A member of the Agate group of Chalcedony’s, which in turn is a sub species/family of Quartz, Onyx is viewed by many as a jet black, highly fashionable gemstone.
In its naturaly state, Onyx, meaning ‘veined gem’, differs from other Agates in that its lines of colour banding (normally black and white) are straighter. When Onyx is pure black it is referred to as “Black Onyx” and owes its distinctive colour to an ancient dyeing process.
In its natural form, this gemstone is available in a variety of colours: white and red bands (Carnelian Onyx), and white and brown bands (Sardonyx).
Roman soldiers wore Sardonyx as talismans, believing that it made the wearer as brave as the heroes they had engraved onto the gem. Onyx is said to eliminate negative thinking and sharpen the wits, instinct, intuition and helps to change one’s habits.
Because of its different colour bands, the gem is ideal for making cameos, where the lighter colour tends to be carved, using the darker colour as the background. It is a well-known member of the Chalcedony group of gems, who in turn belong to the Cryptocrystalline family of Quartz. Some also refer to the gem as “Black Magic”.
Over the past decade the world’s leading jewellery designers, such as Cartier, Chopard and Gucci, have all incorporated Onyx into many of their jewellery and watch designs. Sarah Bennett also uses the gemstone to great effect in many of her bold gemstone designs. Sarah believes that the gem’s true jet blackness provides it with one of the best eye catching lustres in the gem world. I have to agree (well of course I do because she is my wife), that because Onyx is 100% opaque, it does have one of the best lustres in the gem world, a lustre that in my opinion is only bettered by Swiss Marcasite.