Onyx is the natural slab of fantasy. At Royal Stone & Tile Onyx sparkly translucence belies the fact that it’s solid rock. It looks like a gemstone, with wavy bands of amber, ivory, and white fused together in a fluid pattern. When backlit, onyx radiates a soft, ethereal light. It’s truly an extraordinary stone; wherever it is used it will take center stage in your next project.
Cristallo Quartzite. This is a translucent material, white background with light red veining. Popular for backlighting but also a very durable stone White Diamond Cristallo quartzite remains a winner.
High-end restaurants and resorts employ onyx bar tops to bring brilliance into a space, an effect that is made even more spectacular when the stone is backlit. Onyx is also used as a backsplash, vanity, or as accent tiles.
While granite, quartzite, and marble are all forged deep within the earth’s crust, onyx is born right on the surface. Onyx forms from spring water or groundwater that has an abundance of calcite dissolved in it. When this water emerges at the mouth of a spring, the minerals precipitate out and build a crust of calcite crystals. Over time, more water flows by and more minerals settle out. The variations between the layers are caused by differences in the water flow rate and small amounts of impurities. In its most pure state calcite is white or clear, but it’s easily tinted by minor amounts of other minerals.
In the commercial stone industry, onyx refers a category of stones that are made of layered bands of light-colored or translucent minerals. Most slabs of onyx are what a geologist would call banded calcite. This same material also goes by the names onyx marble, Mexican onyx, or Egyptian alabaster.
There is no artist greater than our very own Earth for the sheer variety of materials and patterns we can bring into our homes. In keeping with its magical look, onyx has a bit of mystique. It’s beautiful, but what is it?