Facts About Onyx

by Madhubanti Rudra

The myth that onyx originated from the body part of Venus, known for alluring beauty, justifies the stone’s fine texture and lustrous black colour. Originally onyx is chalcedony quartz, which falls in the microcrystalline category. It is formed in the gas cavities of lava.

Facts About Onyx

The Greek mythological literature is full of fascinating tales which even in this age of computer attracts the young and old alike. It is just mind boggling to revel through the pages of such legends and folklores, depicting the antics of cupids and demons, the accomplishments of the handsome Gods and goddesses and so on. One such interesting story explains the appearance of Onyx on this earth. This story is associated with the Greek icon, Venus. The legend goes like this- one day Venus was asleep when a mischievous cupid cut her fingernails and flew away leaving the finger clips scattered on the ground. Latter by the design of the god, these fingernails were transformed into stone that came to be known to the world as onyx. The name draws its origin from the word, onyx which in Greek language means fingernails. In latter course of history, this stone became famous in the hands of Romans, who crafted beautiful seals out of onyx.

The patterns were cut into negative reliefs which were famously called intaglios. The myth that for this gemstone originated from the body part of Venus, known for alluring beauty, justifies the stone's fine texture and lustrous black color. Originally onyx is chalcedony quartz, which falls in the microcrystalline category. It is formed in the gas cavities of lava. This gemstone is basically a multilayered stone like agates and depending on the different colored layers, onyx can be divided into a few separate categories. Generally, when the stone has a black base and a white upper layer, it is called Onyx. Some onyx displays white and lighter reddish bands or ribbons of silicon di-oxide against a brown background, this variety is known as Sardonyx. When the onyx has a red base, it is known as Cornelian-onyx.

The black onyx, the most popular among all the varieties of onyx actually is grey chalcedony. The rich black color is the result of profuse chemical treatment. In order to bring out the black, the grey stone is saturated with a solution of cobalt chlorate and chlorammonium. Immersion of the stone for a prolonged period in a sugar solution and then heating in sulphuric acid to carbonize the sugar also leave the stone with a brilliant black color. This stone has a moderate hardness ranking 6.5 - 7 on the mhos scale. Its texture makes it ideal for carving and is choice for material lapidary artists.

Although onyx is found worldwide, the most important place of its mining is Brazil. Brazil supplies the best multi-colored untreated chalcedony. In addition to that it also occurs in India, California, U.S.A, Uruguay and Madagascar. Gray chalcedony is found in India and China. If international trends are something to go by, the emphasis on spiritual or mystical aspects of the gemstones have become the latest rage across the globe. The belief is getting increasing strong that chemical structure of the stones have the power to attract different energetic vibration, which can positively affect the mind and body of the wearer. This stone is believed to have many such mystic powers.

These beliefs about the mystic power of onyx vary from country to country. In Middle East, it is associated with the lives and ways of the sorcerers. In India it is believed to calm the ardors of love. The Romans associated it with courage and it is thought to be useful when one is defending him or herself against unfair criticism. In many countries black signifies regeneration and new beginning. So onyx is often prescribed as a healing agent for old emotional wounds and moving ahead by forgetting the past experiences of bad relationship. It is believed to fill the wearer with a gift of eloquence in the time of expressing his or her love for the new romantic interest in life. This is also believed to cure bad habits of the individuals. For absent minded people onyx prove to be very helpful in increasing the concentration level and calming down the mind in the chaotic situations of life. It is also regarded as a helpful tool for growing fingernails hair and skin. Onyx is mystical birth stone for the month of December. It is also the birth stone for the zodiac sign of Leo. It is the alternate birth stone for February and anniversary gemstone for 16th wedding anniversary.

The colored gemstones are in high demand in the international fashion circuit. The colorful jewelries made with multi-colored gemstones have become the hot favorite of the season. Amidst the cluster of bright-colored gems, onyx stands out with its black beauty. Black being one of the basic colors, this stone is hugely used along with light colored gems to bring out the contrasting effect. The richness of the black in onyx is best displayed when teamed with dollops of pearl. Apart from that, necklaces made with onyx beads, or onyx rings surrounded by dazzling diamonds, or simple drops of onyx in earrings are common to make rounds in the leading jewelry stores across the globe. In addition to its beauty, it is the affordable price of the stone, that made it popular among the jewelry lovers around the world.

 
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