Onyx belongs to the family of chalcedony, a microcrystalline variety of quartz. Other varieties of chalcedony include Jasper, Carnelian, Agate and Tiger’s Eye. Commercially, transparent to opaque stones characterized by alternating, parallel bands of color, are known as Onyx. Most of the Onyx sold in the word today is quarried in Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and Mexico.
Onyx colors may include white, red, blue, green and brown (dark brown to very light beige). The variations of color are attributed to impurities such as iron, aluminum, and nickel present in the stone. Onyx is often used in jewelry because of its many colors and ability to polish to a high luster.
Its vitreous and brittle nature makes Onyx prone to cracking. New resins available in the marketplace today correct this problem and allow the ‘miracle of technology’ to produce slabs 10 feet long and 6 feet high, and only ¾’” thick. Onyx does not perform well under situations of intense use or in high traffic areas. Use should be limited to private areas.
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