From ArticleWorld

Like the other variety, sardonyx, whose colored bands are sard, oynx too has white and black bands. Onyx usually displays alternating light and dark shades of colors ranging from brown, red, white, black and grey. It is a semi-precious silica mineral with strips of color. It possesses the same properties as quartz and weighs 7 on Moh's scale. Onyx is often treated to create the abundantly produced agate.

Onyx may be cut into beads or a cabochon and is widely used to make cameos and intaglios, where its layers can be cut to bring about a contrast between the design and its background. During the Renaissance, onyx and sardonyx were attribited a higher price than gold, silver and sapphire because it was believed they had brought the power of eloquence to the great speakers and powerful orators.



The word 'onyx' is derived from the Greek language and means 'veined gem'.

Sources and variety

Onyx is mainly excavated from the mines of India and South America. A popular variation is the carnelian onyx, which has white and red bands.

Cultural and historical usage

Onyx is recognized as an anniversary stone, has Biblical references and is often used in jewelry.

  • Onyx is the anniversary gemstone for the 7th year of marriage.
  • According to Rebbenu Bachya, the word 'Shoham' means 'onyx' and it is seen in the ephod, representing the tribe of Joseph, as mentioned in Exodus.
  • Onyx is an attractive, affordable stone. Often seen on the market, however, are treated agates made to appear as black onyx. Onyx, when combined with pearls, makes beautiful jewelery.

Healing and mystical powers

Onyx is believed to have mystical qualities.

Onyx is used as a strengthener for the kidneys, capillaries, nerves, hair and eyes. This gem is said to release stress, tension and neurological problems.

Onyx is worn to defend against negativity. This stone eliminates negative feelings and is said to sharpen one’s intelligence, control emotional outbursts, regulate passionate feelings and attract spiritual energies.

Black is the absence of all colors. Thus black onyx is used to banish all that is harmful to oneself and symbolises outer space and the universe.

Grey onyx signifies conservatism. It is symbolic of the qualities of modesty, reliability, dignity and maturity.