While there are quite a few black gemstones like the Obsidian, Hematite, and Spinel, none are as classic or old as Onyx. This is a gemstone that can come in complete black or has variations of bands around the stone in colors of tan, gray or white. The black of the Onyx can also be smokey gray, slate gray, or pure black. Below we will be talking more about this great gem and the history behind it.
Sardonyx vs Onyx vs Others
Chances are if you're looking to purchase Onyx you'll see another very similar term called Sardonyx. This is a variation of the Onyx stone and does have a color variation of red or brownish in either the stone itself or the bands that go around the stone. Often you will hear people referring to Sardonyx as Red Onyx so keep that in mind. The reds and browns vary in hues from brilliant reds to deep dark chocolate browns. If you've ever seen another colored gem outside of black, brown, or red chances are it's been dyed. Green onyx is popular, but it's not a real gem... yet. It's been dyed and is used as a decorative stone.
Sometimes black onyx will also be dyed to simply create a more uniform look. This is a process that has been going on for hundreds of years. A lot of the time honey or sugar will be used to make a solution of sulphuric acid for the gem.
Where Is It Found?
Unlike some of the other gemstones out there, this one comes from several different locations around the world. These include: Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan, USA, India, Brazil, and more.
Most Famous Onyx Gems Available
The onyx has a few famous places in history.
- The Great Cameo of France: This beauty is definitely one to check out - even images online are breathtaking. This onyx cameo dates back to 23 AD. Its carved and has 5 layers of sardonyx and 24 different figures on 3 different levels. You can find this cameo in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
- The Gemma Augustea: The Gemma Augustea also known as the Gem Of Augustus is another amazing cameo. This one is made from Arabian Onyx. Historians think this cameo was designed in 1st century AD. The cameo depicts 12 different figures, and can be seen at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
- The Fabergé Trans-Siberian Railway Egg: Another beautiful piece, this one was created back in 1900 and was created for the Tsar of Russia - Nicholas II. This piece has various materials which include: Onyx, Quartz, Silver, and Gold. You can also check this one out at Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.
Is Onyx Easy To Take Care Of?
When people buy a gem with onyx they might wonder how easy (or hard) it is to take care of. While this gem is strong, you still need to care for it in order to keep it in tip-top condition. Make sure that to clean the gem with a soft cloth and soapy warm water. It is NOT suggested that you use harsh chemicals or methods like ultra-sonic cleaners with this gem. While it is strong, it can be scratched if the other object is just as hard or harder than the Onyx. It's also a good idea to buy a soft cloth pouch or a jewelry box for this gem.