This form of chalcedony quartz takes its name from a Greek word that referred to a fingernail, claw or hoof. It was popular in ancient Greece where a legend tells of Cupid (whether as a form of joke or service) trimmed the nails of the sleeping Venus. Not wanting to see any part of her perish, the Fates turned Venus’ fingernail clippings to stone. The Greeks called almost any colored chalcedony stones onyx.

Onyx stone

The Romans limited the name onyx to only dark brown and black forms of chalcedony. They also gave the name sardonyx to reddish-brown onyx. (See separate listing for more on sardonyx.) Onyx was also popular during the Renaissance and in the nineteenth century.

Onyx is a stone that provides balance and stability, as well as protection. When used in dream work or meditation it can help bring guidance and transformation from an inner source. It helps control emotions and negative thoughts.

Onyx bracelet

Color(s) - Black, black-brown with bands of white.

Sardonyx – reddish-brown sometimes with white or lighter red bands.

Associations - Leo; base and throat chakras; Saturn, Mars; yang.

Uses - balance; self-cultivation; transformation; protection.