Onyx stone and its properties

The stone of the leaders and fighters, a symbol of peace and fun, a stone of sorrow and despondency - different peoples called onyx differently and ambiguously treated this stone. His fragments can be found in Jerusalem's temples and imperial tombs, Hittite divine sculptures and magical attributes.

  • Contents of the stone:
    • Description of the mineral
    • Description of the mineral
    • Chemical composition and physical properties of the stone
    • Onyx varieties
    • Onyx deposits
    • Mineral properties
    • Onyx magic properties
    • Onyx and zodiac signs
    • Application of the stone
    • Interesting facts about the stone
    • How to distinguish the natural onyx from the forgery
    • Photographs of the onyx stone and its products

    History of the stone

    The history of mining and use of onyx as an excellent facing and ornamental stonewas still in Ancient Egypt.


    Valued the mineral in other countries of the world.

    • In Assyria and Babylon it was used for inlaying and interior decoration, making panels and mosaics.
    • Ancient Jews valued onyx for its light permeability and used to build temples, creating with its help a pleasant twilight.
    • In the East, onyx was attributed to magical properties and believed that a person who wears a ring with an onyx insertion is not afraid of magic spells or evil eye.


    • As an amulet used products from onyx and in ancient Rome.
    • In India, white onyx was a symbol of peace and fun. In this country in ancient times, amulets were made from it, and believed that it could save neighbors from strife.
    • Armenians and Georgians favored onyx, claiming that only a clean and sinless person can find it.
    • In Asian countries, on the contrary, onyx, especially its varieties of black, was considered a symbol of sadness and despondency. Such stones were tiled here with the tombs of the emperors.
    • In Ancient China before onyx was experiencing a superstitious fear. The onyx and the Yemeni people were afraid of it, in whom he was associated with the eyes of a dead woman.
    • Eyes personified onyx and the inhabitants of the Asian New Quetta state, which existed in the Bronze Age. Hittites used a stone in the construction of their divine sculptures, inserting them into the eye sockets in the form of cabochons.
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    Description of mineral

    Onyx belongs to agate, and according to jewelry classification - to ornamental stones of the third class. Its decorativeness is estimated by such features as color, translucency, pattern feature and polishability.

    The color of onyx varies from light bog to yellow-brown, and the main distinguishing feature of the mineral is the presence on its surface of parallel strips of dark red, white, gray or black. The more subtle and elegant these strips are, the higher the price of the stone.

    The name of the gem has ancient Greek roots and comes from the word "onychon"( ὄνυξ), which translates as "nail."This name onyx received for its external similarity to the human nail.

    According to the ancient Greek legend, this stone appeared from a piece of Aphrodite's nail. The miraculous transformation of the nail of the beautiful goddess into stone happened due to the imprudence of her son Eros, who caught her finger on the tip of the arrow.

    In the old days, onyx was also called "onychium".There are other names of the mineral: chalcedony-onyx, eastern alabaster, sardonyx, Egyptian alabaster, Gibraltar stone, onyx cave, carneliolics, onyx alabaster, onyx Mexican.

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    Chemical composition and physical properties of stone

    By its chemical composition, onyx is silicon dioxide. It is a dense sedimentary rock, a fibrous chalcedony variety of quartz with the presence of a small amount of impurities that create contrasting color layers of plane-parallel bands. The chemical formula of onyx is SiO2.

    Its structure is layered, with alternating layers of agate and carbonates. The background color of onyx can be light green, brownish, dark green or pinkish and depends on the composition of the impurities included in it. So, impurities of magnesium and copper give a dark green color, a mixture of copper and iron - light green, iron oxides - yellow, reddish or brown. The color of the banded pattern of the mineral is always contrasting to the underlying background. It can be gray, white, black or dark brown.

    The degree of transparency of the mineral varies depending on its variety: the onyx may be transparent, or it may be an opaque, translucent stone with a glass luster.

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    Its main physical properties:

    • Mohs hardness - from 6,5 to 7,0;
    • density is from 2.5 to 2.8 g / cm3;
    • an abrasion factor of 1.0-1.8 g / cm2;
    • compressive strength - 50-110 MPa;
    • the degree of water absorption is 0.1-0.35%;
    • porosity - 0,35-0,95%.

    According to these indices, onyx approaches to marble and even surpasses it in some parameters( water absorption, hardness and frost resistance).An important technological property of the stone is its easy machinability.

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    Onyx varieties

    Depending on the background color and pattern, such onyx varieties are divided:

    • Arabic onyx is a mineral with alternating black and white bands;
    • Carneolonix is ​​a mineral with alternating red and white bands;
    • sardonyx is a mineral with alternating brown and white bands;
    • chalcedonyx is a mineral with alternating gray and white bands;
    • onyx agate - mineral with alternation of light gray and dark gray strips;
    • three-layer onyx is a mineral with alternation of gray-blue, white and red-brown strips.
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    Onyx deposits

    The most valuable onyx varieties are mined in India, Uruguay, Brazil, and the USA.

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    The healing properties of the

    mineral In ancient times, Hindus believed that onyx could benefit any person by concentrating its energy and relieving the disease.

    Modern lithotherapists claim that onyx can:

    • relieve stress;
    • relieve pain;
    • contribute to the achievement of emotional balance;
    • reduce inflammation;
    • to strengthen memory;
    • increase potency.

    It is advised to be used for:

    • disorders of the nervous system;
    • depression;
    • melancholy;
    • for insomnia;
    • heart disease;
    • of meteorological dependence;
    • kidney and liver disease.

    In the old days, onyx powder was used to clean the oral cavity, and water, infused on the stone, was used to combat obesity and accelerate the healing of injuries.

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    Water, which is drunk from onyx crockery, is considered to be good for health.

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    Magic properties of onyx

    As a magic amulet and a powerful talisman, onyx is recommended to rulers, leaders and politicians.

    It is believed that products made of onyx are capable of:

    • help to concentrate energy;
    • clarify the mind;
    • improve memory;
    • protect from sudden death;
    • to strengthen spiritual strength;
    • give its owner authority over other people;
    • understand the man's intentions of his opponent.

    According to the beliefs of ancient magicians, ony gives its owner courage and relieves it of indecision and suspiciousness, attracts luck and success.

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    Onyx and zodiac signs

    According to astrologers, the greatest use of onyx is able to bring people born under the signs:

    • Virgo;
    • Aries;
    • Capricorn;
    • Cancer.

    They are able to give onyx optimism, positive energy and good luck in business.

    And, regardless of the sign of the zodiac, astrologers recommend wearing products with onyx to the elderly in order to improve vitality and improve mood.

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    Application of the stone

    Onyx is a popular ornamental stone. He is referred to the third group of stones by gemological classification V.Ya. Kievlenko and successfully used as a material for the manufacture:

    1. Jewelry: beads, earrings and bracelets.
    2. Stone-cutting products: souvenirs, decor items, amulets and mascots.
    3. Building materials for interior decoration.

    In recent years, onyx has gained a special popularity as an elite facing material. It produces tiles, mosaic stained-glass windows, blocks and panels. Onyx covered walls and floors, columns and fireplaces, they decorate their rooms with high humidity: saunas, baths, baths and swimming pools.

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    Interesting facts about the stone

    • According to legend, the Jerusalem Temple of Solomon was built without windows, but due to the use of onyx its walls were let through enough light.
    • Onyx was also used in the construction of the main Islamic sanctuary - the famous Kaaba temple.
    • With the application of onyx, the Gur-Emir mausoleum was decorated in Samarkand.
    • In olden days, small onyx( onyx tumbler) was used to develop the speech motor skills of beginners. In order to improve their speech, they tried to speak clearly with stones of onyx in the mouth.
    • In the East, in containers from onyx, expensive aromatic oils were stored.
    • Nowadays onyx decoration can be seen both in luxurious palaces and concert halls, and at metro stations.
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    How to distinguish natural onyx from forgery

    1. When buying products from onyx, pay attention to its price: this natural stone can not cost cheap, so trying to save, you probably buy it imitation.
    2. Carefully study the color of the product - natural colors are always paler than synthetic ones.
    3. Note the thermal conductivity of the product. The natural stone remains cold for a long time, even in warm hands, while the plastic counterfeit instantly heats up.
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    Photographs of the onyx stone and its products

  • Jun 02, 2018
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