This week my blog is a general overview on onyx and why it’s so cool! First, let’s differentiate between your black onyx gemstone ring around your finger and the honey colored onyx bar top.


According to the Marble Institute of America, the onyx gemstone is a “siliceous rock consisting of cryptocrystalline quartz (a variety of chalcedony).” Alternatively, onyx stone surfaces are a calcareous stone, also known as Marble Onyx. Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how cool Onyx/Onyx Marble is!

Honey Onyx
Honey Onyx


Onyx is translucent and usually comes in a variety of colors such as honey, green and red. It can be honed or polished to a high gloss. It’s not just these qualities that make onyx so beautiful; onyx has these gorgeous waves and circle patterns. But how are these magnificent characteristics formed?


Let’s defer again to the Marble Institute of America since it is the expert: onyx originates in the “dripstone deposits of limestone caverns where it forms stalactites, stalagmites, and other formations that can fill an entire cavern. It is deposited by gentle, dripping water movement followed by evaporation between drops that deposits calcium carbonate from the water onto the formation, incrementally enlarging formations by thousandths of an inch or less per drop. Thus onyx is also a chemical sedimentary stone, and may envelop terrestrial fossil remains.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 4.21.09 PM
Backlit Onyx Bar Top


We typically see onyx used as an interior decorative stone, such as bar tops and statement walls. Onyx looks even more stunning when it is backlit. The light shines through onyx due to the translucency of stone.

Onyx backlit
Backlit Onyx Slab


Now on to my favorite subject: stone maintenance. Onyx rates a three on the Moh’s hardness scale – so basically what that means is that onyx is a very soft material and can scratch easily, so don’t drag your trays and bottles on your bar top. Onyx also reacts (etches) when acid, ammonia, or alcohol is spilled. Etch marks are surface chemical burns that remove the polish of the stone surface. The good news is International Stoneworks can re-hone and re-polish onyx to remove fine scratches and etch marks to restore the surface to a beautiful and consistent finish again.

Onyx office floor
Newly-Installed Onyx and Granite Floor


If you want to make a statement with natural stone in your home or building, onyx is a stunning way to go!