A Town called Markina
The grizzly old Spaniard plucked up the bottle, tumbled another shot of sticky local liquor into my glass, scrunched his raised eyebrows, and waited.
“You do know where you are?” he repeated, clinking the bottle back down onto the jet black marble countertop.
I drew my forearm across my sweaty brow, pulled the map out of my backpack, and traced a clammy finger along the route.
“Eh, Markina?” I said, “I’m in Markina?”
The old man smiled and nodded. He rubbed his hand along the cool marble counter. “Welcome to the Markina. Welcome to Marble Town.”
I’d planned to walk as far as the much larger town of Guernika that day. I’d just stopped at his bar for some respite from the sizzling sun. But that old man held me captive all afternoon with his stories. Stories about the beautiful black marble quarried on the hill overlooking the town. About his countless trips as a young merchant seaman, transporting the marble to the UK. And in particular, his audacious adventures in ports up and down the country, from Southampton in the South of England to Leith in Scotland.
That was the day, lazing over drinks in the shade of his bar terrace, enraptured by his tales, that I learned the story of marble. As the afternoon progressed we were joined by other elderly men, all former mariners or marble quarrymen, who pitched in their sixpence worth. Sitting on that bar terrace in the little town I learned that the stone quarried on the hillside facing us was named Marquina after the town. I understood it was one of the most popular marbles on earth, that it had caught the imagination of architects and designers from around the world right throughout history – from ancient temples to the current marble MacBook skin. That was the day that I learned to love marble.
A Marble called Marquina
Marquina marble, one of Spain’s most famous natural stones, is a black marble of the highest quality that is acclaimed internationally due to its enchanting, genuine black colour. It’s a fine and compact grain, and can range from pure stunning black, to a veined texture with varying occurrences of fossils. Its main variations depend on the intensity of the black colour, and the abundance of white veins and fossils. Marquina is considered to be one of the most important black coloured marbles in the world.
It’s easy to understand the reasons behind Marquina´s success and why it has caught the imagination of stylists both globally and historically. As you can see in the above image, it has an amazing look, with a deep, pure, gorgeously genuine black appearance. Magnificent white vein variations run through it. This variation boasts a unique elegance and has a beautiful presentation, bearing a strong contrast between the dark black and the well-defined white vein. It is a marble that adds splendour and richness to any space.
Marble in the Home
Due to its stunning appearance, Marquina marble has a variety of applications, the most popular being in flooring, staircases, and interior design. Marquina marble is also applied with striking effect on fireplaces, in bathroom design, and kitchen countertops. Indeed, it is even known to be used on bar counters in certain towns in Spain!
A Marble Too Exclusive for any of us to Savour
Like most things in life, however, the story of Marquina marble is not all milk and honey, and the gorgeous black stone is not without its downside.
One shortcoming relates to the occasional presence of carbon in the stone, which leads to weakness in the finished product.
A second more fundamental issue, however, is related to the enormous esteem in which the stone is held, and the colossal international demand for this first quality material. As a consequence, Marquina has become an extremely expensive and exclusive marble. Indeed, its prohibitive price means that the vast majority of us will never get to appreciate its gorgeous lustre inside our homes.
Tile Devil to the Rescue
And this, I’m delighted to tell you, is where Tile Devil rides in to the rescue. Tile Devil’s mission is to crucify the gods of exclusivity and to bring the beauty of the natural world to us all, at an accessible price. Inspired by the exquisite beauty of Marquina marble, yet affronted by its exclusive pricing, Tile Devil has endeavoured to bring marble effect floor tiles to the UK consumer.
And that’s not all. In my article next week, not only will I explain exactly what marble effect tiles are, but I’ll also elaborate on why many consider it to be, as U2’s Bono says, even better than the real thing.
By The Tile Monk.
About The Author
The Tile Monk lives a simple life devoted completely to tile worship. He meditates on tiles, about tiles. He no longer lays tiles; that’s for his younger apprentices. You cannot follow him on Twitter or Facebook, as his time on this earth is dedicated solely to the contemplation of tiles, and occasional blogposts.