Onyx is a semi-precious stone that is black and white, generally arranged in layers. It is a form of agate with parallel banding. This structure lends itself to cameo making. Onyx is a species of chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz). In jewellery design as in fashion, colours look crisper against a background of black, and black and white always looks right. In fine jewellery, the black backdrop is often supplied by onyx, a chalcedony quartz with a fine texture and black colour.
Onyx was very popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name comes from the Greek word "onux", which means fingernail. The story is that one day frisky Cupid cut the divine fingernails of Venus with an arrowhead while she was sleeping. He left the clippings scattered on the sand and the fates turned them into stone so that no part of the heavenly body would ever perish. True, black isn't normally the colour one associates with fingernails. (Did Venus wear Vamp?) But in Greek times, almost all colours of chalcedony from fingernail white to dark brown and black were called onyx. Later, the Romans narrowed the term to refer to black and dark brown colours only.
Black onyx especially shines when used as a backdrop for colour play. Its fine texture also makes it ideal for carving, making it a favored material for today's lapidary artists. Onyx was often used as the perfect foil for carved rock crystal, or the drop dead red of rubies in Art deco designs. It is also popular in marcasite jewellery. So if you would like to add a little black magic to your jewellery design, consider onyx.
We have designed and created over 1,300 unique items of jewellery that we manufacture in house. We are continually designing and making new items every week and will endeavour to add them here on this site as soon as we make them, however, we may not have all our designs on our site. If you are searching for a particular style or type of jewellery item and cannot find it on this site please contact us as we might have just what you are looking for or can hand make it for you.
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