One of the best qualities of marble countertops is the variety of color and veining. Laminate and solid surface countertops attempt to reproduce the beauty of marble, yet with mixed results.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, which means it changes from its original, sedimentary form (in this case, limestone or dolomite rock) to marble under severe pressure and heat. That highly distinctive aspect of marble--the veining--is the result of impurities in the original limestone. Under extreme pressure and heat, the original materials completely re-crystallize. The purest marble is white, type that Renaissance artists carved into statues.