Onyx gemstone

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Physical properties of onyx

Hardness: 6-7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale
Luster: glass
Transparency: translucent
Color: brown with white and black patterns, red-brown, brown-yellow, honey, white with yellowish or pinkish layers

Characteristics of onyx

Onyx (onyx, nogat, sardonyx, chalcedony-onyx, carnelian-onyx) is one of the oldest precious stones known to mankind. Onyx is often mentioned in the Bible among the most beautiful and expensive precious stones, such as diamond, emerald, beryl and sapphire. And according to an ancient legend, the throne of the wise King Solomon was also decorated with onyxes. Which suggests that onyx has been highly valued by people since ancient times.

Onyx is a type of agate. The word itself, translated from Greek, means nail (onyx; in ancient times, the name nogat was also in use, which is considered a variation of the translation from Greek). What this is connected with will be discussed below.

Onyx. Gemstone. Onyx cabochons

The fact is that onyx has characteristic parallel stripes (layers). These strips can be of different colors and different thicknesses. For example, stones with black and white stripes are called onyx-chalcedony. Brown and white stripes are sardonyx, and white stripes combined with red have carnelian onyx. There are also onyxes with brown and yellow layers. Or the layers can be honey, pink, gray and brown in various combinations with the above colors. And prices for onyxes increase with decreasing layer thickness. So already the ancient Greeks especially appreciated onyxes with a thickness of one layer no more than the thickness of a nail. That's where the name of the stone comes from.

Famous varieties of onyx gemstone:

  • common onyx - onyx with black and white stripes
  • sardonyx - onyx with white and brown stripes
  • carnelian onyx - onyx with red and white stripes
  • onyx agate - greyish onyx with layers of various shades
  • chalcedon-onyx - onyx with gray and white stripes
  • Arabian onyx - onyx with stripes of brown, black, gray and white
  • black onyx (black agate) - onyxes with black and white stripes (more black)

A variety of jewelry was made from onyx, and this stone was highly revered by carvers.

How much is onyx

Onyx is an inexpensive ornamental stone. Onyx bracelets can be purchased for $20-$50. Onyx beads can cost as much as $25, but with good material and cut quality, they can reach prices of $800. A higher price is only for carved onyx cameos, but now they are almost never made - mostly synthetic material is on sale.

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See also: Jasper gemstone
Demantoid gemstone

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