Onyx: A Gemstone Steeped in History and Magic
There’s something undeniably fascinating about Onyx.
Is it the richness of its colour (typically black, but also sometimes available under the name “sardOnyx” in striped or solid dark/reddish brown, sparkling white or deep red)? Or could it be the bold statement made by this powerful gemstone? Whatever the reason, Onyx has enjoyed popularity for millennia and its status shows no signs of waning any time soon!
If you want more information about this semiprecious type of chalcedony, you’ve come to the right place. Below is all you need to know about Onyx, a terrific way to highlight any necklace, set of earrings, ring, bracelet or other hand-crafted jewelry.
History and Info
The term “Onyx” has Greek origins (meaning “fingernail”, “claw” or “hoof” depending upon the translation), while the term “chalcedony” hails from older Asia Minor roots. As for the gemstone itself, Onyx’s popularity seemed to grow during the height of the Roman Empire. During that time, Onyx was often used to create seals and cameos because of its innate carvability.
Today, deposits of Onyx can be found worldwide, including India, the United States, Australia and South America. Although Onyx is considered a semi-precious stone, those who love it agree that there’s nothing “semi” about it!
Folklore and Legend
From a “mystical” perspective, Onyx is deemed to be the birthstone for December babies. (In contrast, the “traditional” birthstones for that month are blue topaz and turquoise.) Onyx is also the Zodiac birthstone for Leos (those born between July 23 and August 22.)
Many people throughout history have believed (and still believe) that Onyx has regenerative powers, increasing happiness and mastery of one’s fate. In India, it has even been used as a talisman to “cool” passion between lovers who would be better off apart!
Some individuals seeking alternative remedies for their afflictions turn to Onyx to help with bone, heart, kidney, liver, hair, eye, foot, hand and nail conditions by wearing the Onyx close to the intended body part. However, please be aware that we do not recommend using jewelry to take the place of proper medical care.
Caring for Onyx
If you’ve invested in rich-looking (but ultimately affordable!) Onyx jewelry, it’s important to understand how to take care of it. Even though it has a Moh’s scale of hardness rating of 6.5-7, it is still quite delicate in some ways.
Onyx can chip or scratch; consequently, it’s important to treat it with care. Take off any Onyx jewelry when doing physical labour or in the evening. Additionally, be certain that Onyx jewelry isn’t rubbing against other jewelry in your jewelry box or storage unit.
Is Onyx Right for You?
So… is Onyx the right choice for your next jewelry purchase?
Black Onyx in particular has a strong prominence and history in the Art Deco period, a period where contrast and geometrical shapes were the norm, this beautifully glossy gemstone provided exactly those qualities. Onyx lends itself to being cut into straight lined geometrical shapes as well as being polished to a glossy finish which contrasts perfectly with the pave or bead setting most commonly used in the period.
If you are looking for an Art Deco styled piece of jewellery then it is hard to go past Onyx as something to bring the sophistication and contrast that epitomises the period.
If you like necklaces, rings or earrings that make a bold, elegant statement and command attention, you just may find that Onyx is a perfect addition to your jewelry collection!
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