Onyx is especially beautiful in rings, pendants, bracelets and broaches. What you probably didn’t know is that all onyx is not black. It also comes in brown, white and red.
Onyx is a mineral, like marble, granite or quartzite. It is part of the quartz mineral group and is a layered stone. Some of its layers may contrast. You may see an onyx in black and white parallel layers or in brown and white layers called sardonyx. Another type of onyx is the carnelian onyx that is composed of red and white layers.
Other Onyx Characteristics
Onyx has a Mohs scale hardness reading of 6.5 to 7, and it possesses a smooth, wax-like luster. Onyx is often used as the background of a cameo broach, pendant or ring.
Most onyx is dyed to make its color uniform. It is also heat treated to bring out its color intensity. These two enhancements do not lower its value. All onyx jewelry is relatively inexpensive. The metal it is set in will cost more than the actual onyx stone itself.
Locations Where Onyx Can Be Found
Onyx is only found in three places: Mexico, Arizona and Algeria. In Mexico, onyx is mined in Chihuahua, Puebla and Oaxaca. Arizona onyx mines are in Prescott, Mayer and Ash Fork. Algeria has one onyx mine, and it is located in Ain Tekbalet.
The word ‘onyx’ is a Greek word that means a claw nail or a human fingernail. The legend is that while Venus slept, Cupid clipped her fingernails and left the cuttings scattered on the ground around her. Since Venus was a goddess, she would never succumb to death because none of her body could die. So the gods turned the nail clippings into the stone which later became known as onyx.
Onyx is considered the mystical birthstone of December. It is also the stone for the Leo Zodiac sign. Onyx is supposed to be given on the seventh and tenth wedding anniversaries. Mystics and holistic healers believe that Onyx increases regeneration, intuition, instincts and happiness. It is supposed to increase sexual desire and aid in changing bad habits.
More Mystical Uses of Onyx
In the Middle East, Onyx is used as a worry stone that people rub between fingers. It is thought to help overcome the roller coaster of conflicting emotions. Some people believe Onyx helps a person recover from a past relationship or an unrequited love. It is also supposed to help you to take charge of your fate, guard against negativity; it aids in disagreements and removes excess energy. Onyx is associated with the planet Saturn.
Black onyx is supposed to increase stamina, help in childbirth, control temper, and strengthen the heart, capillaries, nails, eyes, hair, skin, nerves and kidneys. In India, Hindus use onyx to ward off the “evil eye.” Some believe that wearing onyx sharpens the wits and absorbs and blunts emotional intensity. It is used by people who claim to have psychic powers and is able to protect the user from harmful spells. Some people in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers carry around onyx stones for strength and self-control.
Settings for Onyx
Black onyx can be set in silver, white gold and yellow gold. Each metal accentuates this mineral stone beautifully. Sardonyx, which is brown and white layered onyx, looks prettiest in antiqued silver. Carnelian onyx is usually set in more rustic-looking silver and is unusually striking against black or tan fabric. Complete sets of a ring, earrings, a bracelet and pendant accentuate any color of onyx beautifully.
Photo Credit: © Digipic / Fotolia
*Disclaimer: This article is meant to serve only as an illustration of opinions and practices and should not be considered an endorsement of any kind. Any beliefs described here may not necessarily be true. The text above should not be considered a source of medical advice.