What is Onyx?

Updated: Apr 10, 2018

There are few natural stones in the world with the same kind of power to impress as onyx. Onyx is beautiful, rare, and the ultimate luxury item for high-end kitchens and homes. If you want something really special that will make your home stand out from all others, onyx might be for you!

The advantages of onyx lay mostly in its beauty. Though most people think onyx is a black stone, this really isn’t true at all! Onyx comes in a huge array of colors, and produces some of the most interesting patterns and textures available in a natural stone. The stone is cryptocrystalline, and incorporates numerous minerals (including quartz) in a layered pattern of combined, alternating bands. Though stunning, onyx is fragile–the fragility of the stone makes it more difficult to remove from the earth, which is part of the reason it’s more expensive, as well as the fact that the conditions needed to create onyx are much rarer than other stones. It’s also more difficult to work with than harder stones, increasing the costs of fabrication and installation.

It’s important to understand that onyx is also more difficult to care for than other, more popular options such as granite, marble, or quartz. It is a softer stone, and prone to scratching from direct knife blades, and it’s also vulnerable to acidic substances such as lemon juice, wine, or vinegar. Furthermore, onyx cannot tolerate high heat, and if you want a material you can set a hot pan on, onyx is not for you. Because of its fragility, onyx needs to be sealed often. Onyx is not well suited to high-traffic kitchens or tables that a homeowner intends to use practically and often. Rather, onyx is the perfect decorative stone choice for things like bars, shelves, tables, or countertops that need to make an impression.

One very special feature of onyx is its transparency. The stone slabs are thin, and transmit light extremely well throughout the stone, giving onyx surfaces a naturally glowing, luminescent look. Furthermore, you can install underlighting with your onyx counter, bar, table, or vanity, which is a truly unforgettable, unmatched look. The light illuminates the color variation in the stone for a look that seems as delicate as shell or glass. If you’re interested in installing onyx with backlighting, we’re happy to say that we can do it all at Granite Marble Specialties! We consider it a privilege and pleasure to work with a stone as rare and beautiful as onyx, and can help you design not only the cut of the stone but also the lighting arrangement that will best highlight this one-of-a-kind piece of natural art.


What is Onyx?