What is Onyx?
Onyx is a variety of chalcedony. Chalcedony is rock that is made up of crystals, composed of very fine minerals from quartz and mongantine. The colors differ from white to about every single color. The most common color is black or white. Onyx generates from Latin, meaning claw or fingernail. Because of its flesh tone color, it resembles a fingernail. The way onyx is formed is through bands of chalcedony in alternating colors. Black onyx is the most popular type, but isn’t common with colored bands. The black onyx is artificially treated to give it that red and yellow sardonyx. Sardonyx is processes in which shades are red are made into the stone.
Unfortunately places like, Mexico and Pakistan mimic onyx. They use a material called calcite which is carved and polished to give it that onyx look. Techniques that are still used today artificially treat the onyx by boiling chalcedony in a sugar solution. It is then treated with sulfuric acid that absorbs into the top layers of the stone. Nitric acid is used to lighten or get rid of unwanted colors.
Onyx, in history, was mainly used for jewelry. Also it was famous for hard stone carvings. Some of the onyx is natural in the carvings, but it can be stained using agate.
In Egypt, onyx was used to make bowls and pottery items. In the bible, onyx is mentioned to descried the land. Onyx was also found in Villa Tugendhat at Brno to give it a shimmering semi-translucent interior wall.
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