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Neo-marmora - Caerulean sky blue

Neo-marmora - Caerulean sky blue

PriceFrom £5.00

An exciting introduction; synthetic 'stone' in a turquoise blue


    New from an Italian supplier: A range of synthetic stone which extends the mosaic colour palette but mixes happily with real marble and also looks great in combination with smalti. 

    These 'Neo-marmora' materials are a genuinely exciting breakthrough, made by a company based in Carrara, Italy, which has, for many decades, sold the highest quality stone to sculptors and mosaicists.  Artists and artisans themselves, they understand the special material qualities which are so necessary to mosaicists, and they have produced what seems like the first real contender to be a useable man-made product in this field.  Their 'stone' is  wonderfully varied and lively, and has none of the synthetic, plastic-like, feel of other fabricated 'stone' materials available on the market.    

    These products will appeal to anyone who wants to inject a tiny bit more colour excitement into their stone mosaics.  The blues range from a rich royal blue through to a soft turquoise and the gold provides a subtle but noticeable degree of glitter.  The makers ensure that, just like real stone, there is some colour variation within batches, so that you can achieve graded effects.   See some of the photos with this listing to see how happily these products sit next to genuine stone tesserae.

    Another reason to embrace Neo-marmora is that the products are made with a large proportion of recycled materials.   The makers have created different recipes for each colour, with glass, quartz, marble fragments, even semi-precious stones pieces, all bound using natural resins combined with non-toxic acrylic- and epoxy-resins. 

    What would the Romans say?!  I feel they would probably have approved of, and maybe even showed off, the use of neo-marmara.  They were well aware that supplies of the most exciting stones were limited; quarries such as those at Tivoli which supplied Rome with travertine were exhausted and ultimately abandoned.  And, of course, the Romans were wild for novelty and originality. Anyone with pretensions to taste who commissioned architecture (and therefore, usually, mosaics) did so in a strongly competitive spirit, and the aesthetic one-upmanship certainly extended to using the most lavish and exciting new raw materials.  And the Romans don't seem to have had have any qualms about 'authenticity' - their buildings are full of ersatz versions of natural materials - think of terrazzo which mimics natural stone and is found at Pompeii and Herculaneum, not to mention the painted marble effects uncovered in Roman homes all over the empire.  I think they would have been forming a not very orderly queue for bags of neo-marmora. 



    Neo-marmora is supplied in the form of 'mezzette'; these are very similar in size to standard smalti, so typically 2cm x 1cm x 0.7cm.  They are therefore thinner than the natural stone tesserae we offer, but if you want to achieve a flat(ish) surface to your finished project, the natural stone can be cut down to the same depth, or you can work in the indirect method. 

    Neo-marmora products are lighter than real stone so you get more coverage from them; 100g of natural stone gets you around twenty 2cm x 1cm x 1cm tesserae, whereas 100g of neo-marmora gives you forty 2cm x 1cm x 0.7cm tesserae.  Each piece has, as you can see in the photos, four smooth chopped sides, and the two largest faces are riven.  You would require around 14kg to cover a square metre. 

    These materials cut easily and well and create limited dust and very little wastage.  Given the mixed ingredients, I don't think there is any 'right' kind of hand-tool to use on them; I have used bladed ceramic nippers, wheeled glass nippers and ceramic scissors with equal success. 


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