Onyx is a banded chalcedony quartz. The bands appear as parallel ribbons, most commonly white, but can also occur in many other colors, save blue and purple. Onxy with bands of red is refered to as sardonyx. Typically, onyx cabochons have a waxy to vitreous luster. Onyx rates 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, meaning it is a stong stone and a excellent candidate for carving. In ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt onyx was used in cameos and reliefs with the black band as the background and the white band carved into figures and scenes.

Onyx gets its name from the Greek and means claw or fingernail. According to Greek mythology, Eros cut the fingernails of Venus with the tip of his arrow while she slept and scattered them on the ground. Since no part of a heavenly body was permitted to die, the gods turned the fingernails into onyx. For millennia, onyx has been considered a protective stone, to aid the wearer in battles of war or just to deflect negative energy directed toward him or her. It is said to strengthen relationships and protect them from adversity.

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