Portuguese Pink Marble
Portuguese Pink Marble is a marble rock with very light and heterogeneous colors ranging from white, cream, and various shades of pink. The heterogeneity also affects the veins, which can be various colors such as green, brown, gray, or black.
This pink marble is one of the most important in the Portuguese industry. It is one of the Portuguese stones that is most exported and probably the most well-known in the stone market. However, despite its “status” as a commercial name, not much is known about this limestone.
It is difficult to show a definitive image of Portuguese Pink Marble due to the irregularity of colors and tones of the material. There is no “typical sample” of this stone. If you ask any marble worker to send a typical sample or photograph, they will generally say that it does not exist. Those who work with it insist that almost by definition, each sample is different from another, but when works are mounted, the selection is maximized to make the final work simply spectacular.
Origins of Portuguese Pink Marble
In geological and geographical terms, it is a limestone approximately 400 million years old that is extracted in an area of about 11 km in the Alentejo region that forms a triangle between the towns of Vila Viçosa, Estremoz, and Borba. Only in this area does this peculiar Portuguese crystalline marble exist.
Alentejo is perhaps the most important area for the Portuguese stone industry. In Estremoz, there are quarries of white and cream marble, in Borba those of pink marble, with light, medium, and dark versions, and in Vila Viçosa, there is a variety of all of them. In addition to these colors, there are also quarries of black, gray, and bluish marble. Some companies sell blocks to others for further processing, while others have their own processing centers. The number of quarries that are currently operational is between 50 and 60, much lower than a decade ago when there were around 200 quarries in full production.
The most extracted variety, about 40%, is a pink-based marble but with veins that are usually brown, green, or bluish black, a semi-veined marble. The clean marble, that is, without veins and with a pink background, is the scarcest, as it does not even reach 20% of the extraction. Veined marble, which is the least clean, so to speak, also accounts for around 40% of extraction.
Treatment and Use of Portuguese Pink Marble
There are many “commercial” names by which Portuguese Pink Marble is known, as many as almost the number of shades, and considering the wide range of shades that this marble presents, we can get an idea of the amount of pseudonyms that we can find: Rosa Borba, Rosa Aurora, Rosa Portugal, Rosa Venado, Rosa Lagoa, Rosa Salmão, Rosa Crema Vigária, Rosa Monte, Rosa Pardais, Calacata Rosa, Rosa El-Rei, and so on.
This marble allows a great variety of formats: polished, aged, bush-hammered, sandblasted, honed, and acid. Flame finishing is also used on rare occasions.
It is most commonly found in large projects and large buildings in Saudi Arabia and surrounding areas, as they are the main importers of Portuguese Pink Marble (Saudi Royal House, “public” buildings in the Persian Gulf, etc.). It is also very common in Spain and Italy, leaders in importation in Europe.
It is mainly used for exterior and interior architectural decoration and for sculpture, whether decorative or funerary.
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