Marble Fragments

breche de benou real marble

A marble fragment is the “meat” of marble composition.  They are the chunks of marble that have remained intact as the surrounding sediment (either veins or breccias) defines its borders.  As seen on the picture of real marble above, the fragments are encased by an orange breccia. On a veined marble, the fragments are exactly the same shape. However, the difference is that the gap between the fragments is much thinner then in breccia marble. As seen below, the shape is made from the veins.

Vein Fragment example

What I mean by fragments being the “meat” of the marble — when you look at this next picture, the fragments are the overpowering feature.

breche marble

Also, as seen on this pedestal below.

breche marble

When painting faux marble, it is a very common mistake to concentrate on painting the veins and not the fragments. The next 3 images show the progression of painting fragments by painting veins.  My mind is completely on the negative space (fragments) as I paint.

painting fragments

painting fragments

painting fragments

Here are some common mistakes made when painting fragments: Fragments that are rounded – too similar in size and shape – too uniformly spaced – and oriented in one single direction (at a 45 degree angle).

mistakes in fragment

Fragments that are so widely spaced they appear to be floating, so that the surface looks like a slice of salami.

mistake in fragment

The surface seems to have no direction at all – with fragments that are too similar in size and spaced too consistently.

mistake in fragment

Good veining here:  Fragments should be oriented in a general direction – show variation in form and spacing – and look very angular.

good fragment

When I paint marble, I paint fragments, not veins or breccia. I look at the negative shapes that the veins make to create the fragments. Determining and practicing the shape, size, and angle of your fragments prior to marbling is always something I suggest.

Practice Veining Fragments

Practice  Fragments

Practice Fragmenting



  1. Bob Canada says

    I’ve owned your book for 10 years now. It has inspired the jewelry art I’m doing now. My work is so undisciplined that I have to call it fantasy stone. LOL Thanks for your help and inspiration.

  2. You are definitely a modern day Thomas kershaw. Sadly he never wrote down his methods so his techniques are lost. You however are documenting great advice and step by step instructions. Bravo!
    It’s a shame you’re not based in London.

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