Onyx is a form of chalcedony with banded strips of color that are typically parallel to each other. If the word chalcedony sounds familiar, it’s because bloodstone, carnelian, and jasper (previously featured here) are different forms of it.
Though the color of bands in onyx comes in a huge range of colors including white, purple, and blue, the most common type is the black or black and white variety. Sardonyx is onyx with bands of sard producing various shades of red.
The word onyx comes from the Latin onyx (or onux) meaning “claw” or “fingernail.” The flesh colored onyx is supposed to resemble a fingernail.
History and Lore
- An interesting little factoid is that both black onyx and sardonyx have been artificial treated to produce the black and the reds in their respective stones since ancient times.
- Onyx is considered a strong stone for healing as well as a strong stone for protection.
Famous Onyx and Sardonyx
- The Great Cameo of France: the largest surviving ancient cameo dating to 23 CE, it’s carved from five-layer sardonyx and has twenty-four figures on three levels.
- The Gemma Augustea | Gem of Augustus: a cameo carved from Arabian onyx thought to have been made by Dioscurides, a Roman physician, pharmacologist and botanist or one of his associates in the 1st century CE., it had twelve figures.
- The Fabergé Trans-Siberian Railway Egg: created in 1900 for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and made of onyx, silver, gold, and quartz.
Magical and Mystical Properties include
- promoting a balance between mind and body
- increasing energy
- aiding in promoting comfort with oneself
- promoting healthy eyes, teeth, blood, and bone marrow
- increases stamina
- onyx water relieves skin irritation and sunburns (bathe or dab on skin)
- releasing negative energy
- protection from would-be attackers
- aiding in psychic connections
- aiding in changing habits
- warding off the evil eye
- boosting the immune system
- strengthening the mind
- improving happiness
- bringing stability to relationships
- aiding in communication
This stone should be worn over a long period of time as its power builds slowly. It’s known to increase the power of other stones.
Discharging & Recharging
To discharge onyx, place it under running water once a week. If used for a long period of time, place it in the earth overnight once a month. (In stone therapy, when using stones to heal, their energy is used up, requiring the stones to be recharged.)
This is a reference for fiction writers and should not be taken as medical or spiritual advice.
photo: black agate courtesy of Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0; Gemma Augustea; banded agate all from Wikipedia
series logo image by wikimedia.org, awesome colorization by me!