The Origins and Composition Colorado Yule Marble


The Origins and Composition of Colorado Yule Marble

Colorado Yule Marble may be found only in the Yule Creek Valley, three miles southeast of  the secluded Rocky Mountain town of Marble, Colorado, 9,300 feet above sea level. It was discovered in the spring of 1873 by geologist Sylvester Richardson.

In the same year, an unknown person selected several samples of marble and took them to Denver, but for whatever reason, failed to generate much in the way of genuine (moneyed) interest.  The marble duly became lost again, only to be rediscovered under obscure circumstances 10 years later by George Yule.

What cannot be disputed however was the supreme quality of the Sylvester Richardson/George Yule discovery, for unlike Vermont and Georgia marble, Colorado Yule was formed as a result of contact metamorphism.  Prior to Yule’s discovery, all commercial American marble deposits were formed via mountain range erosion on a purely regional scale, called Regional Metamorphosis, with the heat generated as oceanic and continental tectonic plates grind over and under one another.  Meaning that the transformation from limestone to marble, or metamorphosis, was attained by limestone being ‘baked’ and crushed via the friction created at relatively sedate temperatures when compared to marbles such as Yule that were forged via direct contact with magma, or Contact Metamorphosis.

And so, with average magma temperatures ranging from 1,300F to 2,900 Fahrenheit, it was these almost unimaginable conditions that were responsible for Yule’s superb quality, stunning beauty, and growing popularity.

By contrast to Yule, both Vermont and Georgia marble are the result of Regional Metamorphism. And what is known as Tennessee marble is not technically a marble, as it did not ‘metamorphose’ from limestone at all.

Whereas such was the incredible heat and pressure exerted by the molten-hot layer of magma upon the sliver of Leadville limestone we now call Yule marble, that the intrusions of hot granitic magma recrystallized it into the prized and valued ‘pure’ white marble it is today; 99.5 percent pure calcite in fact.

Not only is the purity of Yule quite renowned, but the dramatic nature of its trace amounts of non-calcite intrusions carry with them hints and hues of blue and green, orange, yellows galore that serve as mysterious highlights to Yule’s swirling clouds of bluey gray streaks.

The four main groups of intrusions are:

Quartz, in the form of cooled granite – the signature blueish gray color;

Mica, often appearing as thin golden streaks;

Feldspar, crystallized from magma, and used widely in the glass and ceramics industries;

and Pyrite, with its metallic pale brass-yellow hue, often appearing as bone fide chunks of fool’s gold.

Greens, blues and the odd yellow tints are often glimpsed courtesy of numerous other minor inclusions such as: Shene, Apatite, Rutile, Zircon, Sphalerite, Iron, and Manganese, which plays a crucial role in fashioning Yule marble’s famous, and incredibly rare, ‘gold’ veining.

The five grades of marble currently offered by the Yule Marble Quarry are named: Calacatta Lincoln, Calacatta Gold Extra, Calacatta Golden Classic, Statuario Colorado, and Aspen Grey.

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The Lincoln Memorial, Colorado Yule Marble Masterpiece


The Crystal River Valley, from Hwy 133, near Carbondale, Colorado


The aptly named Crystal River


The old Yule marble quarry.


photo Ron Bailey

First new quarry portal in one hundred years.


The old Lincoln Memorial portal.


photo Ron Bailey

The new portal.


photo Ron Bailey

Enter the Fantini, and with it the latest marble cutting technology.


photo Ron Bailey


The old way of transporting Yule marble.


photo Ron Bailey

The new mode of Yule marble transportation.


photo Ron Bailey

Thankfully for all concerned

The future of Colorado Yule Marble is now in the more than capable hands of Red Graniti

Conceived and desired by its founder Giorgio Conti, one of the major figures in the world stone industry, the philosophy of RED GRANITI has been able to anticipate trends and market developments, so as to interpret in an original way the new era of the use of natural stones on a global scale, passing through the continuous search for new materials and new deposits.

All this without ever losing sight of the deeply ethical roots and values ​​that have always characterized his work. Giorgio Conti, at the head of the Company until the beginning of 2002, has left to his successors a wealth of values, taken up and carried forward as a fundamental condition for growth, in the awareness of having to always act in respect of people and things, starting from the internal human resources to the Company.”

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The Origins, Composition and Discovery of Colorado Yule Marble


Thanks for visiting



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