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What Is Jerusalem Stone?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
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Jerusalem stone is a type of building material that is used in a number of applications, including the creation of tiles for use on walls and floors. The name is applied to several different types of limestone, including dolomitic limestone, that are found in relative proximity to the ancient city of Jerusalem. Along with the use of Jerusalem stone in various types of building designs, the material is also sometimes used in the manufacturing of religious art and ceremonial pieces, including menorahs and Seder plates. The stone is mandated for use in the city of Jerusalem for a number of exteriors of commercial buildings in the newer sections of the city.

Depending on the particular type of dolomite or limestone involved, the color of the Jerusalem stone may range from a pure white to a vibrant pink. Some examples have a distinctly yellow appearance. While relatively inexpensive, the stone has been used in many different ways over the years. While Jerusalem stone flooring is one of the more common applications, the material has also been used as a veneer for interior and exterior walls, as a durable and attractive option for countertops, and even as tiles that are used to line walls in kitchens and bathrooms. In some cases, the design will call for mixing and matching different colors or hues of the stone to create something of a mosaic effect.

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Along with the more durable types of Jerusalem stone that are frequently used as part of floor designs and similar applications, there are also softer limestone types included in this family. These have the benefit of being less expensive than the harder types of limestone and dolomite used in building materials, as well as being somewhat more malleable. These softer examples can also be used to create materials used in building designs, albeit in applications that do not require constant exposure or foot traffic.

It is not unusual for religious art and icons common to several different religions to also make use of this type of Jerusalem stone, including crosses for Christians and menorahs for members of the Jewish faith. The prominent place of the city of Jerusalem in various religious traditions often makes jewelry and religious symbols formed with local materials of great value to adherents of those religions. There are also houses of worship around the world that include at least some Jerusalem stone in the design of worship spaces, including walls that are finished with a stone veneer or special rooms within the facility that make use of the stone for the floors.

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