What Is Marble Dust?

Written by brenda priddy
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What Is Marble Dust?
Many marble products use marble dust combined with cement. (Marble - Unpolished image by JacWill from Fotolia.com)

Marble dust is crushed or ground marble particles that can still be formed to make a solid object. The dust is used in many more instances than marble itself because of its lower cost and versatility. Marble dust is typically mixed with cement or resins to make cultured marble, which looks similar to true marble.

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Identification

Marble dust is characterised by its fine powdery texture, similar to that of crushed limestone. Since marble is a harder, crystallised rock, the dust is not comprised of soft particles. The dust also has a slight shimmer to it because of the crystallised particles, and it can also be discoloured with brown, grey, yellow, pink or even greenish particles due to impurities in the original marble.

Uses

Marble dust is mixed with concrete, cement or synthetic resins to make counters, building stones, sculptures, floors and many other objects. Marble dust give an iridescent feel to the object because of the crystallised particles present in the dust from the marble. These cultured marble objects are often seen in luxury settings. Synthetic marble objects made with marble dust are more commonly used than 100 per cent solid marble objects. Marble dust is also used to make paint primer for canvas paintings, and as a paint filler.

Origins

Marble dust comes from crushed marble, which is formed by the crystallisation of limestone or dolostone. The crystals appear as a calcite material through different atmospheric and temperature changes. The pressure present in the formation of marble destroys any other objects in the rock creating a dense, smooth rock. Coloured marble is produced when different amounts of silt, clay and other objects are mixed with the limestone.

Types

The different types of marble dust often are named for the country it originates from. Carrara marble dust comes from Italy, and is the kind used in many Roman sculptures. Pentelicus dust comes from Greece, and was used for many Greek sculptures and buildings. Another kind of marble dust originates from Proconnesus, a quarry in Turkey.

Significance

Individuals who cannot afford solid marble to use in furniture, buildings, floors and other objects will often turn to objects that include marble dust instead. Not only can it look like the real thing, it's easier to transport than solid marble.

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