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October 1, 2020

Are you still looking for a unique stone? Well, there is a great diversity of natural rocks. Each has its own story, properties, and range of uses. Turn has come to talk about one of the most mysterious and powerful stones in history, which roots start in ancient Greek mythology. 

Ladies and gentlemen, please, welcome onyx.

What is it?

Onyx is a gemstone. Talking the geology language, it’s a variety of the layered chalcedony, a parallel banded variety, to be more precise - incase you wondered. And yes, we still can use it for home decor. 

Impressive swirls, vibrant colors, and translucency - humankind truly has a taste. For many centuries, it has been used mainly for jewelry, hardstone carving, and sculptures. Also, people used to believe that onyx has some mystical powers - impressive stone indeed. 

However, even today, it stays one of the most desirable and sought-after materials. 


How is it formed? 

Intrusive and metamorphic rocks like granite and marble come from the Earth’s crust, but not onyx. The stone is formed almost right before your very eyes, well, at least on the surface. 

Onyx forms in caves. All thanks to spring water and groundwater with calcite deposits. When the water flows out or evaporates, it leaves the minerals behind. They precipitate out and build a smooth layer of calcitecrystals. Repeat this over and over again, and you will get a colorful banded, semitransparent stone with swirls. 


What are the colors?

Luckily enough, onyx has a wide range of colors: white, brown, green and purple. However, the most common color is a honey one or, will say, any yellow-orange hues, which is caused by iron deposits. Plus, don’t forget about the black onyx, which sometimes referred to as «marble onyx». It completely differs from its relatives due to its composition, which is mostly silica. To call it unique will be an understatement. 

Onyx vs. Sardonyx

Might be concussing at first sight, but don't panic. Just like with "marble onyx," sardonyx is just another variation of onyx. The only difference is in the color of the bands, which are usually in different shades of red, rather than black. 

Where can it be found?

An easy guess. Of course, in caves, but only in a few regions around the world. Middle East, North Africa, and South America are among those chosen ones. However, Canada and some states in the US with Arizona at the top chart position also can boast of having this precious and rare stone. Almost out of a fantasy.

Properties and uses 

As a semi-precious stone, onyx was used for thousands of years to create pieces of jewelry, stamps, seals, amulets, and even figures of gods. Indifferent times and cultures, it was believed to have almost magical powers -but we will come back to this mysterious past of onyx later.

Today, with continually increasing knowledge, we can find more and more applications for this delicate stone with a striking appearance. Of course, it’s not as strong as granite; onyx is more on a marble side on the scale of hardness. In its defense, I have to say that not that many natural stones can compete with granite on durability, and even less can surpassit. 

Has it stopped anyone? Never. The more fragile and porous nature of the stone doesn’t make it less appealing or less utilized. It just makes it more unique and precious. You can still use it even for your kitchen countertop. However, keep in mind that onyx is a needy stone, especially when it comes to areas with high traffic like the kitchen or the floors in the hall. 

Consider something more gentle but still visible: fireplaces, backsplashes, bar tops, wall cladding - a perfect role for such a glamorous stone. Onyx works perfectly with other materials as well, adding decorative accents into the final picture. In this case, you can easily use it even as flooring tiles. 

Backlit Bathroom Floor

Onyx is an excellent choice if you want to make a statement. Sumptuous and translucence colors, a wide variety of patterns, dramatic swirls,and ability to radiate the light make it a truly desirable piece of art in any house. The choice is yours. The list of its applications might not be endless, but it will always bring some brilliance to the place and will never leave a soul indifferent. 

What about the mysterious past? 

Now, when all the important details about onyx are discussed and left behind, time to bate your curiosity. Of course, if you are still intrigued by the role of onyx in myths, legends, and superstitions. 

In case you are familiar with ancient Greek mythology, you might know their love for using Gods to explain everything in the world. The same happened to onyx. Both Greeks and Romans believed that onyx is Venus’ clipped nail that fell into the Indus river, where it transformed into the precious stone. By the way, the word "onyx" came from the Greek, meaning "fingernail" or "claw". Not every stone can brag of having such a privilege to be mentioned in ancient myths. 

The ancient Romans also believed that sardonyx bestows courage in battles, strengthens and protects the wearer; while in Renaissance Europe people thought it gives its owner eloquence. Still, you can find all kinds of articles about the healing powers of this stone. Maybe, it’s just a beautiful legend, or perhaps they knew something we don’t.  

That’s all you have to know about onyx before making your decision and taking one slab home. All the necessary technical details, plus even an entertainment program for your guests. Checkmate. 

Now, with all these incredible stories, you can head to the showroom and choose the best slab of onyx for your project. Our staff will bemore than happy to assist you and answer all your questions. Time is running, go and get one!