May 29, 2013

Decorative Stones of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi – Part II

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Some of the gorgeous decorative stones of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

After putting up my recent blog post Decorative Stones of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Part I, I decided to write to the mosque to inquire about the lithologies and origins of the various decorative stones. I promptly received this reply from Michelle Sabti, the Chief Tour Guide for the mosque:

Greetings to you Evelyn from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center!

Thank you for your email, we are glad that your tour and experience with us was such a positive and memorable one!

I can provide you with the list of many of the marbles and semi-precious stones that were used in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque construction.  I trust this assists you.

The different types of major marble supplied on site:

–              SIVEC Supplier FHL Country of Origin Greece/Macedonia

–              LASA Supplier Lasa Quarry Country of Origin Italy

–              MAKARANA Supplier Country of Origin India

–              AQUABIANCA Country of Origin Italy

–              BIANCO P Supplier Carrara Country of Origin Italy

–              MING GREEN Supplier UMGG Country of Origin China

–              EAST WHITE Supplier UMGG Country of Origin China

In the external columns the stones used are:

–              1)     Dark Lapis lazuli

–              2)     Light Lapis lazuli

–              3)     Red Agate

–              4)     Dark Amethyst

–              5)     Light Amethyst

–              6)     Dark Green Adventure

–              7)     Light Green Adventure

–              8)     Moss Agate

–              9)     Pink Adventure

–              10)   Dark Red Adventure

–              11)   Light Red Adventure

–              12)   Abalone Shell

–              13)   White Mother of Pearl

–              14)   Fancy Jasper

–              15)   Sodalite

–              16)   Haqiq Red

–              17)   All Veins in Leaves: White Jambu

–              18)   Mehndi Pfizer

Have a great day!

I am very grateful to Michelle for providing this information about the decorative stones.

I recognize many of the stone types such as:


Lapis Lazuli





I’m not sure about the lithology of the “adventure” (or the “white jambu” or “mehndi pfizer”) stones. I presume that these are names for decorative stones provided by a particular supplier– or possibly “adventure” could be referring to adventurine. I think that the “haqiq red” stone may be carnelian.  I also noticed some green serpentine rocks around the mosque. Likely the green marble contains plenty of serpentine!

It is important to bear in mind that often decorative building stones are given names that are different from the actual lithologies. For example, a variety of rocks are sold as “granite” without actually being real granite! That’s because everyone wants granite countertops– even when other types of stones are just as good as (and often rarer and more beautiful than!) granite. Thus, some of the decorative stones used in the mosque could possibly have rock names that differ from the true (i.e. scientifically accurate) rock names.

Perhaps next time I visit Abu Dhabi (which I hope to do before too long!) I can inquire further about the decorative stones used in the mosque. I’d certainly love to learn even more about these beautiful building stones!

Detail of one of the stone flowers.

Again, I highly recommend visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque if you ever find yourself in Abu Dhabi. I was very impressed with my (free!) tour and also impressed with the mosque’s quick reply to my inquiry email about the decorative stones. Above and beyond that, the mosque is the most stunning building that I have ever visited — it is a truly awe-inspiring place.