With a deep black color and rich shimmer, onyx gemstones add a dramatic touch to jewelry designs. The name onyx comes from the Greek word for fingernail or claw. Legend has it that Cupid cut the fingernails of Venus while she was sleeping. He let the clippings fall and the gods turned them into onyx so that no part of her heavenly body would ever perish.
Onyx: The Magic of Black
Onyx is a type of chalcedony quartz and in ancient Greece, all chalcedony colors, from white to black, were refered to as onyx. Later, the Romans reserved the term onyx for the black stones only. Roman soldiers wore banded onyx engraved with images of heroes, believing that the stone would make them as brave as the hero depicted on it.
During Queen Victoria's mourning period, onyx was a popular gemstone as it had a more somber tone and was often used in cameo brooches. The gemstone was also popular during the Art Deco period to add contrast to ruby and clear quartz jewelry designs.
Ross-Simons' Onyx Collection
Ross-Simons' Onyx Jewelry
The onyx's black coloring makes it a true classic and the gemstone looks radiant in both contemporary and vintage-inspired jewelry. The stone's deep, rich tones contrast nicely with sterling silver and 14kt gold, as well as warm-colored gems like onyx, carnelian and coral. Onyx gemstones are most often showcased as cabochons set in earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Since ancient times, onyx has been dyed to improve its color and this technique has no effect on the value of the stone.
The main sources of onyx are India and South America, but the gemstone is also found in China, Madagascar, Mexico and the United States.
Onyx Jewelry Care & Handling
Onyx, like other types of chalcedony, has a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs scale and should be protected from sharp blows. To care for your onyx jewelry, wash with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Store your onyx rings, necklaces, bracelets and onyx earrings in your Ross-Simons presentation box when not in use.