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Tecali de Herrera- Mexico’s hub of all things onyx

One of the amazing pieces of onyx used as a coffee table surface, accompanied by a bowl that looks a bit like Casper the Ghost.

We took a day trip on Saturday to Tecali de Herrera, which I understand to be the hub of onyx (and marble) production in Mexico (or at least one of them). Tecali de Herrera is located about 47 km southeast of Puebla in Puebla state, and it took us a little over 2 hours to get there (with some traffic slowing us down). This was the second small town in Mexico we’ve visited that is known for making all sorts of things with one material (the first being Santa Clara del Cobre in Michoacan that is hub of copper), and it did not disappoint!

Tecali de Herrera is a sleepy little town that we found to be clean, quiet, and laden with sidewalks made of marble & onyx (definitely nonstandard for middle-of-nowhere, Mexico!). It exceeded our expectations by actually having one cool tourist attraction (besides all the onyx shops) that was totally worth seeing: the Ex-Convento de Tecali. I know what you’re thinking– “Seriously, Julie, I think I’ve seen enough churches here in Mexico.” But you’re wrong! This one is much cooler because it is the ruins of a convent– covered with grass, missing ceilings, crumbling stonework, but still offering soaring arches and massive columns. I momentarily felt like I was back in Scotland instead of a dusty pueblo in Mexico. :)

The entrance to the Ex-Convent of Tecali

Note surprising signage in well-written English! A rarity for this neck of the woods. :)

A close up of the massive wooden door that's attempting to still guard the entryway. Apparently the wooden roof was scavenged many moons ago to be used in the building of a bull ring.

A view of the remaining pillars among the grass, surprisingly green for this far into the dry season

Here I am in the center of the ex-convent action

One of the orange trees growing within the inner chambers to the right of the nave.

A view down the zocalo towards the ex-convent entrance

After our 30-peso convent visit, we clucked approvingly at the well-manicured zocalo filled with greenery and began our quest for onyx. John & I have been eyeing a style of floor lamp created out of squares of creamy-colored onyx, and decided we may as well travel to the source in order to save a few pesos. Needless to say, there was no shortage of lamps for us to consider! (As well as anything else you could possibly imagine being made out of onyx.)

Our new lamps! For any regular blog readers, yes, we have officially reached the point of total awkwardness w/r/t how many "groups of three" we have when it comes to Mexican handicrafts. I don't why everything is sold in threes; it just is.

This was just a smattering of the number of floor lamps you can choose from...

If only we had a massive space in our townhouse back in VA awaiting a friggin huge amorphous onyx bowl...

Here’s a list of the stores I got business cards from, where you can purchase all the onyx you could ask for.

  • Mezher’s Onix, Avenida 25 de Agosto #111, Tel. (224) 271.4142, ventas.nacionales@mezhers.com.mx www.mezhers.com.mx (website seems worthless, but store had some very unique pieces)
  • Flores Navarro, Avenida 25 de Agosto y Rafael Cortes, Tel (224) 271.4058, onix_fn@yahoo.com.mx, www.floresnavarro.pue-mx.com (also some unique pieces & prices seemed competitive)
  • Mariam, Avenida Rafael Cortes Oriente #5, Tel. (224) 271.4037, marmolmariam@hotmail.com (prices seemed very competitive & was only place we saw cool onyx cheese plates shaped like cheese)
  • Artesanias Marquez, Avenida Rafael Cortes #6, Tel. (224) 271.4467
  • El Dorado, Carretera Tecali-Tepeace km 1.5, Tel (224) 271.4384, onixneolitico@yahoo.com (located basically across from the Pemex station; they had some cool onyx sinks)
  • Tellez Onix Marmol Diseno, 25 de Agosto #403, Tel (224) 271.4199, tellezonix@prodigy.net.mx, www.onix-tellez.com (this is the largest, most heavily advertised place, and the prices reflect as much. worth visiting to peruse the really large selection & then finding things cheaper elsewhere)

A view of the huge selection inside the Tellez onyx shop

We quickly gathered that anything made of stone that CAN be lit from the inside, WILL be lit from the inside.

Emily reaches for a credit card to buy as many new kitchen counters as we can fit into our car. (ok, not really...but tempting...)

For eats, we were starving by the time we got to Tellez so we ate at Las Bugambilias, which is right next door. However, we also saw a cute place near the Zocalo that looked worth a shot. Bugambilias had traditional Mexican food at reasonable prices (try the enchiladas pipian verdes or the flautas de pollo).

All told, we arrived in Tecali around noon & departed about 5PM after all our tortuous purchasing decisions were made. If you’re interested in making the same day trip from Mexico City, follow the toll road towards Puebla. Stay on the toll road towards Orizaba/Oaxaca as it skirts north of the city of Puebla. You’ll pass a toll booth shortly after Puebla (Caseta de Cobro Amozoc). Keep going until km 155, and you’ll take the exit for Tepeaca as shown in the photo below.

This will be your cue to exit off the Mexico-Oaxaca toll road!

In general, follow the set of blue signs like these:

Our confidence was bolstered by the reaffirming Tecali de Herrera signage.

Once you get into Tepeaca, there is one Y-intersection that’s a little confusing, but in general go towards Tepeaca centro instead of Tehuacan. There is a general map on the Tellez website here. Tecali de Herrera is a bit of a drive for a day trip from Mexico City, but it is certainly doable. Alternatively, it would be a great side venture if you’re in Puebla for a couple days. Happy shopping & convent-viewing!

Those aware of my pork obsession will be impressed that we managed to leave Tecali without the acquisition of even ONE of these many little stone piggies!

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17 Comments on “Tecali de Herrera- Mexico’s hub of all things onyx”

  1. #1 Alice
    on Mar 31st, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Freakin’ amazing! I want an onyx bathtub that illuminates while I take bubble baths.

  2. #2 Irene
    on Apr 1st, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Wow! Just wondering, how much did one of those floor lamps weigh? Or is the stone cut so thin that it doesn’t matter.

  3. #3 Julie
    on Apr 6th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Hi Irene! They’re probably 20-30 pounds, depending on the size. The stone is cut fairly thin, so they aren’t *as* heavy as they look from afar! However, some of the other pieces we were eyeing (like the sinks/tables/etc) definitely fell into the “I have no idea how you would move this” category. :)

  4. #4 All Global Sources
    on Sep 1st, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Hi I’m Luis and I saw ppl intersted in this stones. We are exclusive suppliers of this manfucaturer in Miami Fl. Our warehouse is located on 5515 N.W. 72nd Ave, 33166 Miami. Fl. If someone wishes to see this marvelos pieces live, please contact us. Our phone is 305 889 2814

  5. #5 Arcelia Huacuja
    on Jul 24th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Podrían informarme cuantos kilómetros hay del D.F. a Tepeaca o Tecalli de Herrera, y cuál es el camino más corto gracias.

  6. #6 Alex
    on Sep 27th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Hola .Arcelia , sabes del DF. A tepeaca es como hora y media de camino . Y de Tepaca a Tecali son 15 minutos . En Km . No tengo idea.

  7. #7 antonio gutierres
    on Jan 3rd, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    i have onix in los angeles california if you want to see some in live call me at 8187701612 or email me at maelhf@live have alot of the lamps

  8. #8 Steve Shelley
    on May 8th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    If you liked the arches of the convent you should check out Hacienda Santa Maria Regla. It is spectacular. haciendaderegla.com

  9. #9 carlos
    on May 22nd, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    hola ojala me puedan ayudar necesito saber quien me puede hacer una taza de baño, ya adquiri un lavabo de onix que se ilumina pero pssss no he podido en contrar un sanitario del mismo material ojala me puedan recomendar a alguin y darme un aprox. del precio muchas gracias

  10. #10 maría Elena
    on Jun 25th, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    podrías enviarme modelo de corazones y estrellas de mar como recuerdos para una boda en la playa? el jueves estará una persona en la ciudad de Puebla y quisiera aprovechar para traerlos a Sonora.gracias

  11. #11 Gold Décor Gives Puebla Chapel a Heavenly Glow - All About Puebla
    on Aug 1st, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    [...] from the hands of Lucas Pinto, an Iberian artisan, and the columns were carved of stone from nearby Tecali de Herrera. Multiple saints adorn the walls surrounding the altar: At left are Mary’s husband, St. Joseph, [...]

  12. #12 flores navarro
    on Aug 15th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Con todo gusto, les fabricamos sus muebles para baño, ovalines, recuerdos, arbotantes, lamparas de piso, y todo
    tipo de articulos en onix y marmol, así como preciosas mesas de comedor y cubiertas. info@onixfloresnavarro.com Alberto C.
    escriba y con gusto le cotizamos.

  13. #13 flores navarro
    on Aug 15th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    estamos en Tecali de Herrera, Pue. y somos fabricantes. We speak English. On parle francais.
    info@onixfloresnavarro.com alberto c.

  14. #14 verne
    on Jan 29th, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Jan 29 2013 from La Paz Baja California

    The new Liverool store in La Paz has beauiful things and we enjoyed seeing a fair selection of Tellez-onix pieces. Some lamps vases and bowls. We bought a vase they had a 25% off sale so very good value. We are going to get a LED candle and use it that way.

  15. #15 casper
    on Nov 9th, 2013 at 4:47 am

    i stumbled upon your blog and wanted to reach out and ask you about a very specific type of onyx i am looking for. are you still in mexico?
    are you available to talk through email or phone?

    Thank you
    casper

  16. #16 Didi
    on Jan 23rd, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    The oddly shaped tub in the picture, can you tel me where you saw that piece?

  17. #17 María
    on Aug 9th, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Hello , I traveling to Mexico in a couple of days I was wondering if you can find this sort of lamp in Mx City.. How expensive are they?? I have a friend that lived in Mx and has this lamps at here house in Virginia and feel in love right the moment I saw them…I wonder if u can ship this?? Many thanks

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