Onyx: always standing out in interior design

One can easily say that onyx is a material used mostly for interior decoration, specially when the image of luxury and glamour is to be transmitted.



AG MARBLES, Emirates


This always aesthetically striking material, considered to be semi-precious stone is, a sedimentary rock, a variety of quartz similar to calcedony. It is defined as an agata and has straight and parallel strips of different colours. We will find, if we visit a good showroom specialised in natural stone, displayed in the section 'exotic stones'.

Its provenance is varied, the ones most appreciated come from countries like Mexico, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, though there are also quarries located in several other parts of the world.



AG MARBLES, Emirates


Onyx is available in a wide range of colours. One could say that all are the colours are there- white, yellow, orange, pink, red, green, blue, brown and black.

What seem to be most in demand nowadays in the different markets of the world, are the 'honey' tone, i.e., the orange and yellow, because they are the colours that, when 'retroilluminated' (one of the main characteristics of this material) create a great visual impact. The white colour, too, is very popular, one could mention those that have golden incrustations, such as the white onyx from Iran.



The shade 'Sand' or brown is a favourite when the veins are perpendicular. Mexican black onyx is highly appreciated, allowing it to be made into large slabs, such as marble.




Blue is another colour people ask for. The pink colour is also very much in demand, but because of its Premium price, people go for other alternatives.




Being a translucent material, onyx allows for playing with light, which helps to create relaxing and elegant environments. One needs to be careful in the way light is used since if not done appropriately keeping at the necessary distance, the stone can be heated.

The same onyx table retroilluminated and without retroilumination. INTERMARMOR, Spain


The level of translucency depends on the colour, thickness and finish of the surface.


Extraction and processing

Onyx can be a very complicated material to work with because it is not strong, it is like crystal. The extraction of blocks in the quarries can be complicated, it is not like in granite and marble, big size blocks are difficult to obtain, except in rare cases.

The processing in the factories is not easy, one first has to protect the block and do it carefully, this also contributes to its higher price compared to marble. The slabs tend to be of small sizes such as 1.5 x 1.5 m.

There are two types of cut:

Transversal: with this type of cut, the resultant designs are circular. It ends up being more transparent and apt for illumination.

Perpendicular: with this type of cut, the resultant designs are lineal.

Pictures: INCOMPASTOR, Spain


Being onyx a relatively soft material and commanding a premium price in the market, it is of the highest importance to do proper treatment of the stone in the factories. The smallest holes and gaps in veins need to be filled properly by resins. Not doing this properly can create problems of all kinds soon.



The applications for onyx are always for interiors, it is not advisable to use onyx for exteriors or for floorings. Onyx can be used in: walls, reception bars in hotels, in the bars, staircases, furniture, and decorative elements. Being a versatile element, it can be adapted to all kinds of styles and different designs.

Onyx sinks made by RARE STONES, Spain


One needs to take into account before going for a choice of onyx in countertops be they in the kitchen, bathroom, restaurants, etc.is that it is a soft material, and as in the case of some types of marble, with daily use scratches can appear and spots absorbed, therefore special care is needed and one needs to frequently clean it. It is necessary to strengthen it with fibre glass before its use.








Of what there is no doubt though that onyx adds a spectacular touch to any design and to any kind of interior.

AG MARBLES, Emirates


Acknowledgments: Amelia Pastor, Ginés Martínez, Paulo Giafarov, Samir Jalloul, Aram Nazifi, Nacho Vila, marmolesexoticos.com. Carmen María García Sánchez, T. A. Srikanth, NEFTIS Decoración en Piedra Natural.