Most people think of onyx as a black gemstone, but this is actually misleading, in two ways. In the gemological world, the term onyx refers to layered stones that exhibit different colors in multiple layers. Usually this material is cut from agates or other chalcedonies with even parallel layers, usually with a lighter layer above a darker one.

Onyx may be a multilayered black and white stone, usually with a black base and a white upper layer. But it may also be brown and white, as in sardonyx; or red and white as in carnelian onyx. These types of onyx were traditionally used in gem carving and engraving, where the multiple layers in the stone could be used to produce interesting effects. Well known types of engravings include intaglio, where a negative image is created; and cameo, a raised relief.

What then is the black gemstone commonly known today as onyx? Usually it is agate or chalcedony which has been dyed to make it a uniform black color. It is usually cut as cabochons or beads, though more recently it has been faceted as well.


Name -The word “onyx” is derived from Greek, and means ‘veined gem’. Indian name of this stone is Onyx only. 

Properties
SG – 2.61, RI – 1.53 – 1.54, Hardness – 7 

Onyx is a striped, semiprecious variety of the silica mineral agate. 

Formation –Found worldwide, they are formed by the deposition of silica in gas cavities in lavas, which results in the distinctive bands.

The gemstone Onyx is formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colours. The term chalcedony comes from Calcedon or Calchedon, an ancient port on the sea of Marmara in Asia Minor. Onyx is the Greek word for ‘claw’ or ‘fingernail’. There is a very interesting myth associated with the origin of this gemstone. It is said that once Goddess Venus was resting on the banks of the Indus river. As she slept, Cupid used the point of one of his enchanted arrows to give her a manicure. The parings of her nails then fell into the sacred river. Since the nails were of heavenly origin, they sank to the river bottom and metamorphosed into onyx. 

It is known to be the birthstone of the people with the Zodiac Sign Leo and it is also considered as the anniversary gemstone, to be gifted on the 7th year of marriage. Onyx seals were very popular with the Romans. Commonly, this gemstone contains bands of black and/or white. Sardonyx is a variant in which the coloured bands are in shades of red rather than black. Black is perhaps the most famous variety of this gemstone, but is not as common as the coloured varieties. 

Advantages of wearing an Onyx –

  • Brings spiritual inspiration.
  • Helps keep emotions under control.
  • Eliminates negative thinking.
  • Eliminates apathy, stress and neurological disorders.
  • Sharpens wit and thinking, and makes a person witty.
  • Used as a heart, kidney, nerve, capillary, hair, eye and nail strengthener.


Onyx is a protective gemstone, which was used in ancient times for protection when facing enemies in battles. Indians and Persians believed that wearing it protected them from the evil eye. They also believed that placing this gemstone on the stomach of a pregnant woman in labour could reduce labour pain and facilitate earlier delivery. It is also used as a defence against negativity. It is also said to reduce uncontrollable sexual impulses. Due to the close inter twining of the layers of black and white in this gemstone, which form a contrast, it is also associated with romance. 

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Onyx in Astrology is also used as a protective measure for keeping the relationship between the husband and the wife harmonious and for reducing marital disturbances. Black onyx is attributed with a slow, grounding and stable frequency. It is said to bestow on its wearer the energy of strong support, stamina and determination. It also encourages the wearer to rely on his or her own powers and their inner voice. 

According to an ancient magic lore, this gemstone was thought to be the manifestation of a demon imprisoned in a stone. This demon would awake in the night and spread terror and nightmares within its range of influence. However, this gemstone is actually used as a protection against black magic. Also, according to the ancient lore, onyx will retain memory of the physical occurrences surrounding a person. Hence, it has a great deal of use in psychic work as it tells the story of the wearer. 

In the present times, onyx is also commonly used for ornamental jewellery. Due to the fact that it provides a great and an attractive black backdrop, many colours go well with it. Hence, it is used in different types of jewellery such as gold, silver, platinum or white gold. Its fine texture also makes it ideal for carving, making it a favoured material for today’s lapidaries. Thus, it has a variety of uses and its affordable price makes it attractive to connoisseurs of gemstones. 

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Fancy Fact – Onyx seals were very popular with Romans, who carved the pattern of the seal in negative relief to give a raised print. And, it is said to bring you luck, if you gift it your spouse on your 7th Marriage Anniversary.





















Onyx 

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