Dating marble in Victorian furnitureBy Mark Chervenka
Dating marble in Victorian furniture
Two of the best indicators of age and authenticity of marble used in Victorian furniture, 1840-1885, is color and thickness. Virtually all original 19th century marble measures a full 15/16ths of an inch. Modern marble replacements by contrast measure only 3/4". Although not easily seen by the eye, this is easily measured with any inexpensive set of calipers or ruler.
The other test of age and quality is color. Almost all original marble tops used in quality pieces by Belter, the Herter's, Meeks and other quality makers were pure white with virtually no gray mottling or streaks. Streaks and mottling are commonly present in most all modern replacements and reproductions. Genuinely old marble used in lesser quality period furniture will not be pure white but will almost always show fewer flaws than modern. The scarcity of pure white marble in modern times makes it too expensive to use for anything but fine sculpture.