For hundreds of years, onyx has been a highly regarded gemstone. This fascinating gemstone is a variation of layered chalcedony, a form of quartz. Onyx is normally black with a white top layer, but the parallel bands in between may be any color, including brown, white, or grey. Sardonyx, a kind of onyx, is distinguished by its rich reddish-brown color and white stripes. Solid or dark-colored onyx stones with light banding are highly sought after in the jewelry business. The most prominent variation, black onyx, is often a grey chalcedony that has been treated to change its color. Genuine black onyx is quite uncommon.
Onyx is said to have originated with Venus, the goddess of love. Numerous legends assert that Cupid cut Venus’ heavenly fingernails with his arrow and scattered them on the seashore one day while she slept. The gods transformed those scraps into stones to guarantee that no portion of a celestial body perished. While fingernails are not often associated with black, the Greeks used the name “onyx” to refer to all shades of chalcedony, from dark brown to black to fingernail-white. Later on, the Romans limited the use of this name to chalcedony’s black and dark brown tones.
Onyx is mined in a number of locations worldwide, although the United States and Brazil are the primary producers. Madagascar, Yemen, Pakistan, and Uruguay are other important sources.
Onyx is considered to protect and was often worn as a talisman. By absorbing negative energy and easing mental tension, it is said to improve emotional well-being.
Onyx was thought to protect the Persians and Indians from evil. The Romans believed that wearing amulets of sardonyx etched with the figure of Mars, the god of war, would provide them with the fortitude to fight wars. Onyx is reported to be used as a “worry stone” in the Middle East, where it is meant to be massaged between the fingers. This procedure is intended to aid in the resolution of conflicting and uncomfortable emotions.
Durability & Strength
This gemstone has moderate hardness and is suited for the majority of styles of jewelry. It has a Mohs hardness grade of 6.5 to 7, which indicates that it is relatively durable. Additionally, it is durable enough to withstand jewelry cuts that are often reserved for tougher gemstones, like topaz or diamonds. Onyx is malleable enough to be carved into almost any form. Its smooth, wax-like texture lends itself to a wide array of design possibilities.
Onyx has been dyed since ancient times to increase the depth of color and, in particular, to acquire the desirable black colour. Typically, chalcedony is soaked in a sugar solution, which enters the stone via the surface fissures. The stone is subsequently treated with hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, which aids in the carbonization of the sugar deposited in the stone’s top layers. Along with dyeing, onyx is heated to increase color or remove unwanted tints. Even today, these treatments are widely utilized and are proven to yield lasting effects.
This enticing gemstone has been popular for ages, particularly among the Greeks and Romans, and continues to attract even now. The following variables affect the value of onyx.
Onyx may be transparent or completely opaque. This gemstone is most often seen with a black base and a white top coating. Several of its versions include bands of varying colors between these two fundamental layers. As previously stated, Sardonyx has a brown base layer with red color bands. Cornelia onyx has a red foundation, whilst niccolo onyx’s thin top layer renders the black base layer blue or grey. Onyx is also available in solid hues without color bands, with black being the most prized and uncommon kind.
This magnificent gem is almost always devoid of inclusions. A well-polished and shiny surface is suitable for a high-quality onyx stone. Cracks or blemishes on the surface may significantly reduce the price and quality of the item.
Onyx is available in a wide variety of common forms, including rounds, squares, ovals, trillions, and marquises. Due to the presence of stunning bands of color, onyx is commonly cut into cameos, which accentuates the stone’s unique characteristics. Onyx is also faceted and fashioned into cabochons with a glossy finish.
It’s important to realize that the cost of onyx jewelry is often determined by the design, rather than the gemstone itself, which is quite inexpensive. While bigger chunks of this gemstone will cost more, the setting and design will still play a significant role in determining the value.
Instructions for Use
Though onyx is a highly durable gemstone, adequate care is essential to maintain its beauty and lifespan. The following methods can assist you in maintaining your onyx jewelry:
Keep your onyx jewelry out of the way while participating in rigorous activities such as sports, exercise, or cleaning to prevent scratches and dents.
Separate this gemstone from other jewelry components.
To clean your onyx jewelry, use a mild soap water solution and a soft-bristle brush.
A damp cloth is also an effective technique to remove any dirt that has collected on this gemstone.
Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners or other chemicals on the stone as they may cause discoloration.
To keep your onyx jewelry, use a fabric-lined box or a soft cloth.