Onyx Stone: Properties, Benefits & Meanings

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Onyx Stone

Onyx Overview

Onyx is a type of Chalcedony, which is a microcrystalline quartz. They have parallel bands of different colors, most commonly black and white.

Onyx Stone is used in jewelry and necklaces in the form of beads and for intaglio and cameos.

This guide will discuss the various properties of Onyx, including its colors, hardness, crystal structure, and meaning. Additionally, this guide will discuss some of the most popular uses for Onyx stone, including jewelry making and decorative carvings.

  • Variety of: Quartz
  • Wearability: Good
  • Symbols: Strength, Protection
  • Color: Black/White
  • Hardness: 6.5-7
  • Birthstone: December
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What is Onyx?

Onyx stone is a type of chalcedony that is a form of microcrystalline quartz with straight, nearly parallel bands or layers of color, allowing skilled gem carvers to cut away material to create cameos and intaglios of extraordinary depth and contrast. Onyx can also be black with white banding in its most common form. It is a variety of chalcedony.

It is known to have a smooth surface with rounded edges and can be carved or inlaid into many objects. In addition, the hardness of Onyx makes it a popular choice for jewelry, especially rings and necklaces, due to its durability against wear and tear.

What kind of rock is Onyx?

Onyx is a rare and exotic stone that can be difficult to find. It’s most commonly found as sedimentary rock, formed from the crystals of stalactites and stalagmites in cave interiors. It also has a different appearance and characteristics to the space, making it an ideal choice for special projects or areas.

Where is Onyx Formed?

Onyx is formed from calcite, which is a type of mineral. It occurs most commonly as stalactites and stalagmites, which are created when water drips and evaporates from the ends of these rocks. However, Onyx can also be found in caves around the world, where it forms as a result of limestone being dissolved by groundwater.

Is Onyx stone A Real Gemstone?

Yes, Onyx stone is a real gemstone that can be found in many different colors and styles. It has a dark, rich look that can be perfect for any jewelry or accessory you may want to create. Onyx is also known as Chalcedony or Banded Chalcedony, and it’s one of the most popular gemstones on the market today.

Most carved items sold as “onyx” today are made of carbonate. Still, artificial onyx types have also been made from common chalcedony and plain agates, according to Pliny the Elder, a first-century naturalist.

Is Onyx A Crystal?

Yes, the Onyx stone is a crystalline mineral that consists of fine intergrowths of the silica minerals quartz and moganite. It is made up of bands of chalcedony in alternating colors.

What Does The Word Onyx Mean (Etymology)?

Onyx is derived from the Greek word “onux,” which translates to “fingernail.” Cupid used it to shave the goddess Venus’ fingernails while she slept. So ONYX means “onyx” (12c), and it comes from Latin onyx (genitive onychis), which was originally Greek onyx “ONYx-stone.”

What are the Physical Properties of Onyx?

The physical properties of Onyx are as follows:

Mineral GroupQuartz
TransparencyTranslucent, Opaque
ColorBlack, White, Red, Blue
Hardness (Mohs scale)6½ – 7
Density2.6 – 2.65 g/cm3 (Measured)  
Refractive Index1.54-1.55
Specific Gravity2.70
Table of Onyx Physical Properties
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Onyx Stone Locations

Where is Onyx found?

Onyx can be found in many countries worldwide, including:

  • Afghanistan
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Madagascar
  • Russia
  • UK
  • USA

What does Onyx look like?

Commonly referred to as chalcedony due to its layered bands of black and white minerals, Onyx stones vary significantly in size and shape. Some are smooth, while others have banding or other patterns.

Most people associate Onyx with a jet-black color with contrasting white layered bands, but the Onyx stone can also be found in brown, red, and white variations.

How to Say Onyx?

Onyx /ˈɒn.ɪks/ is pronounced as ‘ON-IKS.’

What Color is Onyx?

Onyx is a pretty stone that comes in various colors, with each color variation featuring its unique veining patterns and some of the lighter color varieties slightly translucent. Its most popular color, black, is due to the deep black veins that run throughout it. In addition to its primary color, Onyx stone can also be found in browns, whites, blues, grays, oranges (sometimes with red veins), and even white.

Onyx stones are primarily known for their deep black coloring but can also be dyed in pleasing blue shades, crisp greens, and bright pinks.

Types of Onyx

  1. Sardonyx: Sardonyx is usually flat banded and has a brown base with color bands in shades of red. It has alternating layers of Sard and Onyx. It is a relatively common and affordable variety of Onyx.
  2. Cornelian Onyx: This variety of Onyx has a red base with lighter color bands. Cornelian or carnelian onyx displays alternating red and white bands that look highly appealing.
  3. Niccolo Onyx: Niccolo onyx stone has a very thin upper layer. It allows the black base layer’s color to be seen as gray or blue.
  4. Blue Onyx: The blue onyx stone variety includes onyx gemstones dyed in different shades of blue. These gems may be banded or without bands. Banded blue Onyx usually features white stripes. Moreover, blue Onyx is also referred to as the ‘Stone of Sobriety.’
  5. Black Onyx: There are certain black onyx stone varieties where the stone has a single color and no color banding. Black Onyx, the most popular type of Onyx, belongs to this category. However, a solid black onyx stone is rarely found in nature. Usually, a gray chalcedony undergoes treatment and is turned into a black onyx.
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Sardonyx Necklace
Sardonyx Necklace

Onyx Value and Price

The price of a black onyx ring is determined by various factors, such as the number of accessories available and vintage or antique pieces with Onyx. When the value increases dramatically, some fine mixed gemstone pieces become pretty valuable.

Onyx is a simple gemstone that can be used in any budget, as well as for costume jewelry and large statement pieces. It pairs well with expensive materials such as the diamond and gold of this ring.

Onyx Geode
Onyx Geode

Onyx Price per Carat

The average market price for a natural black Onyx stone is $40/carat, while synthetic black Onyx costs about $6.

A low-quality small black onyx stone might cost up to $5/carat, while a high-quality large black one could cost up to $40/carat or more.

How Can You Tell If Onyx Is Real?

The overall appearance of the stone can be used to determine whether black Onyx is genuine or if it is a fake piece. An authentic piece of black Onyx stone will have a waxy luster and opaque transparency and may appear glossy when polished. One way to check if the Onyx is genuine is to conduct a heat test.

  • Touch the stone to your skin or a relatively hotter part of your body. If it gives a cool sensation to your skin, it’s a real stone. If it instead warms up from your body heat, it’s plastic or synthetic.
  • Another type of heat test is to check how the stone reacts to a higher amount of heat. The melting point of black Onyx stone is more than 1000 degrees, which is flame-resistant. So, hold the stone over a candle flame or a lighter and see what happens. If it melts or changes shape, it’s plastic black Onyx stone. If it doesn’t, it could be genuine black Onyx—it might still be a different black gemstone.

What Does Onyx Symbolize?

  • Onyx stones have a long history as symbols of good luck and protection.
  • Black Onyx stone is especially favored for this purpose because it absorbs negative energy.
  • Onyx stone is a popular choice for jewelry because of its many positive associations.
  • Black Onyx stone is known as el-jaza, or “sadness,” due to its connection with bad luck.
  • However, it also has solid healing properties and is thought to increase regeneration, happiness, intuition, and instincts and reduce sexual desire.
  • In the Middle East, it was referred to as the “worry stone.”
Onyx stone ring
Onyx stone ring

Onyx Uses

Use As jewelry

Onyx stone has a long history of being used for hardstone carving and jewelry, where it is usually cut into beads. Still, it has also been used for intaglio and hardstone cameo engraved gems, in which the bands contrast the image with the ground.

Spiritual Use

Onyx is considered a powerful stone that can help activate your root, solar plexus, and third eye chakras to protect against negativity. Additionally, black onyx crystals can be used for grounding and shielding yourself from negative energies while aiding in goal completion.

Which Birthstone is Onyx?

Onyx is Leo’s astrological birthstone and the mystical birthstone for December. However, green onyx is considered to be closely linked to the month of May and can substitute for Emerald in a pinch.

Which Chakra Is Onyx Linked To?

The Onyx stone is linked to your Third eye Chakra and activates your root and solar plexus. It transmits powerful vibrations of protection, willpower, focus, and strength. Many believe it is there to drive motivation and to push you forward in life continuously.

Black Onyx stone is also connected to the root chakra, providing grounding energy to keep you connected to the earth beneath your feet. It is one of the most important chakras because it invites excess energy to be released from the body.

Where should Onyx be placed?

You can create a Zen-like temple of mental rest and repose by placing it in your favorite space, and those big protective vibes also make it a great stone.

In Feng Shui, to create a grid, place a piece of black Onyx stone at each corner of your room or under each corner of your bed.

What does the Bible say about the Onyx stone?

Onyx is mentioned 11 times in the Holy Bible. It is first mentioned in the Book of Genesis: “And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone” (2:12). It is mentioned seven times in the Book of Exodus, where the Onyx is embedded in the breastplate and the ephod of the priests of Israel.

The ephod was a piece of clothing worn by the priests of Israel. King David had danced before the Ark of the Covenant wearing an ephod. The breastplate was decorated with jewels like the Onyx and worn by the High Priest in the Holy Place inside the Temple. The Onyx was placed on the fourth row of the breastplate, along with a beryl stone and jasper, and they were encased in gold. 

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How to Clean Onyx Jewelry
How to Clean Onyx Jewelry

How to Clean Onyx Jewelry

The main cleaning ingredient for onyx jewelry will be soap and warm water. Follow these simple steps to clean your jewelry. 

  1. First, soak the jewelry in soapy water for a few hours.
  2. Avoid using detergents, boiling water, or steam cleaners.
  3. Then take it out of the warm solution and wipe it down with a cloth.
  4. Use a soft cloth such as one made from microfiber instead of cotton so that no lint is left behind.
  5. If any dirt persists, use a soft toothbrush to rub it off. 
  6. Afterward, it would be best if you also cleansed the jewelry by burning sage over it. If you have Agate, you can use that as well.
  7. Using a strong jet of lukewarm water can charge the Onyx stones in your jewelry.
Raw Onyx
Raw Onyx


Is Onyx heat-treated?

Yes, Onyx is heat-treated to bring out its natural color. Most onyx is dyed to make a uniform pattern.

Is Onyx soft or hard?

It has a ranking of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, making it a relatively hard gemstone.

Is Onyx opaque?

Most members of the Quartz family are translucent, but Onyx goes against the trend. It is either wholly opaque or slightly transparent.

Is Onyx porous?

Like all natural stones, Onyx countertops are porous. So if water on any liquid is spilled on it, it is advisable to wipe it off.

Is Onyx translucent?

Onyx stone is translucent and usually comes in various colors such as honey, green and red. It can be polished or honed to a high gloss.

Is Onyx sedimentary?

Yes, Onyx is a sedimentary rock formed as stalactites and stalagmites in cave interiors. This type of formation results in the cryptocrystalline construction of the rock fabric.

Can you get onyx wet?

Don’t wet or soak the stone in water, as onyx is porous and quickly absorbs liquids. Instead, after the cleaning, dry the stone with a soft cloth.

Is onyx a crystal?

Onyx stone is formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colors. It is cryptocrystalline, consisting of fine intergrowths of quartz and moganite silica minerals.

What finger should you wear onyx On?

It completely depends on your style preference. However, we recommend flaunting your black onyx ring on either the index or middle finger. It is because it’s normal to find black onyx rings in large sizes.

How do you tell if black onyx is genuine?

Pay attention to the stone’s overall appearance to tell if the black onyx is genuine. An authentic piece of black onyx stone will exhibit a waxy luster, have opaque transparency, and may appear glossy when polished, while a fake piece of black onyx will appear shiny.
Check your black onyx for parallel bands.
Even if it appears to be a solid color, you may still be able to see some parallel bands running through the stone. If it has bands, it’s probably real black onyx. It could be fake if it seems uniformly smooth or has molding elements.

What does raw black onyx look like?

Natural black onyx is usually not completely black. It can appear brown/greyish and sometimes dark green when found in its natural state. But it appears black because it’s so deep in color and opaque.

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