Black, the color of glamour and mystery. From the little black dress to neo-gothic, from Chanel to Rei Kawakubo, black is the style that never goes out of date. Why is black so powerful? As we look through the history, the nature, and the powers of this onyx stone, we will discover the answer.
A long history
Onyx was already popular in ancient Greece and Rome. In fact, archaeologists have discovered uses of red onyx in the Cretan art of the Minoan civilization, especially in the finds of Knossos.
In ancient Egypt, as early as the second dynasty, onyx was used to make bowls and other pottery.
Onyx is also recorded in the Bible, for example, as the product of Hophrax in Genesis, as the stone used by King David to inlay the temple in the Book of Chronicles, and as the decoration for the foundations of the New Jerusalem wall in the Book of Revelation.
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Properties of onyx
Onyx is a variety of chalcedony mixed with opal and cryptocrystalline quartz, often with a flat striped pattern, a hardness of 6.5-7 degrees, a specific gravity of 2.65, and a fairly layered color. It is usually translucent or opaque. Onyx is often used as ornaments. In fact, in ancient burials we can often see bunches of onyx balls.
What color is onyx? Black, white, pale, red, green
Onyx is available in different shades, ranging from white to black. But now the word onyx usually refers to black onyx, which is often used in jewelry, giving the wearer an elegant and dignified look.
Black onyx has a clean color, and may appear gray under certain lights, or even colorful in red, blue and green. This is because even black onyx contains many different pigment ions. It is just that the quantity is very limited so colors would only appear when exposed to certain lights.
In general, black onyx in natural light looks like the ultimate dark night; but under the artificial light, it becomes a colorful world, where we can see patterns of clouds, or tangles of wires that go round and round. Two very different worlds under different conditions.
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Apart from black, there exist other colors too. When used as a high-end interior design material, onyx is usually highly polished to make it more translucent. We can often see onyx in white, brown etc. When used as a relief material, onyx is often pale or white and is sculpted on a background often dyed black for contrast.
Sardonyx is a red variety of onyx that is believed to be one of the most holy stones, often appearing in breastplates of high priests and priestesses. In Roman times high ranking officials used carved Sardonyx to imprint wax emblems on official documents. This was because they noticed the hot wax used for seals did not stick to the stone.
Onyx is not naturally green, but it can be turned green using techniques. Finished green onyx looks very beautiful and lustrous.
Onyx VS agate
Onyx and agate are both varieties of layered chalcedony that differ only in the form of the bands: agate has curved bands and onyx has parallel bands.
Places of origin
The world’s most famous sources of onyx are: China, India, Brazil, Madagascar, the United States, Egypt, Australia, Mexico and other countries.
Mexico, the United States and Namibia produce onyx with lace-like bands, known as “lace agate”. In the United States, Yellowstone Park, Wyoming and Montana also produce “landscape agate”. In China agate distribution is also very wide, almost all provinces, famous production areas are: Yunnan, Heilongjiang Sunke, Liaoning, Hebei, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia and so on.
Onyx meanings and powers
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In ancient times, onyx was known as the “third eye”. In the Middle Ages, It was regarded as the “gemstone to drive away evil spirits”. Persians used onyx to cure epilepsy and even to calm storms.
This black gemstone has a calming effect on the mind, protecting us from nightmares, eliminating unwanted fantasies and wavering thoughts, making it a source of strength and serenity.
That why onyx was one of the favorite stones of Queen Victoria of England. In the old English tradition, midwives used to place onyx next to babies to calm them.
Apart from that, onyx also has health benefits. This precious gemstone is able to relieve stress, relaxes the wearer, and can boost metabolism and blood circulation, which helps to beautify our body. It also strengthens the wearer’s self-confidence and vitality, making him or her look more elegant and beautiful.
Wearing onyx on a regular basis can help relieve our pressure, ease our irritability and make us more relaxed and happy. If you feel stressed about work and life, you can wear onyx. This gemstone is especially suitable for urbanites who lead a stressful life.
In addition, onyx is a purely physical substance. Wearing onyx jewelry is not harmful to the human body at all, making it suitable for most people.
Onyx is also believed to have an endocrine effect. Among all of them, sardonyx has a nourishing effect on the human body and mind. It is said to be able to improve the skin, even out the facial complexion and restore hydration if worn regularly, especially by women.
Ward off evil spirits
Onyx is believed to ward off evil spirits and is often worn as an amulet. If placed under the pillow at bedtime, it is said to be able to calm our mind and improve insomnia. In fact, onyx is a very spiritual gemstone, and the wearer can absorb its spirit by wearing it.
How to make the most of this powerful gemstone?
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We also need to know the precaution for wearing onyx, which is that it needs to be cleaned and purified frequently.
Each crystal has its own unique magnetic properties; for example, onyx is born to ward off evil spirits, and therefore it carries a strong magnetic field, which can absorb a lot of negative energy. As a consequence, such stones have a purifying effect and need to be cleaned from time to time, preferably once a week and with pure water.
How to choose high quality onyx
In general, all high quality onyx should have: an oily luster; a beautiful stripped pattern, naturally pure, smooth and fine; pure colors; good transparency, i.e., translucent; and no cracks or impurities.
Care and maintenance
Firstly, be careful not to bump into hard objects or drop the onyx stone. When not in use, it should be stored in a soft jewelry box. Try to avoid contact with perfume, chemicals, soap or human sweat to prevent erosion and affect the vividness of onyx.
Secondly, it is important to avoid heat sources such as sunlight and stoves, because onyx expands when exposed to heat. The molecular gap would increase and affect the quality of the gemstone. If the onyx stone is constantly exposed to high temperatures, it will crack.
Thirdly, onyx should be wiped clean, and soaked in water occasionally if possible to add moisture. When not wearing such pieces of jewelry, it is best to put it in a dark and humid place, which is close to the original storage environment; otherwise it is easy to lose its artistic and economic values.
Conclusion on the onyx stone
Thank you for reading this article about onyx, I hope it helps you get the information needed. Feel to share your thoughts below or check other articles on gemstones that we have published: Everything you need to know about sapphire.