Black onyx

Black Onyx: A Fascinating Gemstone with a Rich History and Symbolism

Step into the world of black onyx, a captivating gemstone with a fascinating past and symbolic significance that spans cultures and centuries. From its geological origins to its role in ancient mythology and modern-day jewelry, this article delves deep into the many facets of black onyx. 

Whether you’re a gemstone enthusiast or simply curious about this striking stone, join us on a journey to uncover black onyx’s history, symbolism, and cultural significance.

The History and Mythology of Black Onyx 

The history and mythology surrounding black onyx are truly fascinating. The gemstone has a long and storied past and has been used for various purposes throughout history.

In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans believed that black onyx stone held powerful properties that could bring protection and good fortune to its wearer. What is onyx stone used for? It was commonly used to create amulets and talismans, which were thought to ward off negative energy and provide strength and stability. Similarly, during the Medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe, black onyx was believed to have healing properties and was used to treat various ailments such as epilepsy and melancholy.

Venus Marina, Cupid at Her Side
Benedetto Pistrucci’s “Venus Marina, Cupid at Her Side,” onyx cameo in a gold frame. (Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Aside from its practical uses, black onyx also played a significant role in mythology and folklore. The ancient Greeks believed that the gemstone was formed from the fingernails of the goddess Venus, which is why it is called onyx, which means fingernail or claw in Greek. On the other hand, the Romans associated it with Mars, the god of war. In Hindu mythology, black onyx is linked with the planet Saturn, and is believed to have a calming effect on the mind.

Today, black onyx continues to be highly valued for its spiritual significance and beauty. It is often used in jewelry making and is particularly popular in men’s jewelry due to its bold and masculine appearance. Whether you wear it for its mystical properties or simply because you appreciate its striking aesthetic, black onyx is a gemstone with a rich history and mythology that has captivated people for centuries.

The Geology of Black Onyx 

The geology of black onyx is a fascinating aspect of this gemstone that contributes to its unique beauty and appeal. As mentioned earlier, black onyx is a variety of chalcedony, a mineral in the quartz family. Chalcedony is formed from the deposition of silica in volcanic rock cavities, and as a result, black onyx is typically found in volcanic regions around the world.

One of the most well-known sources of black onyx is Brazil, where it is found in abundance. Other countries known for producing high-quality black onyx include Uruguay, India, and the United States. In the United States, black onyx is commonly found in the southwestern states, particularly Arizona and New Mexico.

Tumbled black onyx stones
Considered healing crystals, black onyx is said to offer protection, encouragement, and strength.

The striking black color of black onyx is due to the presence of iron and other trace elements in the silica deposits. In its natural state, black onyx may appear dull or gray, but it can be enhanced through dyeing or heat treatment to achieve a deeper, more uniform black color. What is black onyx good for? Once polished, black onyx has a smooth, glossy surface, making it a popular choice for jewelry and decorative objects.

The geology of black onyx not only contributes to its beauty but also its durability. Is black onyx a strong stone? With a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs scale, black onyx is a relatively hard and durable gemstone that can withstand daily wear and tear. It is also relatively easy to care for, requiring only occasional cleaning and polishing to maintain its lustrous appearance.

The Healing Properties of Black Onyx 

The purported healing properties of black onyx have been attributed to the stone’s unique composition and color. It is believed that wearing or carrying black onyx can have a calming effect on the mind and body, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. The stone is also thought to promote emotional balance and help alleviate sadness or grief.

In addition to its emotional benefits, black onyx is also said to have physical healing properties. It is believed to help boost the immune system, improve digestion, and support healthy skin, nails, and hair. Some healers also use black onyx to alleviate chronic pain and treat conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

In the metaphysical realm, black onyx spiritual meaning is considered a powerful protective stone. It is believed to shield the wearer from negative energy and protect against psychic attacks. Some people also use black onyx to enhance their intuition and spiritual awareness and to connect with their inner wisdom and higher self.

While there is no scientific evidence to support the healing properties of black onyx, many people still believe in its ability to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Whether worn as jewelry or used in healing practices, black onyx remains popular for those seeking its alleged benefits.

The Symbolism of Black Onyx in Jewelry

What does black onyx symbolize? The gemstone has a significant place in history as it was commonly used for talismans and amulets in ancient times. Considered to bring good luck, the onyx’s black color of the stone was believed to offer protection and ward off negative energy.

Men's black onyx bracelet
Men’s black onyx bead bracelet’ silver bead.’

In addition to its protective qualities, black onyx is associated with strength and grounding. It is said to provide stability during times of stress and difficulty. This symbolism has made black onyx popular for men’s jewelry, particularly in signet rings and cufflinks.

Aside from its physical and emotional benefits, black onyx is believed to enhance intuition and promote good judgment. This makes it a popular choice for people in the creative industry, such as writers and artists, who rely on their intuition to make decisions. It is also commonly used in meditation to help quiet the mind and enhance focus.

In contemporary jewelry design, black onyx is often used in minimalist and modernist pieces. Its striking black color and smooth surface make it an excellent choice for statement pieces, such as popular pendants and earrings. Black onyx can also be paired with other gemstones to create a unique and eye-catching contrast, such as diamond-black onyx pendants and sapphire-black onyx rings.

Black Onyx in Art and Culture

Black onyx has been a favored material for artists and artisans throughout history due to its rich, dark color and smooth texture. It was often carved into cameos and intaglios, intricate designs etched into the gemstone’s surface in ancient times. 

The Greeks and Romans were particularly fond of black onyx for this purpose, and many surviving examples can be found in museums around the world. During the Renaissance, black onyx was used in decorative arts, such as cabinets and vases, often combined with other precious stones and metals.

Today, black onyx continues to inspire artists and designers in many different mediums. In contemporary sculpture, it is used for its dramatic effect and contrast to lighter materials such as marble or bronze. Black onyx is also often used in architecture and interior design, particularly for flooring and accent walls.

Women's black onyx ring
An oval black onyx cabochon ring in polished sterling silver believed to offer protection to the wearer.

In the fashion world, black onyx jewelry remains a popular choice for both men’s and women’s accessories, often paired with silver or gold for a classic look. Black onyx has even made its way into popular culture, appearing in films, television shows, and music videos, including the hit series “Black Mirror.”

Black onyx is popular, being the seventh anniversary stone and birthstone for July. Known to represent general happiness and prosperity, this stone is believed to assist individuals during challenging periods and reverse unfavorable career patterns. It is also known to repel negative energy, restore confidence in love and life, and facilitate moving on after a breakup.

Beyond its use in art and culture, the black onyx meaning is also quite profound. It has been associated with protection, strength, and grounding, making it a popular choice for those seeking to cultivate these qualities. 

In some spiritual traditions, black onyx is believed to have the power to absorb and transform negative energy, making it an important tool for those seeking to protect themselves from harm. Black onyx’s enduring popularity is a testament to its beauty, versatility, and symbolic significance.

Black Onyx in Spiritual Practices

Black onyx is significant in spiritual practices, making it more than just a beautiful gemstone. In Hinduism, black onyx is associated with the root chakra, representing grounding, stability, and balance. It is believed to help connect the wearer to the earth and provide a sense of security. 

In Buddhist traditions, black onyx is used in meditation to aid concentration and focus. It is believed to help overcome negative emotions and encourage positive thinking. In some African cultures, black onyx is used in divination and as a protective talisman.

Contemporary spiritual practices have also adopted the use of black onyx. It is often used in rituals and ceremonies for its grounding and protective properties. Some people use black onyx in crystal healing, believing it can help alleviate physical ailments and emotional imbalances. It is also used in Reiki, a Japanese form of energy healing, to promote focus and concentration.

Furthermore, black onyx is also used in feng shui, a Chinese philosophical system that aims to harmonize individuals with their environment. In feng shui, black onyx is associated with the water element and is believed to bring balance and harmony to a space. It is often used in areas related to career and wealth, as it is thought to attract abundance and prosperity.

In Native American spirituality, black onyx is associated with the earth and is believed to provide a connection to the natural world. It is often used in healing ceremonies and is thought to promote strength and resilience. Some Native American tribes also use black onyx as a symbol of protection and courage.

Along with the other black stones, the use of black onyx in spiritual practices is varied and diverse, reflecting the many different cultures and traditions that value its properties. Whether used for grounding and balance, as a tool for meditation and concentration, or as a symbol of protection and courage, black onyx continues to play an important role in spiritual practices around the world.

Benefits of black onyx
The known benefits of the black onyx gemstone.

Where to Buy Black Onyx?

Black onyx can be purchased from various sources, including jewelry stores, gemstone dealers, and online retailers. When buying black onyx, it is important to purchase from a reputable seller to ensure that the gemstone is of high quality and has not been treated or enhanced.

One option for purchasing black onyx is through a jewelry store. Many jewelers carry black onyx jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Jewelry stores can offer a wide selection of black onyx pieces in various styles and price points.

Another option for purchasing black onyx is through a gemstone dealer. Gemstone dealers specialize in selling loose gemstones, including black onyx. They can provide information about the quality and characteristics of the gemstone and may have a wider selection than a jewelry store.

Nowadays, online stores are among the best places to buy this gemstone. Online retailers often offer a more comprehensive selection of black onyx jewelry and loose gemstones and may offer more competitive prices. However, it is important to purchase from a reputable online retailer and to carefully review product descriptions and customer reviews before making a purchase.

When purchasing black onyx, it is crucial to consider factors such as quality, color, and size. Black onyx can vary in quality and may have visible flaws or inclusions. The color of black onyx can also vary, with some stones having a deep black color while others may have a grayish tint. 

Unveiling the Mystique of Black Onyx: A Gemstone of Beauty and Symbolism

Black onyx, a gemstone with a captivating history and symbolic significance, has been cherished for centuries. From ancient times to the modern day, this mesmerizing stone has been worn for its physical and spiritual properties, making it a sought-after choice in the world of jewelry and art. Like its black diamond counterpart, black onyx’s striking black color, smooth texture, and unique properties make it a must-have in any jewelry collection.

The use of black onyx in spiritual practices around the world adds to its mystique and allure, making it an intriguing gemstone to explore. From its association with protection, strength, and endurance to its link with the chakras, black onyx remains a captivating, beautiful, and symbolic gemstone.

If you got captivated by this enthralling post about black onyx, you’ll surely love reading “What Are The Top Black Gemstones and Why People Love Them.”