How to Identify Marble

Philippa Jones

Marble is a distinctive type of stone made from limestone. It forms into many different colors, varying according to its mineral composition. Marble is extracted from the Earth's crust and processed for use in construction. Tiles, flooring or sculptures are commonly made from marble.

Marble is a decorative stone.

Identifying treated marble is relatively straightforward once you know what characteristics to look for.

  1. Wash the material you are identifying to ensure the surface is free from grime, dirt and debris that could affect the identification process.

  2. Touch the surface of the material. Stroke it and feel its texture. Marble is very smooth and silky to touch. If you experience any roughness, then the material is not marble.

  3. Look at the material from a different angle to identify a glossy, almost translucent quality on the surface. Marble is shiny and very reflective when polished. Moving your head will allow light to reflect off the marble at different angles for you to check this characteristic.

  4. Assess the type of pattern the material has. Marble has a grain that runs through it, consisting of fluid lines that create a disorganized pattern in the stone. Some of the lines smudge and swirl. If the marble has speckles or crystal-like markings, then it is more likely to be granite stone.

  5. Look at the color of the marble. Marble consists of at least two tones of color, since the grain is a different color than other parts of the marble. The colors can be cream, red, black and white, or gray. The colors will be subtle pastel shades, rather than bright green, pink or yellow.

  6. Lift the material if it is small enough for you to do so. Marble is heavy, compared to plastic, wood or paper products. A large tile will feel solid and heavy -- however, granite is also heavy, so you will need to look at the pattern on the material to distinguish between the two.

  7. Splash water on the material. Marble does not absorb water -- it will pool on the surface. Perform this test to check that the water does not seep into it.


Compare the material with pictures of marble to confirm its identity. Seek advice from a builder or hardware store, if you remain unsure about the identity of the material.