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Belgian marble in the spotlight - Trends-Tendances sur PC

Belgian marble in the spotlight – Trends-Tendances sur PC

Elizabeth II passed away on September 8. She is buried in the chapel of Saint-Georges at Windsor Castle… under a stele of black marble from our region, a rock renowned worldwide and still mined in our quarries.

A single black

Noir de Golzinne, Noir de Mazy, Noir belge or Noir fin…, if its names are multiple, its quality is, it seems, unique. Just like the deposit from which it comes. “It is the purest and absolute black marble in the world. Its brilliant and luminous polish reflects the light like a mirror”, explains Francis Kezirian, technical manager of the Golzinne quarry, near Gembloux, and managing director of the company. Merbes-Sprimont which operates the site. If the black marble of Belgium recently reappeared on the front of the stage on the occasion of the funeral of Elizabeth II, for centuries this ornamental rock has been regularly used for …

Noir de Golzinne, Noir de Mazy, Noir belge or Noir fin…, if its names are multiple, its quality is, it seems, unique. Just like the deposit from which it comes. “It is the purest and absolute black marble in the world. Its brilliant and luminous polish reflects the light like a mirror”, explains Francis Kezirian, technical manager of the Golzinne quarry, near Gembloux, and managing director of the company. Merbes-Sprimont which operates the site. If the black marble of Belgium recently reappeared on the front of the stage on the occasion of the funeral of Elizabeth II, for centuries this ornamental rock has been regularly used to add to the splendor of the most prestigious monuments on the planet. Such as the Windsor tombstone under which Queen Elizabeth now rests and which dates back more than half a century (small photo): “King George VI has already rested under this stele since his death in 1952”, specifies Francis Kezirian. The names of Elizabeth and her husband have simply been added. “The geographical influence of our black marble is impressive. It is used in heritage buildings in most countries of the world”, continues Francis Kezirian, before proceeding to a non-exhaustive review. “All the Belgian, French, English, Danish and German royal castles, the Vatican, the historic capitols of the various American states, the Taj Mahal, most of the Victorian-style buildings of the former British Empire, a large part of the cathedrals Western European gothics… Not to mention that contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor and Adel Adbessemed also use this material for its aesthetic qualities.” Founded in 1779, the Merbes-Sprimont company, which is now part of the international Marbrek group, is the oldest marble company in Europe and is the exclusive producer of fine Black marble, but also Royal Red, Morello cherry or even of Gray from the Ardennes. “The quarry we operate in the municipality of Gembloux is the last underground quarry in Belgium, while that of Gray and Royal Red marble from Hautmont is also the last active quarry of these materials for architecture, emphasizes Francis Kezirian. We are therefore the last witnesses of the gestures and know-how of the long tradition of Belgian miners. Currently, the quantities of black marble extracted each year do not exceed 300 m3, which represents less than 1,000 tons per year and only a small fraction of what the deposit still contains. For what turnover? The managing director of Merbes-Sprimont prefers to remain discreet. At most he will tell us that fine black constitutes “an essential part” of the company’s income. “The company, with family capital, is mainly centered on its Belgian productions, which it markets in raw blocks, slices or custom-made products in its factory in Merbes-le-Ch√Ęteau. We follow an investment policy over the long, even very long term, cumbersome, slow, methodical and entirely self-financed, little influenced by the volatility of crises.”

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