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Onyx (black onyx)

Onyx (black onyx)

Etymology and history

Onyx gem’s name comes from the Greek word onyx, which means fingernail or claw. Legend says that one day while Venus was sleeping Eros/Cupid cut her fingernails and left the clippings scattered on the ground. Because no part of a heavenly body can die, the gods turned them into stone which later became known as onyx. In Greek times, almost all colors of Onyx from fingernail white to dark brown and black were called onyx. Later, the Romans narrowed the term to refer to black and dark brown colors only.

Onyx description

Onyx is a beautiful type of quartz that comes in a variety of colors. Onyx which is reddish brown and white is known as sardonyx. Onyx is part of the chalcedony family of colored quartz, which includes agate, cornelian and jasper. The striking black and crisp lines of onyx makes it especially popular for jewelry. Because the lines can form in many different ways, each piece of onyx has a unique appearance. Onyx is also popular for cameos - when an image is carved into onyx, the color of the next band shows through. Onyx is opaque, meaning no light shines through it. Therefore, it is usually cut into a smooth, rounded, polished dome called a cabochon. Today when we think of onyx we often preface the word with “black” to distinguish it from other varieties of onyx that come in white, reddish brown, green, brown and banded colors. Onyx which is reddish brown and white is known as sardonyx.

Onyx in jewelry

The black onyx jewelry is pretty amazing for everybody as the black variety of onyx can be matched with every outfit and on every occasion, no matter the colors of the clothes. So, onyx jewels are suitable for everyone, both from a spiritual and aesthetic point of view. All that things, is important for the people to feel good wearing beautiful items of black onyx jewelry.


Onyx is mined in Brazil, India, California and Uruguay.

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