Dyeing marble inspired by counterfeit gemstone colouring

Chinese design studio Buzao experiments with the dyeing of marble, inspired by the open ‘secret’ of the gemstone industry: the process of colouring of unsatisfactory gemstones using chemical dyes.

In nature, not everything is produced to the satisfaction of humans, and gemstones are no different. Not all agates and jadeites are created equally. Therefore, the gemstone industry sometimes recolours unsatisfactory stones with chemical dyes, which enhances the organic texture of the material.

For Dyeing Marble Collection by Buzao, the studio “has extracted ‘artificial’ characterization and ‘absorption’ attribute from modern industry, and through evolution, obtained the material expression of pure blue artificial color spreading organically on the natural stone surface.”

Both agate and marble have a rock crystal structure. Being slightly porous, the marble can slowly absorb dye. The studio used blue dyes commonly found in industrial manufacturing appliances. Using an installation similar to an IV drip, the dye is injected slowly and continuously. The colour spreads naturally through the stone and intersects with the texture to produce a random effect.

During Maison & Objet in Paris (6-10 September), the installation is shown as the experimental process rather than a finished product, with marble furniture pieces hooked up to the dye “IV”.

Photos: Buzao