Onyx is one of the most beautiful natural stones. This greatly under-utilized material is versatile and elegant allowing it to look good almost anywhere. Onyx is considered luxurious in the world of stone for many reasons. This softer stone is considered more delicate than other natural stones including marble and that delicacy has its advantages and disadvantages. Although onyx kitchen countertops are beautiful, they are not as practical as granite countertops and require more care. However, onyx slabs have some of the most unique movement and patterning among natural stones giving it great value, beauty, and intrigue.
Onyx is a lighter-weight material in comparison to marble or granite slabs and can easily be installed in creative applications. Most of the world’s onyx is quarried into small-sized slabs making it easy to handle and fabricate. Onyx kitchen and bathroom countertops are striking with the unique patterning and colors. A more inspiring application is installing onyx as a wall finish or cladding in a grid pattern where the slabs are cut into manageable sized sections and secured to the wall with metal fasteners or channels. Onyx is on the softer end of the stone density scale, making it better suited for interior and vertical applications.
Another advantage to onyx is that it’s somewhat translucent and has the appearance of being delicate and soft to the touch. This luxurious quality allows it to be easily backlit. Backlighting a stone with even light distribution can greatly enhance the color and movement within a stone. Depending on the spectrum of the backlighting source, the colors in onyx have a tendency to appear warmer and more vibrant, bringing out the dynamic beauty of the stone. It is common to use backlighting on a vertical application such as a stone wall feature or room divider in a space. Backlit onyx countertops are breathtaking in restaurant bars as well as backlighting onyx on the face of a hotel front desk. Since backlighting stone tends to be magnetic and draws attention, it is often seen in public spaces designed to enlighten or energize the crowd such as casinos, hotel lobbies, and bars.
Onyx naturally has a magnificent range of colors and patterns. The stone is most commonly found in cream, gold, red and green tones. The movement can vary from bright white with little veining to deep red with vigorous movement. Onyx slabs and tiles look more like gemstones rather than granite. The color variation and movement is smooth similar to liquid transitioning from one color to the next. In addition to countertops and shower surrounds, the fluid-like movement in onyx is ideal for carved products including statues, figurines, sinks, and fireplace mantels.