Price Wars: The Rising Cost of Calacatta Marble
Photo by Houzz Zack de Vito Architecture + Construction
It’s Business 101. Price is determined by supply and demand. So the recent around-the-world increase in demand for Calacatta marble from Italy, plus a lack of supply of ideal blocks, means we’re seeing a price increase of Calacatta. Unfortunately, this increase is pulling up prices of other white materials as well.
Why is Calacatta in such high demand? Well, first of all it’s a gorgeous high-end stone desirable for its distinctive thick, bold veining and precious rarity. Only obtained from one quarry in the world, its production is limited and well controlled. Similar to Carrara , which tends to be grayer with softer veining, Calacatta has a whiter hue with more dramatic veining. Calacatta is also more rare than Carrara. It’s considered a more luxurious stone and is often used in highly visible areas such as flooring, kitchen counter tops, fireplace surrounds, and shower walls.
The luxurious look of Calacatta marble has a global appeal. We’re seeing a dramatic increase in its use throughout countries like China and India where the wealthy are constructing extravagant homes and buildings. The American market is another source of high demand. Homeowners here are finally beginning to embrace marble as a beautiful and functional countertop material.
Unfortunately, America’s increased appetite for marble leaves us at a disadvantage. Since wholesalers like Marble & Granite, Inc. are not cash rich and can’t afford to keep an extensive inventory, we often lose out on purchasing opportunities to faster and wealthier non-US buyers in the marketplace. In fact, the pricing bubble is so drastic that if we hesitate due to a high price, the block we’re considering is usually sold to a buyer who was willing to pay the high price. When the Calacatta isn’t available, consumers turn to another white stone, so we’re seeing prices escalate for other white stone options as well.
While there may not be an end in sight for the rising price of Calacatta, we’ll continue to watch the market. Just like in the fashion world, colors of stone follow the latest color trends. Today’s hot colors are shades of white. But greens, blacks, and pinks have all had their “15-minutes of fame.” One day in the future, the white trend will pass, giving another color the opportunity to shine.