Alabaster and Onyx may seem like similar products, but the truth is that they are pretty different and have different properties and uses.
The Alabaster is a soft, translucent stone, usually white with either black or brown veins or lines throughout the stone. Onyx is a much harder stone and is typically black and white. The Onyx stone would have a more layered effect than a look like Alabaster with thin veins or lines.
Table of Contents
- All About Alabaster
- All About Onyx
- Differences Between Alabaster and Onyx
- Related Content
All About Alabaster
Alabaster is a soft mineral or rock that has traditionally been used for carving due to how easy it is to cut. Because it is soft, it has been used for centuries and has many different uses.
In technical terms, Alabaster is a medium to hard gypsum or calcite mineral that is usually white and translucent. It has an excellent uniform grain. When Alabaster is put up to the light, you can see small refined natural grains of the stone shine through.
Most people agree that Alabaster has two kinds of stones: gypsum stone and calcite stone. Both of these stones look pretty similar.
Alabaster has been used for sculptures and figurines, and decorations for centuries. Alabaster has a transparent color and finishes, a stone used for lamps and lighting.
Also, because it is a porous stone, Alabaster can be dyed into any color or shade. The dyeing of Alabaster is a technique that has been used for centuries.
The purest of Alabaster is a snow-white material with a fine, uniform grain. But some alabaster can also have brown or yellow tones. Most people prefer Alabaster for its snow-white translucent nature.
Because Alabaster is naturally white, it can often be confused with white marble. But white marble is a much harder stone than Alabaster and does not have the same look or feel.
All About Onyx
Onyx is considered a silicate mineral chalcedony type of stone. Onyx is more similar to an agate than to Alabaster.
Both Onyx and Agate are varieties of chalcedony stone, but their main difference is in the bands or layers of the stone. Agate has curved bands to the stone, and Onyx has parallel bands.
The color of the Onyx bands is usually black and white. Because of the nature of the onyx bands, the term Onyx has been used to refer to Alabaster but only due to some similarities of the bands and not the minerals themselves.
The word Onyx is used with Alabaster to describe words as onyx-marble. The word onyx-marble is used for the calcite version of Alabaster.
Because the word onyx is used for the calcite version of the Alabaster, there can be some confusion between Onyx and Alabaster. The term onyx refers to the look of the alabaster stone and not the properties or hardness of the Alabaster.
Onyx and Alabaster are very different stones and have very different properties. Onyx is a hard stone usually cut into pieces for decoration, jewelry, or other uses.
Differences Between Alabaster and Onyx
There are many differences between Alabaster and Onyx. Here are some of the more notable differences:
- Type of Mineral – Alabaster is a gypsum or calcite mineral. Gypsum is one of the more common materials, but a calcite variety is also used. Onyx is a silicate mineral and is known as a crystalline stone.
- Hardness – Alabaster is a medium to hard mineral and is quite soft to carve. Onyx is a tough mineral and harder to carve. Onyx stone is much harder to carve than Alabaster stone.
- Overall Look – The two minerals do not look the same. Alabaster is mainly white unless dyed, and Onyx has prominently defined black and white layers. The Alabaster would be mainly white within veins or lines going through it. The Onyx would have more defined black and white layers. This is one of the main ways to tell the difference between these two minerals.
- Dyeing Properties – Alabaster is soft enough to be dyed in various colors. Onyx is not dyed but used in its natural state.
- Translucency – Alabaster has a lot of translucency, so it can be used for lamps and light shades. Onyx is either slightly transparent or completely opaque. The degree of how much you can see through the Onyx will depend a lot on the stone, whereas the Alabaster usually has a translucent nature.
- Colors – Alabaster is usually white with fine black or brownish veining or lines. Onyx has a base of black with white layers.
- Uses – For centuries, Alabaster has been used for decorative purposes such as statues, windows, and all kinds of decorative elements. On the other hand, Onyx is used a lot to make jewelry or beads.
- Related Stones – Alabaster is many times thought to be a marble. But the truth is that Alabaster is much softer than marble and is only thought to be marble as they the same as marble have the same overall look. On the other hand, Onyx is related to an agate stone; it will have some of the same types of look as an agate, where the colors are layered throughout the stone.
If you’re interested, see what type of alabaster or onyx products Mondoro Company can produce, we would love to talk to you. We have some magnificent bathroom sets that are made in natural alabaster stone.
Find out more about how Mondoro can help you create, develop, and manufacture excellent home decor and home furniture products – don’t hesitate to contact me, Anita. Check out my email by clicking here or become a part of our community and join our newsletter by clicking here.
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