Onyx—in any color—is a banded variety of the mineral chalcedony. It’s a cousin of agate, the difference between them being the type of band: agate bands are curved, and onyx bands are parallel. Both black and white are common, and while it’s nice to know all these facts, what matters most is how beautifully shiny black onyx pairs with precious stones and metals. You’ll see many fine examples when you shop for jewelry in the DC area.
Popular for inlay work and also the stone for ten years of marriage, black onyx is popular because its color—unlike more natural onyx colors that resemble fingernails (onyx means claw, and its creation myth says that it came from the nail parings of Venus)—lends itself better to fancy jewelry applications. Who wants jewelry that looks like fingernail clippings? Choosing black not only gives you beauty, but the purported qualities imbued in onyx.
Onyx is believed to protect the wearer, and onyx stones were often worn in battle. Though most of us don’t face regular physical threat, onyx is also said to protect against negativity sent your way—and who doesn’t need that—or in your relationships, a protector of marriage and promoter of romance. And perhaps on a more practical side, onyx was used in the treatment of bone, eye, blood, foot, tooth, and soft tissues ailments. There’s something fascinating about the history of these mysterious looking stones.
Shop for onyx at pawn shops in Vienna, VA, and take care to keep it clean with soft, moist cloths, and avoid commercial or ultrasonic cleaners—and even soap. And then enjoy the beauty and protection that onyx offers.