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Onyx Gemstone Information

OnyxFacts, History and Lore

The name Onyx comes through Latin from the Greek word ὄνυξ, which means 'claw ' or 'fingernail.' Onyx is a banded variety of Chalcedony that can come in nearly any color, (except for purples and blues) but mostly black and white. This stone is found in various regions around the world, but since Onyx is formed in the gas cavities of lava, the primary resources are found in Brazil, Uruguay, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Hawaii, and Madagascar.

Onyx is formed out of bands of Chalcedony in differentiating colors; it is a cryptocrystalline which consists of fine growths of the silica minerals quartz and moganite. It has bands that are parallel to each other, opposed to the more unsymmetrical bands that occur in agates, and its quartz system is hexagonal. Sardonyx is a variety of onyx that possesses colored bands in shades of red, as opposed to black. Black onyx is the most famous variety, but it isn't as common as onyx with colored bands.

Onyx history is rich with use for hard stone carving, due to its 7.0 standing on the Moh's scale, and for use in jewelry, where it is usually cut into a cabochon or beads. It has also been used for cameo-engraved gems, since the layered colors provide the contrast of background with foreground, dating back into ancient history. The ancient Romans actually believed that the first Onyx gemstones were formed from the fingernail trimmings of the goddess; Cupid cut them while she slept and since no part of a god was allowed to perish, the fates turned them into onyx. It was often used in important relics, to ward off bad dreams and encourage good health. Egyptians used Onyx as well, as early as the Second Dynasty, for making bowls and pottery items. In 1930, slabs of onyx were famously used by Mies van der Rohe, a renowned German-American architect,  in the Villa Tugendhat at Brno to create a shimmering semi-translucent interior wall.

The Onyx stone is an enabler of inner strength; it raises one's resistance and persistence to carry unimaginable tasks to completion. It assists in creating focus, memory retention, and attention to detail; Onyx jewelry can be worn to defend oneself against negativity, and also assists in building one's physical strength after it has been diminished by negative properties. As the 'separating stone', wearing Onyx helps one separate from the past, letting go of sorrow and grief, giving them the ability to walk away from an unhappy relationship or situation that has caused them emotional harm.

Metaphysical Properties of Onyx

Enhances persistence and mental stamina
Assists with focus, memory and attention to detail
Defense against negativity
Helps one separate from past, releasing grief