and some from Asia. So after reading this article, I ask myself, what did I get?

    • You are correct. To create the whiter look with some blanks, some of this product is Calatata and Thassos, both recognized as a premium product when compared to Carrara. The Bianco Carrara is 100% Italian marble. We look at Asia and Alabama marble, but have yet to find blocks or a section of the quarry to match.

      Thank you
      The Builder Depot.

    • As a product line we already have Bianco Carrara, 100% Italian, a gray base with darker gray veining. We wanted a white base with less veining. Bianco has veining on every tile. Venato does not.

      It is easier to see these differences in a room scene with Venato and Bianco.

      Both are excellent collections and we have had customers installing them for….. wow for over 15 years now (2017 Time fly’s!) and without issue.

      If you are unhappy please let us know and we can get the product picked up and you refunded. We do not want anyone unhappy with their purchase. Thats not a nice feeling.

      Please let me know.

      Thank you
      The Builder Depot.

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