Onyx Color

Onyx Color – The Shade of Black That Originated from a Rock

What color comes to mind when you think of onyx? Most people would most probably say that they are thinking of something close to black. When it comes to only dealing with the color, this is quite true. However, the onyx stone is a little more complex and can come in a variety of colors. We will briefly be dealing with the onyx stone, but our focus in this article will be on the onyx color itself. Let us get started by looking at a brief description of the onyx color!



What Color Is Onyx?

Is onyx black? The stone itself ranges in color, including an onyx black. However, they all have alternating bands of contrasting colors, such as white on black. The stones are almost never a solid color. The onyx black color below is what you can find online as a graphic color, which as you can see, is extremely close to black. There are also different versions of onyx that you can find online.

The first is a representation of the real onyx and can be described as an extremely dark gray that has little to no undertones. So, it is as close to black as you can get without being 100 percent black.

In the table below, you can identify this onyx black color by the onyx hex code, #0f0f0f. The second onyx color is different in that it has a slight greenish undertone, so can be described as a greenish-black or an extremely dark tone of green. The onyx hex code for this color is #353935.

What Color is Onyx

Shade Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Onyx Black#0f0f0f0, 0, 0, 9415, 15, 15 
Onyx Green#3539357, 0, 7, 7853, 57, 53 


Onyx Color: A Brief History

The onyx color is quite obviously linked to the stone, which is where the color originates from. As we have mentioned, the onyx stone comes in different colors besides black, including red and green, among others. Onyx is a sedimentary rock that is mostly found in caves and is formed by chalcedony, a silicate mineral that usually creates contrasting layers of color to form the onyx. The different varieties of onyx include the following.

Onyx Hex code

  • Black onyx: There is a very rare solid black onyx you can find in nature. However, the common black onyx is usually more grayish and is treated to produce the black color.
  • Sardonyx: An onyx stone that has a brown base, with alternating bands of orange, red, and yellow.
  • Cornelian onyx: This type of onyx contains a red base with lighter red and white bands of color.
  • Niccolo onyx: This particular onyx has a black base with light blue and gray bands that are almost translucent.
  • Blue onyx: An onyx stone that produces a beautiful crystal blue, with white and brown bands.

The term “onyx” is derived from the Greek word “onux”, which implies a nail or claw, which is what the stone color looked like. Since Ancient times, onyx has been used to create beautiful sculptures and jewelry. In many cultures, the onyx was known to have protective powers, and onyx items were often worn by warriors.  In Ancient Egypt, craftsmen were known to create onyx bowls and other decorative items.

Some say that the gemstone was even worn by Cleopatra. During the 1920s and for a few years after that, many art sculptures were displayed on a Brazilian green onyx plinth.

Onyx Black

Today, the onyx gemstones are still quite popular for their unusual beauty and affordability. The onyx stone has also become quite popular as an interior design feature, for its unique and elegant look. You also now have many popular paint colors based on the onyx color.


Meaning of the Onyx Color

The onyx gemstone has been associated with protection and strength throughout history, similar to the meaning of the black color. It is also said that the onyx stone itself has grounding properties and helps to release negative energy. Onyx is said to also have powerful spiritual healing abilities. The stone helps to boost happiness and provide emotional stability.

You could also say that it provides safety and security, similar to the meaning of black.



Similar Shades of Onyx

Since onyx is a shade of black, you can have variations of this color to produce a monochromatic color scheme. Similar colors to onyx will then be a darker, more pure black, or lighter shades of gray, such as charcoal or a general gray.

onyx shades

Shade Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Onyx Black#0f0f0f0, 0, 0, 9415, 15, 15 
Black#0000000, 0, 0, 1000, 0, 0 
Charcoal#36454f32, 13, 0, 6954, 69, 79 
Gray#8080800, 0, 0, 50128, 128, 128 



Different Color Combinations for the Onyx Color

Black and gray tones are not found on the more common color wheel, so the traditional color combinations do not work the same as when you work with a particular hue like green. However, black and gray are considered neutrals, and can easily be paired with most colors.

Pairing onyx with white creates a nice contrast, along with other neutrals like beige or cream.

You can also pair onyx black with lighter shades of gray to create a look that provides more depth. Since it is a well-balanced shade of black, it can work easily with both warmer and cooler colors. The onyx black will look great with a muted blue, green, or red, which softens the contrast, making it easier on the eyes.

Light Onyx Color

Shade Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Onyx Black#0f0f0f0, 0, 0, 9415, 15, 15 
Muted Blue#82b0d138, 16, 0, 18130, 176, 209 
Muted Green#a9d1b019, 0, 16, 18169, 209, 176 
Muted Red#a36e650, 33, 38, 36163, 110, 101 

However, if you choose another onyx color that has an undertone, then you can follow the various color combinations for that particular hue. For example, the onyx green. This onyx color will work well with other neutrals like white and gray, as well colors like various green and blue shades. This time, you can also use different color combinations, as you have the green hue to work from. For example, complementary colors like a muted magenta, can add warmth and contrast. 

onyx magenta interior design

Shade Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Onyx Green#3539357, 0, 7, 7853, 57, 53 
Muted Dark Magenta#9d629d0, 38, 0, 38157, 98, 157 



How to Use the Onyx Color

When dealing with paint colors, you can simply use black paint to represent the onyx color. However, you can also create black by mixing all three primary colors, which include yellow, red, and blue. Simply mix equal amounts of each to create a black color.

You should understand that many paints are not pure colors and may contain undertones, which can affect the outcome of the blended colors.

Shades of Onyx Color

So, experiment with different types of blue, red, and yellow paint to see what variations of black you can make. For example, consider mixing phthalo blue and burnt umber to create an interesting deep black. There are quite a few versions of onyx paint colors that are used for interior designs, which makes the color quite popular in this area.


Using Onyx Black in Interior Designs

Since the onyx black color is not pure black, it appears slightly less dominating and has more of a cocooning and welcoming feel to it. But can you paint the walls with it? Yes, you can but the room should have enough natural light or lighting, which creates quite a stunning look. However, when used as an accent color and paired with white, it also provides a nice contrast and appears less domineering. Try out some of the below ideas when working with the onyx color.

ony color interior design

  • Use the onyx color as an accent wall in an otherwise neutral-themed space, to create a nice focal point that adds a bit of drama to the space.
  • Simply paint the inside of a door, which can contrast with white walls.
  • You can also bring in onyx as an accent color with accessories and furniture.
  • Layer the onyx color with shades of gray to create a more layered look.
  • In the kitchen, consider onyx color cabinets with white marble tops and wooden flooring.
  • Bring in pops of green or blue, as well as orange or shades of red. Something like a simple leafy plant can do the trick.
  • Include metal or natural elements, for example, brass light fixtures and wooden floors, which can bring in more warmth and a luxury feel.

You can also consider darker exteriors, as these are becoming quite popular. Colors like black onyx work amazingly well with white window trims and doors to provide a beautiful contrast. You can also think of using the color for smaller areas like the garage door or painting just the outside of the front door.

Some have also chosen to use only the roof tiles in an onyx-black shade.

onyx bedroom design

The onyx stone itself is also popular as part of interior design. Again, remember, the onyx stone does come in different colors. However, it can all be used as kitchen countertops, wall panels, bathroom, or vanity tops as well as floor or wall tiles and backsplashes. The onyx stone adds a modern look to the design and also works wonderfully with other natural elements, such as wood, concrete, glass, and brass.


Instead of simply choosing black as a color for your next design, consider other options like the onyx color, which can provide a slightly more versatile look. When choosing a paint color, always remember to check for undertones and to test the color out in different lighting situations, especially if you are going to use a dark color scheme like onyx black. This way, you can never go wrong!




Frequently Asked Questions


What Color Is Onyx?

Is onyx black? The onyx color is not quite 100 percent pure black but is very close to it. Since it only has very small yet equal amounts of red, green, and blue, it is considered a neutral. However, you can also get variations that have a certain hue undertone, such as the onyx green color.


What Colors Pair Well With Onyx Black?

The onyx black color pairs equally well with most hues, like various shades of blue, green, and red. However, it stands out the most when paired with white, which is another neutral. You will need to be more careful if the onyx color has a dominating undertone, as some color combinations can seem a bit off-balance if paired incorrectly.


What Are Some Other Uses for Onyx Black?

You can find onyx black in various beauty and cosmetic products, such as lipstick, nail polish, and hair dye. There are also clothing items and accessories, like handbags, that come in an onyx color.


Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “Onyx Color – The Shade of Black That Originated from a Rock.” Art in Context. September 26, 2023. URL: https://artincontext.org/onyx-color/

Lewis, C. (2023, 26 September). Onyx Color – The Shade of Black That Originated from a Rock. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/onyx-color/

Lewis, Charlene. “Onyx Color – The Shade of Black That Originated from a Rock.” Art in Context, September 26, 2023. https://artincontext.org/onyx-color/.

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