Marble is a metamorphic rock, composed of calcite or dolomite crystals. The texture is the result of heat and pressure creating a metamorphism of limestone. Marble is a loosely applied term to any limestone or dolomite that will take a good polish, and is suitable for use as a building material.
Marbles range in shade from snow white to black, with many varieties containing shades of other more vibrant colors. The colors result from content of impurities, often arranged in bands or patches, which add to the beauty of the finished polished piece. However, these impurities also decrease its durability, requiring that it best be handled and installed by experienced professionals.
Today's famous Italian marble are the Carrara and Siena of Tuscany, used by the sculptors of the Renaissance. Vermont marble is America's finest, although excellent stone is also quarried in Massachusetts, Maryland, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, California, Colorado and Arizona.
Archaeologists have discovered colored glazed tiles in Egypt that date back to 4700 BC! Tile making is supposed to have evolved from early pottery manufacture, and discovery of the earliest architectural sites gives evidence of its use as a building material.
Decorative wall tiles, intended for use as wall facings, are distinguished from other ceramic products such as brick, terra cotta, and roofing tiles.
Ancient ceramics are known to have been perfected in Mesopotamia, where large walls were faced with decorated tiles as early as the 7th century BC. The ancient Greeks and Romans were known to have used tile for sewer lines, as well as heating and smoke conduits in their buildings.
Today's choices of style and color are endless, allowing for unlimited decorating possibilities from tile.