Black Onyx Tumbled & Polished # 33
Size: avg .1/2″ to 1″ long
Price: $ 30.00 ( for the entire lot of 125 stones )
Onyx is a banded variety of the oxide mineral chalcedony. Agate and onyx are both varieties of layered chalcedony that differ only in the form of the bands: agate has curved bands and onyx has parallel bands. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of black and/or white
Onyx is formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colors. It is cryptocrystalline, consisting of fine intergrowths of the silica minerals quartz and morganite. Its bands are parallel to one another, as opposed to the more chaotic banding that often occurs in agates. Onyx is a gemstone found in various regions of the world including Yemen, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Pakistan, Madagascar, Latin America, the UK, and various states in the US.
It has a long history of use for hardstone carving and jewelry, where it is usually cut as a cabochon or into beads. It has also been used for intaglio and hardstone cameo engraved gems, where the bands make the image contrast with the ground. Some onyx is natural but much of the material in commerce is produced by the staining of agate
Onyx was used in Egypt as early as the Second Dynasty to make bowls and other pottery items. Use of sardonyx appears in the art of Minoan Crete, notably from the archaeological recoveries at Knossos.
Brazilian green onyx was often used as plinths for art deco sculptures created in the 1920s and 1930s. The German sculptor Ferdinand Preiss used Brazilian green onyx for the base on the majority of his chryselephantinesculptures. Green onyx was also used for trays and pin dishes – produced mainly in Austria – often with small bronze animals or figures attached. Onyx is mentioned in the Bible many times. Sardonyx (onyx in which white layers alternate with sard) is mentioned in the Bible as well.
Onyx was known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The first-century naturalist Pliny the Elder described both type of onyx and various artificial treatment techniques in his Naturalis Historia.
Slabs of onyx (from the Atlas Mountains) were famously used by Mies van der Rohe in Villa Tugendhat at Brno (completed 1930) to create a shimmering semi-translucent interior wall.
The Hôtel de la Païva in Paris is noted for its yellow onyx décor, and the new Mariinsky Theatre Second Stage in Moscow uses yellow onyx in the lobby.
The ancient Romans entered battle carrying amulets of sardonyx engraved with Mars, the god of war. This was believed to bestow courage in battle. In Renaissance Europe, wearing sardonyx was believed to bestow eloquence A traditional Persian belief is that it helped with epilepsy. Sardonyx was traditionally used by English midwives to ease childbirth by laying it between the breasts of the mother.