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By Sharron Mendel Swain

Giuseppe Telara
Giuseppe Telara watching marble being moved. Photo via Giuseppe Telara

Originally from Carrara, Italy, Giuseppe Telara comes from a long line of marble workers. For a year now, he’s been working with AM3 Stone’s Alabama marble. We couldn’t think of a better person to ask about what makes Alabama Marble special. Here’s what he said.

Giuseppe Telara’s family has been in the marble business for seven generations

Giuseppe Telara in front of the quarry
Giuseppe Telara in front of AM3 Stone’s quarry in Sylacauga. Photo via AM3 Stone

Giuseppe Telara is the business development manager at AM3 Stone. While he moved to the US in 1993, he’s been in Alabama since April last year, helping to develop AM3 Stone’s quarry. 

His hometown of Carrara, Tuscany, in Italy, is home to some of the most famous marble in the world, and now he works with Alabama marble. 

“I really tried not to get into the marble, because everybody in the family has always been doing marble for six or seven generations. So I tried to do something else. I’m actually an architect.

But then, you know, I got grabbed into it because of the family business. They asked me to follow the US market, and that’s how I got here in ‘93.”

Giuseppe Telara

Fun fact: 70-80% of Carrara’s marble is currently exported to the US, according to Telara.

Bham Now: tell us a bit about what you’re seeing in the quarry at the moment

AM3 Stone's quarry in Sylacauga
AM3 Stone’s quarry in Sylacauga, Alabama. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Telara: “I was in the quarry this morning, where we breached the third level, for the first time, and the material is going to be much nicer as we go down. 

Geologically, the material is 400 meters deep. And right now we are at the depth of only 10 meters. We’re just scratching the surface.”

Bham Now: why does the quality of the Alabama marble improve the farther down you go? 

Telara: “The way the marble is formed is basically an old seabed where the seashells accumulated. The bed then transformed into limestone. Compression turned it into marble. 

The closer you go to the center of the deposit, the stronger and better the material gets. The deeper we go with the quarry, the better the materials become.

If you go down from the first level of the quarry at the top down to the second, the second level is much better. There’s a huge difference in quality. 

This morning, we pulled the first block out of the third layer, and the material is really nice.”

Bham Now: what about Alabama marble makes it different from Italian marble?

translucent marble
Can you see the sunight coming through the marble? Photo via Giuseppe Telara

Telara: “Alabama white is actually stronger and denser than Italian marble, and it’s translucent. When you cut it, the light goes through. 

Quality- and color-wise, they’re very similar. Even though I’m Italian, I’d prefer to use the Alabama marble. And if you use material from the US, you are avoiding shipping in on vessels that use a lot of gasoline for a three-week trip across the Atlantic Ocean.”

Bottom line: a gorgeous, high-quality Alabama marble countertop sets you back way less than an Italian one. It’s also way more environmentally-friendly.

If you’re looking for Italian quality marble at domestic prices, contact AM3 Stone today.

Bham Now: What are some of the shades you see here? 

Alabama marble
Alabama marble comes in so many different shades. Photo via Mary Fehr for Bham Now

Telara: “Here at the AM3 Stone quarry we have the Alabama white which has been quarried for almost a couple of centuries already. 

We also have found a vein with a pink and purplish color which we call Alabama Rose. One of the places in the quarry has a more silver/grey material called Silver Cloud.”

Bham Now: what kinds of similarities do you see between Italian marble and Alabama marble?

Italian and Alabama Marble
Italian vs. Alabama Marble. Photo via AM3 Stone

Telara: “The material in Sylacauga is in many ways very similar to the Italian materials. 

A lot of different materials come from Carrara. There are around 120 operating quarries in Carrara right now. Both places have a lot of different colors, but all are basically shades of white.”

Bham Now: which do sculptors prefer? 

hands in Alabama marble
Sculpture by Elena Mutinelli. Photo via AM3 Stone

Telara: “I’ve always thought that in some ways, Italian is a bit better for sculptors because it is softer and easier to work with. But even this morning before going to the quarry, I was talking with all the sculptors at the Marble Festival because our company donated all the marble. 

There are a couple of Italian sculptors. One is actually from close to Carrara. We were talking about the marble and he said he prefers to work with Alabama white, because it takes a more radiant polish.”

This article originally appeared on Bham Now.