Antique Marble Fireplaces
De Opkamer has one of the finest collections of antique marble fireplaces in Europe. Every month we travel across Europe, sourcing for old marble fireplaces and antique marble mantels.
Limestone and Marble
Marble is originally a limestone that transforms into marble under prolonged pressure and heat. The composition of the soft white limestone metamorphoses into a hard marble rock that reveals itself on the surface in beautiful shades of colours.
The most beautiful marbles we often find in mountainous terrain such as the Belgian Ardennes, the Pyrenees and the French Alps where sliding earth plates gave so much pressure and heat that limestone has been turned into beautiful marble.
In the Belgian Ardennes there are beautiful marble quarries such as the red marble Rouge Royal Belge, Griotte and Gris de Sainte Anne. The most famous Belgian marble is of course the precious Noir de Mazy better known as "the black gold" or "Noir Belge". The quarry is still in operation but the black marble has become unaffordable. We currently have about 45 antique fireplaces in this black marble in stock. Feel free to visit our showroom or have a look on our website.
History of antique marble mantels
From classical antiquity, the white Bianco Carrara marble is used in architecture. Carrara marble is relatively soft which makes it easy to chisel and is therefore popular among sculptors. The most exclusive white marble is "Carrara Statuario" and has minimal veins or pollution and is extracted in the mountains above Carrara. The marble is also known as "Michelangelo Marble".
From the 17th century we see for the first time that marble was also used to cut and carve mantels. In the beginning the fireplaces were completely solid, cut from large pieces of marble. Our fireplace with reference 866 is such a typical 17th century marble fireplace carved out from solid marble.
As of the beginning 18th century, at the time of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the best stonecarvers of the country were invited to the French court to cut exclusive mantels of rare Italian and French marbles. The blocks of massive marble of sometimes 8,000 kg were transported to Paris as raw material over sea and land to be sawn there by sculptors and turned into an antique fireplace. Not only the French court but also the rich French nobility in the big cities could afford such a precious mantle.
The Opkamer has collected a beautiful collection of 18th century and 19th century marble fireplaces from these historic periodsin various exclusive marbles such as Sarrancolin marble, St Remy, Arabescato, Portoro or the typical yellow marble from Siena Italy.
Different styles of antique fireplace mantels
Old marble mantels in the style of Louis XIV, Rococo, Louis XV or the Regence era are among the most exclusive antique marble fireplaces. These mantelpieces were richly carved with moldings, ornaments, scallops and finely chiseled by experienced stone barbers. A Louis XV fireplace cut in a white chic Italian Carrara marble or the warm atmosphere of the Rouge Royal marble is an asset to your home. Even when the fire is not burning, antique marble fireplaces always exude class, atmosphere and warmth: a unique eye-catcher.
Old marble fireplace mantels in the style of Louis XVI are mostly 19th century, tighter in style and often a straight ribbon or frieze and straight straight legs. Here too, we often see finely chiseled moldings that work with marble.
Come to our showroom and view our collection.
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