Stone Discoveries: Belgium Black

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Though use of Belgium Black marble has its origins in Roman Antiquity, in the Roman Empire’s occupation of Belgium; and has adorned a variety of historic structures- The Palace of Versailles and the Taj Mahal, to name but two- the Noir Belge (as it is known throughout Europe) quarry in Golzinne, Belgium, which has been functioning since 1928, is the only producer of the material in operation today. It was to this rustic hamlet, near the village of Bossière, in Gembloux, Namur, Belgium, that I knew I must travel, to make Belgium Black marble available through ABC Stone, to the American A &D community.

An underground quarry, the Noir Belge site is submerged in darkness. My guide, Océane, shows me the thick rich veins around which the quarry is arrayed, layer upon layer of uncut stone, to a soundtrack of mysterious underground rumblings, dripping water, the pattering of boot shod quarry workers.

When I mention to her that I possess some degree familiarity with the historic use of the inimitable stone, she soon leads me to realize that I only knew disparate anecdotes of a rich and fascinating story: a veritable history of the evolution of western civilization told through the stone itself. First used by the Ancient Romans in the construction of villas, the stone had become, by the early middle-ages, a staple of religious architecture: tombstones, monuments, altars, and the interiors of cathedrals-the stone having been chosen for this use for both the startling and grim piety of the blackness of the material, but also the great aesthetic relief that blackness could lend to the colorful inlays typical to the aforementioned structures.

By the Renaissance, the material began to be exported to major European courts, by monarchs who sought to sanctify their living quarters, thus beginning the material’s monarchal associations.

Noir Belge/Belgium Black Quarry

Noir Belge/Belgium Black Quarry

Belgium Black marble is nearly impossible to photograph due to its highly reflective nature. Correction: it is quite a simple task to capture, but the infinite range of what it reflects is actually completely subjective and impossible to portray in a two-dimensional medium. I was so intrigued by this material that I was led to investigate it further and, upon doing so, I learned that Belgium Black’s pure blackness-the cause of its reflectivity-is a result of its containing large amounts of unaltered organic matter, being cut from a fine-grained sedimentary formation dated approximately 360 million years ago.

The natural stone currently on view at ABC represents only the finest rocks on Earth. Procured from 6 continents, ABC has truly moved mountains across oceans to bring the finest stone on Earth to the A&D community. Belgium Black marble was also used in the construction of modern day landmarks such as the Carbide & Carbon Building in Chicago, an art deco masterpiece completed in 1929. We are honored to bring it to you.





Belgium Black Closeup

Belgium Black Closeup

The Black Skull Table by John Bizas (in Belgium Black Marble)

The Black Skull Table by John Bizas (in Belgium Black Marble)







Structures incorporating Belgium Black Marble, and the quarry today:

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