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Limestone is a sedimentary rock made up from layers of accumulated organic matter deposited beneath shallow seas millions of years ago. This turned to stone under extreme pressure over time and fossils and impurities provide the patterns and colour variations within the stone.

Marble is a metamorphic rock that was originally limestone which crystallised when subjected to immense heat and pressure. This heat destroyed any fossil and sediments present in the original rock, and pressure created the cracks that are evident in many marbles, whilst the colour of the marble is contingent upon the mineral and chemical content. However, scientific definitions of what constitutes limestone or marble differ from the way they are categorised commercially.

Limestone and marble are both limerocks which is a historic term for stone that is roasted to produce lime which is a basic ingredient in cement and many other industrial processes. From an industrial viewpoint, the important constituent of limerock is calcite and stone suitable for industry was called limestone. The limerock that was put to decorative or structural use was called marble which derives from the ancient Greek marmaron - to shine.

Because limestone is (generally) less dense than marble and lacks the visual impact, historically, it has been used for
columns, cladding and external flooring. It may be honed or polished smooth, but is in the main part limited to a matte finish. Marble is preferred for floors, entrances, internal columns and steps. The full beauty of marble is seen when light penetrates into the stone, giving the stone a glowing translucency.

Much of our stone is sourced in the Middle East (mainly Israel and Egypt) and is denser than the majority of limestone. The 'Ha scale' measures wear from foot traffic:

Turkish and European limestones range from 18 to 28Ha. Granite starts at 38Ha. Our stone starts from 26Ha and Ivory Cream is rated 42Ha. In fact, Ivory Cream has been installed at Cairo International Airport with in excess of 5 million annual passengers.

This effectively means that all of our stones are dense enough to be supplied with a stunning polished finish whilst also being extremely hard wearing if supplied with the popular honed and tumbled limestone look.

This may muddy the waters somewhat and it may just be easier to describe your polished floor as marble whilst your tumbled tiles can be called limestone. Alternatively, you
could just say - your beautiful stone floor!
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