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Under a microscope, a marble slab resembles a luminescent stained-glass window of interlocking calico carbonate crystals. The stone is produced when sedimentary carbonate rocks (typically dolomite or limestone) undergo the process of metamorphism—the change in mineral structure through heat and compression—and become marble.

Marble comes in an array of hues across the color spectrum—from cream to olive to rose to jet black—and is distinguished by the darker filigrees swirled throughout its texture, a result of mineral impurities like sand, silt, and iron oxides in the flesh of the stone.