Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to the heat and pressure of metamorphism. It is composed primarily of the mineral calcite (CaCO3) and usually contains other minerals, such as clay minerals, micas, quartz, pyrite, iron oxides, and graphite. Under the conditions of metamorphism, the calcite in the limestone recrystallizes to form a rock that is a mass of interlocking calcite crystals. A related rock, dolomitic marble, is produced when dolostone is subjected to heat and pressure.
After being sanded with progressively finer abrasives, marble can be polished to a high luster. This allows attractive pieces of marble to be cut, polished, and used as floor tiles, architectural panels, facing stone, window sills, stair treads, columns, and many other pieces of decorative stone.