Onyx is a type of chalcedony that is banded. The bands may range from white to almost any other color (with black and white being the most common) and, unlike the chaotic banding often present in agates, are parallel to one another. Onyx is a cryptocrystalline mineral that consists of fine intergrowths of moganite and quartz. It exhibits a trigonal or monoclinic crystal system, a Moh’s scale hardness of 6-7, a specific gravity of 2.65-2.667, a white streak, a vitreous or silky luster, and is translucent. This gemstone is made in the vesicles of lava and can be found particularly in Brazil, but also in Pakistan, Uruguay, Hawaii, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, and various other regions around the world. Its name is Latin and means “claw” or “fingernail,” in reference to its resemblance in appearance to a fingernail.
Onyx is associated with the astrological signs of gemini and leo, the element of earth, and the 7th wedding anniversary. Different colors of onyx resonate with different chakras (for instance, black onyx resonates with the base chakra and green onyx the heart chakra). In the metaphysical world, all types and colors represent constancy, permanence, strength, stamina, durability, firmness, and self control. Keeping your specimen of onyx with you, handling it and/or wearing it set in jewelry on a regular basis may result in an increase in strength, stamina, steadfastness and vigor. It may enhance your decision making skills and self control, banish grief, encourage good fortune and happiness, and impart self confidence, helping you to feel at ease with yourself as well as within your surroundings. It may especially come in handy during times of difficult circumstances (such as bereavement), when it can provide much needed support. Last but not least, onyx is believed to provide grounding for those who tend to experience excessive passions and emotions and have difficulty managing them. For all of these reasons and more, onyx is a wonderful stone to add to one’s personal collection.
Onyx is a useful tool to have in the medical bag, as well. In the world of physical healing, crystal healers have used it in the treatment of issues related to the feet and soft body tissues, bone marrow, ears and eyes. It is also said to promote cellular regeneration and facilitate the healing of wounds, boost general endurance and help to manage excess energy. If you or someone you know is about to have a baby, you might consider procuring an onyx specimen for the expectant mother to wear and/or plant in the birthing room, as it is believed to aid in the process of childbirth. Finally, onyx may strengthen the bones, teeth, skin, hair and nails. In addition to these general healing benefits, each specific type and color of onyx brings to the table its own set of attributes.