Business & Industry

Jun 1, 2015

Kings of Stone

Marble in Iran has been extracted and used for hundreds of years, and this is not by accident. Here, in the mountainous country, we find over 150 quarries, driving Iran to become one of the biggest marble stone producers.

The thing about marble is that every little mineral during the long process of its formation will influence in the type of marble generated. Marble is metamorphosed limestone, meaning the limestone melted and slowly re-solidified. Depending on the original composition of the limestone, the resulting marble will be different in many aspects, from hardness to color: the purest calcite marble is white, while marble containing hematite has a reddish color. On the other hand, marble that has limonite is yellow, and marble with serpentine is green. These are all geological impurities that were present during the formation of the rock. This stone has a hardness rating of 2.5 – 5 out of 10 (10 is diamond) on Moh's scale, and it can be categorized into three types:  Dolomite, with more than 40% magnesium carbonate; Magnesium, with between 5% and 40% magnesium carbonate; or Calcite, having less than 5% magnesium carbonate.

Such a beautiful stone, with so many colors should be used and abused. There's a panoply of uses. It can withstand huge traffic and repetitive use, so it's appropriate for flooring. It's resistant to moisture so cleaning spills is very simple, making it perfect for kitchen counters, fireplaces, foyers, bars or tables. Also, water absorption factor of marble is low (0.08-0.12 %), so it can be used for finishing of bathrooms, pools, fountains or on exterior walls, wall cladding, windows, and even showers. Plus, it can be used for fireplaces, where temperatures normally exceed usual temperature, since heat does not influence on marble. 

And of course it is used for sculpting. Certain marbles since antiquity have been valued not only for sculpture but for architectural uses as well. The marbles prized for statuary are usually very pure and reflect light softly or semi-translucently due to the light penetrating to a certain depth. These are very pure calcite marble, the most valuable variety, and it must be pure white and of uniform grain size. 

Mining

Marble mining must be conducted with care. Because it not that hard of a stone, it easily shatters into thousands of bits if exploded, and so, the technique used consists basically of separating the blocks from each other through grooves and holes in the blocks. Miners outline a block of marble with rows of grooves and holes, drive wedges into the openings and separate the block from the surrounding rock. If the rock already has naturally formed grooves and joints, it is better to use them, and follow the best direction for splitting, with wedges driven into these groves and holes. After cutting and shaping the block, it may or may not be polished with several grades of abrasive, depending on the desired polishing level

Iranian marble production

One of the biggest mineral production countries, Iran has around 86 different types of minerals, 37 billion tons of reserves, and more 57 million tons of potential reserves, holding 6% of the world's mining production, with the country's investments in mining field at 30%. 

Natural stones of Iran are acknowledged worldwide as the best in variety, color, and quality. Here, travertine, onyx and marble are found in colors and shades which don't exist in other regions of the world. The best marble, with 4 million tons of deposits, has better physical and chemical properties than stones from other origins, and the widest variety in colored marbles like red, black, white, cream and orange among others. Some stones like Dehbid cream stone are unique in the world, because of their hardness, capacity, beauty and color. This specific stone is sold all over the world, and is considered very luxurious. Today, there are 151 active Marble mines in Iran, from several types of stones like travertine, onyx and limestone. The fact that the country is so centered in the Middle East, with access by sea in the south, provides even more success in exportation, along with hundreds of sellers and suppliers.

Iranian marble is becoming famed beyond belief. The growing rate of search, high quality standards and easy availability make it a desired item, and a must have in elite buildings. It enriches homes, malls, streets and museums, but more than that, it enriches the eye and the search for beauty.


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