Onyx – Enchanting and Unusual

Onyx Enchanting and unusual stone
1020 742 Primestones® Granite, Quartz, Marble

Onyx is the most precious looking stone of those used in the stone industry.

Have you seen these magically looking back-lit walls? They make you feel like you were in an enchanted underground world.

History of Onyx

In contrary to the development of marble, granite, and quartzite in the depth of the earth’s crust, onyx is formed right on the surface. Namely, when spring or groundwater that are rich in calcite emerge from the depth of the earth to the surface, the minerals sink to the ground building a layer of calcite crystals. Pure calcite is white or clear but even tiny amounts of other minerals give it variations of colors. The differentiation in color between the sheets are created by the flow rate of the water and the amounts of impurities. For example, iron oxide tints the stone in its most common delicious honey color.

Trace minerals provide the rich colors

Trace minerals provide the rich colors

Thousands of years of deposits reveal the flowing layers of this luxurious sediment.

(Maybe this for a bubble?) A calcareous stone that evolves when limestone dissolves and the calcite particles create a new kind of stone, namely onyx.


The visually most appealing quality of Onyx is the translucence and the unique, otherworldly patterning. There are waves, circles, clouds and swirls of cream, honey, silver, light blue, ivory, amber, dark cognac, and even green. The light transmits through the slab radiating a soft, ethereal light making it a dramatic backsplash or a back-lit wall. It is used to create incredible designs elements as accent tiles using the variety of shades of this stone to fit any color scheme.

 Onyx can be used for dramatic back-splash or a back-lit wall

Onyx can be used for dramatic back-splash or a back-lit wall

Having said that, it is important to mention its brittleness and softness – in most cases onyx is being backed by a fiberglass mesh material, indicating the fragile nature of this material.

Onyx does not tolerate heat at all making it rather unsuitable for the normal use for a countertop even though it is naturally resistant to bacteria because of its smooth surface. Onyx can increase your home value making a statement however it is used and also because of the high cost of this spectacular material.

How to care for Onyx Stone

Having all the brilliant looks, Onyx is calcite making it rather high maintenance material. This soft and brittle stone reacts to acid and will etch easily. It is strongly recommended to seal the surface to prevent staining, however, it cannot protect from etching.

Because of its smooth surface, it is extremely easy to clean with mild soap and water like most natural stones.

To mentions other options, if you want a translucent stone, there are quartzites like Cristallo or Jade and even marble like Cristalita Blue.


John Atkinson

All stories by: John Atkinson

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