Sardonyx Facts and Buying Guide

Sardonyx Facts and Buying Guide

by Sheweta Dhanuka

The name Sardonyx is split up into two words viz. “sard” and “onyx”. Sard is Greek word that means “reddish brown” and onyx meaning “veined gem.” Therefore, when the semi precious gemstone onyx consists of reddish brown and white colour bands on its surface then it becomes Sardonyx.

The heart of Romans lies in Sardonyx. This gemstone had always been valued most in Rome. Each and every individual residing in Rome would be seen wearing it in some form. Therefore, it is very obvious that in the entire world highest consumption of this gem is in Italy. This article is written with the aim to provide the readers with necessary know- how about the gemstone. The information includes certain important facts and few buying tips.

Same as the semi precious stone Peridot it is too the birthstone for those born in the month of August. The name Sardonyx is split up into two words viz. “sard” and “onyx”. Sard is Greek word that means “reddish brown” and onyx meaning “veined gem.” Therefore, when the semi precious gemstone onyx consists of reddish brown and white color bands on its surface then it becomes Sardonyx.

It is a form of microcrystalline quartz consisting different colored bands on its basic colour. Basically, it belongs to chalcedony family. It contains tiny quartz fibers in multi layers, deposited one over the other that gives the stone a banded look. The layers are translucent to opaque in nature.

This gemstone is orange-red in color and the colors of bands are white and reddish brown. It is also available in other colors such as yellow, brown, white, purple, gray, black, pink and green. Like different basic colors the bands also occur in different colors viz. gray, black, dark brown etc. An important thing to note about this gem is that the basic colour and colour of the band would always occur in contrast that to naturally. The main colour through which the gemstone is generally identified is orange-red with reddish brown and white bands. Thus, while selecting the gemstone the orange-red colour with reddish brown and white bands should always be preferred.

The colour band can also be referred as striped veins. These veins can appear in varied patterns and in different colours. In fact, no two gemstones would have the same pattern of the band. The patterns and colours of the veins are irregular and occur naturally. Sometimes the band can occur in the circular pattern similar to the pattern of cut tree trunk. While few stones might consist of pattern of straight line in horizontal direction where few lines are thick and rest are very sleek. Similarly many more patterns are found. Irrespective of the pattern of the band, every single gemstone looks amazing.

This beauty with bands is translucent to opaque in nature. It seldom consists of flaws and fractures. It occurs in large sizes. After the essential gemstone processing the carat weight is reduced. We know that with the increase in the carat weight the price of the gem also increases. This gemstone is easily available between 10-5 carat weight. For the jewelry items the carat weight of the stone varies between 5-3 that is priced moderately. For the carving the gemstone with higher carat weight is selected because then the figures or pictures are carved more appropriately.

It can be cut in various shapes and styles like oval, pear, round etc. The most common cut is cabochon. Yet another preferred shape is the shape of the eyes. Many people like this shape because the stone has colored bands in it. Beads of this gemstone are also widely used in necklace and earrings. It is available in all shapes, sizes and wide colour range. The colour of the beads and striped veins would be in contrast as in the gemstone. Beads are very well paired with pearls to create fascinating jewelry pieces.

The most common jewelry items holding this gem are rings, earrings, broaches and pendants. The jewelries can be made of 14K or 18K yellow gold, white gold and sterling silver. For rings the gemstone having the carat weight between 2-4 is ideal and is easily affordable. Same weight is preferred for earrings too while the carat weight rise to more than 6 for pendants, broaches and cameos.

In Rome, most of the females wear intaglios and cameos. It is widely used in the carving of intaglios, cameos, broaches and articrafts. Cameos are the piece of jewelry consisting of carved figures against a different colored background. While Intaglios consists of incised figures on the gemstone against the dark colored layers so that lighter layers are highlighted. Infact, intaglios are the best pieces where the layers are cut creatively to show the colour contrast between the design and background. Carvings from this gemstone had always been in huge demand. This is the reason why it is also called as “ the fancy wallpaper of nature”.

This unique gemstone is available throughout the world. However, the major supplier is India. Few other countries to name are Pakistan, USA, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Africa.

Its wide availability makes it an inexpensive gemstone and favorite of people in every country. The affordable price of the gem enables the gemstone lovers to fulfill their desire of wearing the gemstone in the jewelry. Bright orange red colour with reddish brown and white band is valued most. Rest all other colours costs much less. Natural Sardonyx  irrespective of colour is priced more than that of enhanced gems and imitations.

For the enhancement it is usually dyed or stained to improve the colour. Sometimes the colour is changed completely to give a new colour as wanted. The inferior quality gems are treated with the iron oxide pigment to attain the bright deep orange red colour while carbon is used to create the desired striped veins. Through staining the other semi precious stone known as agate, imitations of this gemstone are produced. Buyer need to cautious of these enhanced gems and imitations while making the purchase of the genuine gemstone. Also to mislead the buyers, the gems are sold under the faulty name as Catalina Sardonyx at the price of the true stone.

It is relatively a hard stone having 6.5 -7 Mohs hardness but still it is necessary to take precautions and care for life long retention. Protect the gemstone from all sorts of strong blows and scratches. Exposure to large temperature changes and harsh chemicals must be avoided. Clean the stone with mild soapy water and wipe it off with a soft cloth. After cleaning, once in a while a dab of olive oil can be used to produce a beautiful shine. Always store it in a jewelry box lined with cotton/soft cloth/velvet. With all these measures the gemstone can look graceful and attractive forever.

This stone brings its wearer quite close to the nature. It helps in building friendship and marital relation stronger. It is also believed to enhance the qualities like stamina, vigor, energy, self-control and creativity thus, referred as “stone of virtue”.

Romans treasure this gemstone quite a lot and reap great benefits wearing it in different form of jewelry. They also associated it with good fortunes. If Sardonyx can bring good fortune and luck to Romans then it can do the same with anyone in the universe. Hence in order to change luck and fortune in your favour,  try wearing this wonderful gemstone!!!