Part 1 of An Exploration of Color: Countless Choices for Backlit Onyx Design

For many, the word “onyx” evokes images of shiny black beads embedded in jewelry.  Yet as interesting as light-up gemstone necklaces sound, GPI Design creates features with a different sort of onyx, a sort of “jewelry for your walls”.  The world of onyx natural stone is a large one, filled with many colors, banding, and stone patterns.  Many people aren’t aware of the enormous amount of onyx varieties available, so we’re opening up our image library of slabs to set your imaginations running wild.

What exactly is onyx? In the commercial stone world, onyx is not a color or specific stone, it encompasses a broad range of stones. Onyx is a form of quartz.  Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in Earth’s crust and comes in many different varieties, one of which is onyx.  But wait a minute, you might be asking: “isn’t quartz the stone that comes in large crystals?”.  Yes, those large chunks of crystal are known as macrocrystalline quartz.  The other major category of quartz is microcrystalline (or cryptocrystalline).

Onyx is a form of cryptocrystalline quartz, which means that is composed of large bunches of much smaller quartz crystals. It’s the combination of tens of thousands of smaller quartz crystals that give onyx its huge variety of colors, textures, and patterns.  If you look closely at a slab of onyx, you can start to see the individual crystals that make it up. Particularly when backlit, the fine detail in an onyx panel is further revealed.

backlit green onyx panel
Above Left: Green Onyx, unlit    Above Right: Green Onyx, backlit

Green Onyx– Rich layers of green are enhanced by billowing clouds of red and brown.  Green onyx has a luxurious, rich look, and is often used to create a sense of magnificence and warmth. Backlighting green onyx panels brings out hidden details and adds an additional layer of richness to the stone.

Now that you know the world is your oyster when it comes to designing with backlit onyx, unleash your most colorful imagination! Stay tuned for our next featured stone.