Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuary are the most common stone names on the planet. It's safe to say that we have all come into contact with one of these stones in our lifetime, as they have been widely used all over the world. In the past 7 years we have seen these names used very loosely, which I feel was designed to confuse consumers. Many of the large chain, big box stores, and small discount distributors have used theses names to sell stone that's in fact not Carrara, Calacatta, or Statuary. Names like Hampton Cararra or Sahara Carrara are in fact not real Italian Carrara, which is one reason they are so cheap.
How to do you know if you are purchasing the real stuff?
One of the easiest ways is to ask the salesperson the country of origin. If it's not from Italy it's not one of these stones, despite the use of the name. That doesn't mean it's not a good stone! We have a stone that one of our venders calls Statuary Calacatta, which is a very good quality stone that sells like crazy. It's almost half the cost of the Italian material and just as pretty. So why the play on names? My only guess is to appeal to the bargain shoppers who troll the internet or go from tile store to tile store trying to get the "best price" for a name product. What the bargain hunters don't understand is that when you purchase a product like stone it's going to last 10+ years. Dollar-cost average that into a product that will last 10 years and that's $20 per year. That's a discussion for another blog. Regardless of the stone name, pick the stone you like the best and if it's from Italy, Spain or Turkey it should be good quality. China also is a big stone producer but has had its share of quality issues. So a smaller distributor will have a better handle on what stones from China are good quality as opposed to the chain tile store who only worries about one thing, putting a cheap product on their shelves so they show a big profit for their Nasdaq shareholders.
Below are some links to more information about Carrara, Calcatta, and Statuary.