What Is the Difference Between Onyx Marble and Marble?


Marble and onyx marble are commonly used stones in interior decoration and architecture, each with unique properties and applications. They differ not only in appearance and texture, but also in their purpose and aesthetic effect.

The debate over onyx marble vs. marble has raged for centuries. Despite their similar appearance, both rocks exhibit unique characteristics. The following will explore the comparison and differences between these two types of stone to help understand their respective advantages and application scenarios.

Related Articles

Table of Contents

I. Basic definitions of marble and onyx marble

1. What is marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock, a rock formed from limestone in a high temperature and high pressure environment. It is primarily composed of the mineral calcium carbonate and often exhibits colorful colors and unique textures. The main component of marble is calcite and small amounts of other minerals.

This kind of rock is formed inside the earth’s crust, usually due to factors such as crustal movement, high temperature and pressure, magma activity and chemical reactions. The color and texture of marble can vary depending on the content and form of impurities in the rock, ranging from white and gray to pink and green.

Marble is widely used in architecture and sculpture, and is often used in floors, walls, countertops, sculptures, and more. Its unique aesthetic value and versatile uses make it a popular material in decoration and construction.

2. What is onyx marble?

Onyx Marble is a translucent metamorphic rock that is different from ordinary marble. It is known for its unique color, transparency, and texture, often showing colorful colors and a translucent or transparent appearance.

Onyx marble is a rock formed from hydrolysis, temperature and pressure in limestone. It is mainly composed of calcium carbonate minerals, but unlike ordinary marble, onyx marble shows different colors due to different impurities in it, such as red, green, blue, yellow, etc., and is translucent or transparent to a certain extent. texture.

Due to its unique appearance and properties, onyx marble is often used in decorative applications such as lighting fixtures, decorative wall panels, sculptures, and specialty countertops. Its translucent properties allow it to produce unique light and shadow effects under specific lighting conditions, bringing luxury and unique aesthetic value to the space.

II. Composition and formation process

● Composition and formation process of marble

Marble is a metamorphic rock, which is mainly formed from limestone or metamorphosed calcareous rock under high temperature and high pressure deep in the earth’s crust. Its main component is calcium carbonate (CaCO₃).

The basic process of marble formation is as follows:

1. Original rock

Marble was originally limestone, a sedimentary rock formed by the deposition of calcium carbonate. These limestones can come from organic materials such as shells, fossilized shellfish, and corals in the ocean.

2. Metamorphic process

Deep in the earth’s crust, limestone is subjected to high temperature and pressure, and after millions of years of geological changes, marble is gradually formed. High temperature and high pressure conditions cause the calcium carbonate crystals in the limestone to rearrange and crystallize, creating the marble’s unique texture and structure.

3. Crystallization and deformation

After geological processes, the calcium carbonate crystals in limestone gradually crystallize under high temperature and pressure and form the typical marble texture in marble, which is usually dominated by marble texture.

The temperature, pressure and chemical effects of this process affect the color, texture and hardness of the marble. Marble thus exhibits a rich variety of colors and textures, making it a commonly used decorative material in architecture and sculpture.


● Composition and formation process of onyx marble

Onyx Marble is a translucent metamorphic rock. Its composition and formation process are somewhat similar to ordinary marble, but it is different in some aspects.

The basic process of forming onyx marble is as follows:

1. Original rock

The original limestone is a calcareous rock composed of calcium carbonate (calcite) and rock fragments. These rocks usually come from biological fossils in ancient oceans, such as shells, shellfish, corals, etc.

2. Geological changes

Deep in the earth’s crust, these calcareous rocks have experienced geological changes and been affected by high temperature, high pressure and chemical reactions. This may be caused by geological processes such as plate movement, volcanic activity, or magma intrusion.

3. Hydrolysis

Hydrolysis refers to the reaction between water and chemical substances in rocks under high temperature and pressure, resulting in changes in the composition of rocks. In this environment, the calcium carbonate (calcite) in the limestone begins to hydrolyze, gradually forming a translucent structure.

4. Temperature and pressure

Under high temperature and high pressure conditions, hydrolysis promotes chemical reactions in limestone and changes its composition. This action causes impurities, pigments, or minerals in the limestone to collect and create the unique color and translucency of onyx marble.

Generally speaking, onyx marble is somewhat similar to ordinary marble in terms of composition and formation process. However, due to the influence of hydrolysis and specific geological conditions, onyx marble presents its unique translucent characteristics and diverse colors.

III. Contrast of color and texture

1. Color

★ Marble

Common colors of marble include white, gray, pink, yellow and green. It may have a marble texture, which is alternating dark and light stripes or spots, or it may have a cloud-like texture.

★ Onyx marble

Onyx marble comes in a wider range of colors due to its translucent or transparent nature, including red, green, blue, yellow and orange. Different colors of onyx marble may exhibit depth and variation in certain lights.

2. Texture

★ Marble

Marble is often known for its characteristic marble texture, which is caused by mineral deposits and rock metamorphism during its formation, showing staggered stripes and patches of color.

★ Onyx marble

Onyx marble typically exhibits more of a translucent or transparent effect, and its texture may be softer and have a glass-like texture. It may show fine graining or ordered patches of color rather than the typical marble texture.

In general, marble is relatively traditional in color and texture, with common marble veins giving it a unique appearance, while onyx marble is even more unique with its rich colors and translucent texture. Both rocks have unique aesthetic value in interior decoration.

IV. Comparison of transparency and usage

1. Transparency

★ Marble

Marble is usually opaque. It is formed by the metamorphosis of calcareous rocks, and its structure and crystal arrangement mean that it is usually not transparent, but exhibits a uniform color and texture.

★ Onyx marble

Onyx marble differs from ordinary marble because of its special translucent or transparent properties. Due to the special conditions of its structure and formation, onyx marble may appear translucent or transparent, giving it a special light and shadow effect when illuminated by light.

2. Application

★ Marble

Marble is widely used in interior decoration and architecture due to its durability and beauty.

(1) Countertops and floors

Marble is commonly used in interior decoration such as countertops, floors, and walls. It can be made into sturdy countertops and floors, adding texture and visual interest to a room.

(2) Sculptures and decorations

Marble is widely used in interior decoration and architecture due to its durability and beauty.

(3) Building appearance

In the field of architecture, marble is also often used for exterior wall cladding or decorative elements, adding an elegant and luxurious appearance to the building.


★ Onyx marble

The translucent or transparent nature of onyx marble allows for a unique visual effect under certain light conditions, adding luxury and unique aesthetic value to interior decoration.

(1) Lighting decoration

Onyx marble is often used in lighting decoration, especially lamps, lampshades or lamp holders that require light transmission.

(2) Special countertops and decorative wall panels

Due to its translucent or transparent properties, onyx marble is often used to create special countertops or decorative wall panels, creating a unique visual effect.

(3) Art sculptures and decorations

As a material with unique aesthetics, onyx marble is also used in the production of sculptures and decorations, adding color to artworks.

Generally speaking, marble is mainly used for surface decoration and structural applications, while onyx marble has a wider range of applications for decorative and special design needs due to its unique transparent properties.

V. Comparison of rarity and price

There are some differences in rarity and price between marble and onyx marble:

1. Rarity

★ Marble

Marble is a relatively common stone that is widely distributed around the world. Marble can be mined relatively easily in many areas, especially those with abundant marble resources. Therefore, marble is generally less rare.

★ Onyx marble

Onyx marble is relatively rare and its production is relatively small. Its mining and production may be limited by specific geological conditions and mineral resource distribution, so onyx marble is more rare than ordinary marble.

2. Price

★ Marble

The price of marble varies based on a variety of factors, including color, quality, origin, and the cost of mining and processing. Common marble usually comes in a variety of price points, from relatively cheap to very expensive varieties.

★ Onyx marble

Due to its relative rarity and unique properties, onyx marble tends to be more expensive. Its rarity and unique translucent properties mean that its price is usually higher than that of regular marble.

Overall, onyx marble usually costs more than regular marble due to its rarity and uniqueness. The prices of these two kinds of stones are also affected by many factors such as market supply and demand, origin and quality, so the prices may change in actual situations.

VI. Conclusion

When selecting materials, consider their unique properties and application scenarios to meet specific design and decorative needs. I hope this comparison between marble and onyx marble can provide a reference for your choice!

Experience stunning stone products today!

Explore our carefully selected collection of stones to add a unique touch to your project. Click to shop now and let us help you realize your dream design!