Black Agate

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Black Agate

Wiley Wells black agate geode beds

Frequently Asked Questions...

black onyx?

Is black agate and onyx the same thing and
does black onyx have to have alternating bands of different color

Best Answer...


Yes, they are both subcategories of chalcedony. Agate is defined as having concentric banding, while onyx has flat layered bands. However, since lots of black onyx is dyed anyway, most rock shops will sell it as 'black onyx' even though it is not banded. True onyx is supposed to black and white banded, but in practice all sorts of chalcedony get labeled as onyx.

Here is what Mindat has to say about onyx:



Neither chalcedony, agate, or onyx qualify as a mineral because they are a mixture of quartz and moganite.

The calcite form is actually called onyx-marble (and is illegal or inadvisable to own in some US states because it comes from cave formations).