Billiemi Gray

Billiemi gray is a historic Palermitan marble whose use dates back to as early as the 1600s
It can be appreciated by wandering among the various monuments of the city and Sicily.
Majestic Monoliths

The construction site of the church of S. Giuseppe dei Teatini, in the early 1600s, was instrumental in Billiemi's "consecration": the eight giant columns - 40 palms (about 10 meters) high - supporting the cross vault and commissioned in 1619 were "the largest stone monoliths made in Sicily in the Modern Age."

Other imposing churches, such as San Domenico or San Francesco Saverio, and magnificent cloisters followed. Palermo was now a triumph of Billiemi.

Race to magnificence

And that wasn't all: since it featured high water resistance, it was understood tobe perfect for outdoor use as well.

The gray billiemi therefore allowed Sicilian architects to think and create new possibilities; it was a chase after ever more majestic and complex constructions. It allowed the city to grow in magnificence. It was a stone that made people dare to dare more!

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gray billiemi bathroom sink

Billiemi gray or billemi is a Sicilian marble and shows a dark gray coloration.
Billiemi gray is more properly a limestone breccia consisting of coarse-sized angular clasts immersed in a fine matrix that can show variable coloration. Such clasts derive from the fragmentation of an Upper Triassic ( 200 million years ago) "sponge reef." Their angularity and margin adaptability testifies to limited transport of the fragmented lithic material. Distensive tectonic movements in fact caused the subsidence of entire sectors of the reef whose elements remained practically in situ, while thin sediment infiltrated between them in a deeper sea environment.

In other words, therefore, breccias are a type of sedimentary stone composed of coarser parts, which are then filled in with finer material: try to imagine stones placed inside a well and then a mudslide filling this well, the fossilization of these elements would create precisely a breccia!

Textural characteristics, the presence of fossils, differently colored matrices, and veining result in considerable variations in the appearance of Billiemi gray, even in the same slab! Processes of oxidation of pyrite (FeS2), the phase responsible for the dark coloration, have led to the formation of hydroxides and iron oxides, which characterize the thin component of the rock the which result in intrusions into the gray, more or less evident, with yellow and red colorations.

In more modern times, testifying to the eternity of Billiemi Gray, there are two resounding expressions of use. The first owes to Ernesto Basile the exaltation of the stone's ductility. Before him, no one had chiseled it into subtle, even sculptural lines. In the realization of Villa Igea, the Master of Art Nouveau gives Grigio elegance, refinement, even voluptuousness. Like a woman discovering her own sensuality! Quite different, the second expression of our limestone that characterized the rationalist architecture of the Fascist period. An absolute protagonist, it served to demonstrate strength, power, grandeur. A kind of return to the majestic beginnings, albeit with overbearingly different "philosophy." You will get an idea of this by looking at the columns of the Post Office Building or the austerity of the House of the Mutilated

Today, most of the market focuses on the production of slabs and bricks for flooring, given the growing demand for gray marbles to decorate rooms with modern design. However, there is no shortage of requests for billiemi gray columns, basins and fountains, which we at CusenzaMarmi always make with the utmost care.

Pretoria Square in Palermo

Sphinx in gray billiemi