The natural stone most frequently used for making mosaics is marble.
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness classifies marble as a semi-hard material -between 3º and 5º-.
The generic term «marble» is indeed imprecise; however, I shall not expand on the subject now.
Marble lends itself well to being worked split side with hammer and hardie, the traditional tools of the mosaic maker.
The surface of an artwork made using the split side, shows very well the natural characteristics of marble:
- the way in which the cut leans, as made by the artist’s hand
The split side gives a vibrant, emotional look to the artwork.
The professional artist will give an expressive strength to the artwork thanks to his in-depth knowledge of the different types of marble.
His gesture in cutting and placing the split side in sight is essential.
Using marble on the side that has been sawed off or perfectly polished, eliminates that magic, vibrant touch made available by Mother Nature.
On the other hand, stone must be smooth and polished whenever there is a need for hygiene and cleanliness, as for example on floors or kitchen tops, etc.
In artworks that do not have such requirements, using smoothly polished marble is an artistic blasphemy.