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August’s Other Birthstone: The Onyx

Genesis 2:10-12: A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.

What Is Onyx?

Onyx is one variety from the chalcedony family of stones, comprised mainly of silica. Though the onyx pieces that you see here are solid jet-black, traditionally onyx has come in a variety of colors, showing a banded color pattern in the stone. This layering was the characteristic that set onyx apart. Today, chalcedony that features yellow and red layering patterns is known as ‘sardonyx’. The black variety, which exhibits less or no banding, retains the name ‘onyx’ or ‘black onyx’.

While onyx is most frequently seen in jewelry, Egyptians have long used onyx for the crafting of bowls and serving ware. It was also a favorite stone among Ancient Romans and Greeks, from whom it gets its name. In other types of jewelry, banded onyx was used in the making of cameos, in which an engraving was made in one colored band that would contrast with the color on an adjacent band. Today in Mexico, onyx in various colors is used for making contemporary light fixtures, sculpture, and other household items.

While the traditional gem for the month of August is the peridot, onyx (and sardonyx) is also recognized as an August birthstone.

Biblical Significance.

As seen in the passage above, onyx was present even in the Garden of Eden. In the book of Exodus onyx was one of the stones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel and was used to decorate the breastplates of the priests that served in the temple. Those who were involved in the building of the temple were instructed to take two onyx stones and engrave upon them the names of the tribes of Israel as a memorial.

Who Wears Onyx?

While most jewelry is crafted with women in mind, onyx is a stone that men love, and a popular component in men’s jewelry. The bold color conveys strength and masculinity. However, black is an elegant color that women can’t help but admire and desire as well!

Our Favorite Selections From Our Onyx Collection:

Onyx Marcasite Cross in .925 Sterling Silver. Throughout history, it has been thought that onyx and marcasite make an attractive match. In this pendant (above), two very stunning black stones come together to celebrate the darkness and the beauty of the cross. Crafted of black onyx, the cross is accented by two ‘bands’ of marcasite, as well as a marcasite bale. The pendant measures 1 1/8” and comes with a matching sterling silver chain.

10K White Gold Diamond and Onyx Mens Ring. This ring (above left) is elegant, exquisite, and masculine wrapped into one. Starting with a generous cut of black onyx set in 10k gold (added durability), the ring is then accented by four diamonds for added shine. Sure to delight any man.

Black Onyx Inlay Earrings in Sterling Silver. These earrings (left) are dressy enough for a night out and yet simple and casual enough for everyday wear. Crafted of black onyx and sterling silver, the drops measure 12mm in length. The earrings also make a great set with the black onyx cross pictured above.



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