Marble is metamorphosed limestone, composed of fairly pure calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It is extensively used for sculpture, as an building material, and in many other applications.
White marbles, like Carrara, have been prized for sculpture since classical times. This preference has to do with the softness and relative isotropy and homogeneity, and a relative resistance to shattering. Also, the low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate several millimeters into the stone before being scattered out, resulting in the characteristic "waxy" look which gives "life" to marble sculptures of the human body. In the construction trade, the term "marble" is used for any massive, crystalline calcitic rock (and some non-calcitic rocks) useful as building stone.
In folklore, marble is associated with the astrological sign of Gemini. Pure white marble is an emblem of purity. It is also an emblem of immortality, and an ensurer of success in education.
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