History & Origin

“The name “onyx” is derived from the Greek word “onux” meaning “claw” or “fingernail”, so-called for its resemblance with the translucence and color of a fingernail“ (Marble Institute of America, 2011). On top of this, the word marble is added to its name on account of its similar composition and visual appearance.

The use of this fascinating geological material goes at least as far as pre-conquest Mexico. There it was used by the indigenous people in the creation of masks and various handcrafts. Successively, after the Spanish’s arrival, they found a common interest in this rock and used it in the decoration of churches. 

Furthermore, the notable translucid properties of Onyx Marble which are nowadays showcased with help of backlighting systems were not always the only appliance to this feature. In the past, the translucent thin pieces were used as windows, prior to the use of industrial glass. 

Onyx Marble is found within sedimentary rocks, “formed on or near the Earth’s surface from the compression of ocean sediments or other processes”. (National Geographic, 2019). The parts of this stone that are used in the creation of a variety of products and for the adornment of buildings are the ones made up of concentric areas of aragonite and calcite. These semi-precious stones are formed by a slow and gentle drop by drop addition of material process. “It begins at the dripstone deposits of limestone caves where the water starts dripping from the stalactites and stalagmites to then be evaporated between drops. This leaves behind deposits of calcium carbonate coming from the water and consequently impacting the formation. This course results in the stone’s remarkable natural color banding and design pattern, which makes any piece that is carved or cut to be truly one of a kind.

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