Black onyx is a beautiful gemstone that is used often in jewelry pieces. It is known to have been in existence in ancient Greece and Rome. Black onyx has many uses and a rich history with an ancient myth.


Myth

The Romans believed that the goddess Venus was resting by the Indus River, and while Cupid was clipping Venus’ fingernails, the clippings fell into the river, creating onyx.

Meaning

Onyx is the birthstone for anyone whose birthday falls under the astrological sign of Leo. It’s is also the stone that represents the 10th anniversary of marriage. The literal meaning of onyx is “claw” or “fingernail.” It is a Greek word and was given this name because the onyx mineral veins resemble claws or nails.


Types

Black Onyx is black or has white stripes. The black or brown onyx with stripes is referred to as sardonyx. Some sardonyx can also be reddish with lighter brown or red stripes.

What is it?

Onyx is a stone called chalcedony, which is a type of microcrystalline quartz. It is mined in Brazil, India, California and Uruguay. It has a smooth texture, and is very good for carving.

Historical Uses

It is said that onyx was once worn as a protective stone in battle, or as protection from evil. Another ancient use was to carve the head of the god Mars or Hercules into a figurine for courage.