There has always been a fascination with onyx. It’s inky blackness has attracted the attention of everybody who saw it. It is reputed to have magic powers, and was used extensively in alchemy. We use it today for some very arresting jewellery.
Onyx – Miscellaneous Facts
Onyx is a semi-precious stone. It is a quartz, like rose quarts and smoky quartz. The Romans mined for it in Algeria. They used the stone for seals, primarily, as it can be carved very well. It is also very hard, and so keeps its shape. Onyx is the birthstone for people born in December. It turns up in marriage traditions – you are supposed to give onyx as a gift in both the seventh and tenth years of marriage. The Victorians used onyx for cameo brooches – these were primarily used for mourning jewellery, due to the colour of the stone.
We get the name Onyx from an ancient Greek word for a human fingernail, or possible a claw. Legend has it that Cupid took it upon himself to cut his mother’s (Venus) fingernails for her while she slept. Gods and Goddesses cannot die, so the nails became stone as they fell to the ground. The onyx has lain there ever since. Think about that the next time you are wearing a pair of onyx earrings. You are technically wearing the fingernails of a Goddess! This legend is why onyx was so sought after for magical uses.
Folk Uses of Onyx
Onyx has many mundane uses outside of jewellery. In the Middle East, people use it as a worry stone. The texture of onyx is very smooth, as you are no doubt aware. Rubbing it between your fingers is supposed to be very soothing. If you have a lot of worries in your life, why not try it?
Hinduism carries the belief that onyx can ward off the evil eye. It is believed that wearing some as jewellery will guard against bad influences. This is also seen in more general magical practices. People who follow these believe that onyx can ward of evil spells.
Onyx is Only Found in Three Places
Onyx isn’t a very common stone. It is only found in three places. It’s found in Mexico, Arizona, and Algeria. Perhaps it is the conditions in those countries that lend itself to the formation of this stone? Algeria only has one onyx mine, so the onyx from there is the most highly prized. Both Arizona and Mexico have three mines each, so their onyx is roughly equivalent in price. Most of the onyx that we mine today is treated to make it darker. This gives us the inky black that we associate with the stone.
It Looks Good All the Time
Onyx looks good set into any metal. The deep black colour sets off any metal. You can wear your Onyx earrings in gold if you want, or in silver. Whatever you do, you are bound to look good. Remember that onyx doesn’t come in simple black. It comes in a variety of shades of brown and red, all of them lovely. You can choose a shade that you like best, in the setting you like best. Think of what onyx in rose gold would look like!