A Brief History of Travertine

When you mention worktops to anyone, more often than not they’ll think of materials such as granite and marble.

Indeed, these stones are commonly known to the public, and have been for centuries, however other stone materials, which although have less renown, are equally as prolific, and boast similar, if not more, positive attributes.

One such stone is travertine, which, among other applications, is frequently used in facades, cladding, flooring, patios, garden paths, and stone fireplaces, and is a regular feature of commercial architecture.

Walnut Travertine

Travertine, a terrestrial sedimentary rock and a form of limestone which is deposited by mineral springs, is used expansively in Italy, where deposits of the stone are found in large numbers.

Travertine constructions were widespread in Ancient Rome (one of the most famous buildings in history, the Coliseum, is built from travertine) where it was referred to as lapis tibertinus, meaning Tiber stone, a name derived from the area where it was commonly found (which today is called Tivoli).

As well as Italy, travertine can also be found in Afghanistan, China, Spain, Guatemala, Turkey, Mexico, and the United States.

In the latter, although there are only two active deposits of travertine, found in Idaho and New Mexico, the material is used copiously in construction jobs (the Getty Centre in Los Angeles being a notable example) and commercial stone flooring projects, not to mention travertine worktops being a popular choice for homeowners.

In its pure form, travertine, which is also referred to as travertine limestone or travertine marble, is white, but it is typically found with a brown or yellow hue, which is caused by impurities in the rivers and springs where the stone lies.

These impurities, often caused by the presence of iron or other compounds, are the reason why travertine is marked with exquisite bands and patterns.