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Stone Chess Sets: Marble, Onyx, and More

Stone Chess Pieces and Sets, Options and Considerations

A lot of focus is put in to wood chess pieces because they are the most traditional. However, there are many other alternate forms of chessmen. In this blog post i’ll be looking at stone chess pieces and sets. While these sets can be fragile, they are also absolutely fantastic display pieces that can add a great bit of character and flair to any furniture display. Stone chess sets are a favorite of collectors and laymen alike as a great option for a nice, luxurious item that is a little different.

Marble Chess Sets

Marble Chess Sets

We have a huge variety of marble chess sets in a variety of styles and colors. Click the image to see our entire selection.

The most popular type of stone chess sets are made from marble or onyx. Marble chess sets have a huge variety of colors and textures, ranging from traditional whites, blacks, and grays to unique colors such as green, reddish orange, or even coral and fossil stone.

The wide range of options combined with the relatively affordable price makes marble a great option. Not only do these chess sets come in a lot of different color combinations, they also come in a few different styles, ranging from rustic, hand carved marble sets where each one will be unique to machine made, mass produced sets out of Asia where they will be clean and modern. The different options allow marble to be a great choice for any home display.

Other Stone Chess Sets

Of course, there are other styles of stone sets beyond marble and onyx that interest collectors. They range from extremely expensive alabaster chess sets from Italy to really unusual theme stone pieces from Mexico made of Malachite. There are even soapstone and Jade theme sets manufactured in east Asia.

While sets made from onyx, marble, and alabaster are generally traditional in style, these other stones are usually carved in to more unique designs. Malachite, a very rough green and blue stone from Mexico, is so unusual many people who have them do not know what it is. (most of the time these are folding sets with a Conquistador and Aztec theme). Jade and soapstone sets are often Chinese themes, such as the ‘eight fairies’ fable.

Marble Chess Pieces

Marble Chess Pieces

Marble Pieces come in a wide range of colors and two style. Shown above are the detailed “European” style (left) and the rustic style (right). Click the image to go to our unique chess piece category to see them all.

One popular question in regards to stone chessmen is whether or not you can purchase the pieces separately from the board. Most of the time this is unfortunately not possible. Sets such as Jade, Alabaster, and Malachite are not usually found in the US Market, and when they are, they are likely from private collectors where separating the board and pieces or getting a full set of pieces as replacements simply is not possible.

Marble chess sets, however, are a bit of an exception. While these are also manufactured overseas (Most of the marble sets you’ll see for sale are from Pakistan), we work directly with the factory and actually have started imported the marble pieces on their own in both the rustic and European styles. This means there is a solution for all of the folks who have marble boards without pieces or are just looking for marble pieces to compliment the wood, metal, glass, or other chessboard they display in their home.

There are two designs of marble chessmen – our rustic style and our European style. The rustic style is quite rough. Each piece is different because they are all hand carved. These pieces are still quite obviously traditional, yet charming in their simplicity.

The European design is much more similar to a classic french chess set. These stone pieces are smooth, and very carefully done. You can see from the photos above they have a lot more detail than the rustic design.

There is not a right or wrong with the chess piece design – they are simply two different options. Just like the sets, they come in a large variety of color combinations. Each of the Marble chess pieces are 3 1/2″ tall. This size works well for 1 1/2″ – 1 3/4″ squares.

Downside to Marble and Stone Chess Sets

Of course, there are some other considerations to keep in mind when purchasing stone chess sets. Unlike wood sets, they are much, much more fragile. A marble or onyx chess piece dropped from a few feet above a marble board could cause them to break. Obviously a drop to a tile or wood floor can do the same.

The one saving grace is most of the time these breaks are clean and some superglue can repair the piece – at least in marble chess sets. One of the most common problems with the onyx sets from Mexico is that when you arrive home, some pieces have broken and they are not easily repaired or replaced.

Marble replacements, at least, are much easier to come by – we import literally several hundred of these guys each year, so it’s easy to take a piece from another set and worry about getting our own replacement later. However, as it is with any natural material that is hand carved, sometimes a replacement piece is slightly different in color or carving. While this does not tend to be a huge concern, it is something worth mentioning!

One final limitation on marble chess pieces are that they are almost all in the same size. The marble chess sets are usually 16″ (although there are one or two 18″ as well). It’s not that larger designs do not exist – the problem is they are fragile and that at larger sizes there is an increased risk of damage during shipping so we were forced to stop carrying them.

If you have any questions about marble, onyx, or other stone chess sets, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or send an email!

Quentin Turner

Our Chess Store

See our chess store, and our chess website, here!

43 comments to Stone Chess Sets: Marble, Onyx, and More

  • Ginny Page

    We bought a onyx chess set in Italy in the 1970’s. It has been broken and I’m looking for another one. We only need the board…I’m looking for a green onyx with a wooden case around it. Please let me know if you have one.

    Thank you. G. Page

    • Most of the time onyx, alabaster, or marble chess sets come with the pieces and the boards. We have some boards (you can see them on the website) but they are stone only with a 1 3/4″ square size. There are a number of colors, but no built in storage options.

  • Hi I’m looking for a set of chess pieces to match a pink and white marble board. Do you have any for sale?

  • Gerry

    I have onyx chess pieces that have mold on them. How do you recommend they be cleaned?

    • Hi Gerry,

      Any traditional household cleaner should work just fine. That is what we use in the store.

      If you want to get fancy, tile/stone cleaners are available – but we find traditional all-purpose cleaners work fine for marble and onyx chess pieces.

  • James

    I have a marble Aztec style chess set that has been handed down to me from my father and was wondering if there was any way to tell a value on it.

  • charles sulik

    Looking for replacement pieces esp. pawn and rook for a marble set king height 4″. Is it possible to post a photo?

  • Susan

    I have a black and white Onyx, Aztek style, chess PIECE set up for sale. $60, complete set.

    • Debbie

      Can you post a picture of the bishop and the pawn and tell me what sizes they are? I’m looking for a black onyx bishop and pawn. If you can, send a pic of each to [email protected]. I’m not interested in the board. Just the pieces.

  • Jeri

    How much can I sell my Mexican jade and quartz set for, all the pieces are there?

    • Hi,

      I’m afraid I wouldn’t begin to know how to value it. I would recommend an antique dealer. it’s often more the material and uniqueness as opposed to craftsmanship. A lot of sets from other countries are highly detailed or interesting, but they’re not from a famous artist or company so it’s hard to value them well.

  • Carla Smith

    I have a Gray & white Onyx chess set that I purchased in Mex in the 1970’s. I would like to sell it. Can you give me an idea of how I could do that?

    • I’d probably recommend eBay. To be honest with you, there are a ton of those onyx sets floating around – they don’t really cost very much because they still make them to this day. Of course, there is some variation – they came in different sizes. The most common were chess sets around 12 – 14 inches or so.

  • David

    Hi , I have a chess set that I bout in Istanbul. It has small Turkish pieces. The King’s base is only 7/8 inch wide. The base is black and dark brown. I would like a marble or stone Chess Base. Could you please advise me . …thanks , David Bloom

    • Do you mean a marble chess board? We actually have a lot of those on the website. They are about 80.00 each and are 16″ with a 1 1/2″ square. I think those would actually fit your pieces all right (they would fit most pieces 2 1/2″ – 3″ tall – we go by king height)

  • Sharlene Hawkes

    I have two broken onyx (Mexico) chess pieces, about 2 inches high. Is it possible to find a replacement for a white, and a brown, both Rooks?

    • If you do a google search for mexico onyx chess you can sometimes find those sets. We used to carry them, but the pieces broke often and we could never get good replacements ourselves. They’re still made all over mexico and pretty inexpensive, so you might be able to find a replacement set of chessmen on the internet. That way uo have more spares if any others break in the future!

  • Liat Ford

    Hello, I have just acquired an Eight Fairies chess set, complete with box, made it Taiwan. It looks to be relatively old. The pieces are carved from soapstone. Any idea of the actual value of it?

    Thanks for attention to this matter,

    Liat Ford

  • Devin B

    HI! I just bought a glass chess set and the black pieces are broken/missing. The white pieces are here so I only need a black set. Nothing too fancy or expensive please!

  • Audrey

    Hi I I’m curious about this chess set I have. And if can you tell me about it if I were to send you a picture.

  • Kaylah

    I have a vintage aztec chess board I need help figuring out the possible worth it may have please let me know if u can help I have pictures thanku

  • Rizwan

    i have two chess set tourmaline stone one is watermalon color and second is green and pink color both are 15 years old . i want to sale both

  • I am looking chess set wholesale price plwase call me 504 428 9143

  • Judy Loria

    I am looking to purchase all the white pieces from a Mexican set – 14 x14-

  • Excellent blog you hage here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours these days.

    I really appreciate people like you!Take care!!

  • These unique decorative chess sets, are crafted from lapis lazuli and white marble. They are beautifully sculpted by hand.

  • Ur site is much interesting to us! i’ll say thanks you very much for posting the interesting info.

  • Steven Tews

    I currently received a marble/onyx chess set mint condition from the 1960s,it’s blue and white,if anyone has a green one,I would be interested. Does anyone know the value of the older ones compared to the newer ones

  • Christian Moser

    I have a marble chess set from some time in the 1900-1980 I have no clue the actual date, but two pieces are broken all I do know about it is it was made in Korea and sold in Japan to an old friend of mine he said his father gave it to him, a black pawn, and a white Bishoop are broken is there a special glue that would be good to use to fix them?

  • Leiah

    Do you sell sepate pieces? Somebody broke two figures of my husband ‘s set.
    How much would you sell a figure?

  • Dear sir/mam
    As we introduce my self.i Sanjay Singh and our company name is Agra Stone Handicraft.and we are based from Agra India.We are manufacturer of all type of marble chopping board cake stand coaster sets bath accessories and all type of decorative items.

    Sanjay Singh
    Agra Stone Handicraft

  • Ibebobe

    I have an old onyx chess set made in Mexico with the chess board cracked/
    broken in the middle. What is the best way to repair?

  • barbara dancer

    we bought a set in the late 1900@s from Venice – the board is broken and needs repair where do I go for this as we live in cornwall

  • barbara dancer

    we need someone to repair onyx/alabaster chess board purchased in Venice in the 1990@s

    • Debbie

      What color are your chess pieces and are you willing to sell any of them? I am missing a pawn and a bishop in my black onyx chess set and I’m looking to replace them. If you’re willing to sell those pieces to me and they match my set (the bishop is 3 inches long and the pawn is 2 inches long and they are a rectangular shape with faces on them). If you’re willing to sell 2 of your pieces and they are similar to mine which I purchased in Mexico about 15 years ago, please email me at [email protected]

  • Marcel Peña

    Ik am looking for a specificaties onyx chess piece, the Queen. It is part of a chess set with White and green/Brown coloured pieces.
    If I send you photos, would you be able to help me find it?


  • Marcel Peña

    Ik am looking for a specificaties onyx chess piece, the Queen. It is part of a chess set with White and green/Brown coloured pieces.
    If I send you photos, would you be able to help me find it?

    Yours sincerely, Marcel Peña

  • Debbie Stevens

    I have a ceramic chess set but the board is wood. Each piece is ceramic and them resin poured over it. Its beautiful but how do I get it across the country in good shape. My son loves to play chess with his 14 yr. old son.

  • Debbie

    I’m looking for a replacement pawn and a replacement bishop in black onyx because those pieces somehow got lost during moving. The bishop is 3 inches long and the pawn is 2 inches long. I would post a picture if I knew how to post them on here. If anyone has those pieces they can/will sell, please email me at [email protected]. My name is Debbie

  • Amazing….I surprised by your post, this is very interesting. I liked that you shared details of stone chess sets such as Marble, Onyx, and More. Thanks a lot.

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