Onyx has always been a fairly common choice for artisans. People like to carve it, cut it up, and put it into jewels. People have made bowls, cameos, statues, beads, and gems out of onyx. Cameos and onyx have a long history, actually. So much so that some believed the origins of the word cameo to be related to the onyx stone. A cameo, in the carving sense, refers to a relief portrait carving, but the background is, typically, a contrasting color. The image below is an example.
Onyx has natural contrasting colors, so it was an obvious choice for most carvers. It also looks good. The other interesting part about it is that apparently it was easy to make in terms of imitations. In other words, make artificial onyx. The practice isn't new, and the ancient Romans knew how to make some convincing fakes apparently. It could be dyed or "cemented together" as Pliny the Elder describes. If done properly, this could have been highly profitable. Indeed, Pliny claims that it was a type of fraud by which fortunes could be made and none could compare. Our methods of detecting artificial stones is way better than what the ancient Romans had, so it is unfortunate that a lot of these con artists got away with their misdeeds.
For fashion, cameos remained popular well into the Victorian period. It might even be safe to say that they didn't fall out of popularity until after the Edwardian period. Many of these of course used an Onyx stone. Alongside rings and necklaces, these were some of the most common pieces of jewelry someone could wear, even for men. But such portraits today have fallen out of favor. However, some are returning to Victorian fashion pieces. This Victorian, or neo-Victorian, revival might push cameos back into the spotlight. It is unlikely, however, as the modern style is generally minimalist or asymmetrical, at least in 2020. As for 2021, it is still likely going to say. But even if it did get pushed out of the fashion scene, cameos don't fit with most modern fashion styles.
Onyx, though, is here to stay! Outside of cameos, they have simply just made a mark in all sorts of jewelry, especially for men. It was probably a more popular name for men during the famous gem-craze naming conventions of, you guessed it, the Victorian Era. However, it does appear that the name is becoming slightly more popular. This is from the general increase in popularity for gemstones and crystals (Sort of like another era we already mentioned). The other reason is that Iggy Azalea has named her son Onyx, so it isn't surprising that some have taken to naming their children Onyx. Though it is becoming a gender-neutral name. There are dozens of gemstone names that are likely to come back.
Onyx Pronunciation: /ɒnɪks/ or /ɑnɪks/
Onyx Misspellings: Onix
Crystal System: Trigonal
Etymology: From Latin & Greek, onyx, meaning claw or fingernail.
Location: Various locations in Europe, Americas, Africa, and Asia.
Onyx and the ancients got along pretty well. It held power and courage. It is almost like the ancient people knew this, as gods, heroes, and lords were often carved from Onyx. It is also a stone that can bring a calm an overactive mind. What are the onyx stone properties?
Onyx has a special place in history for being one of the most common gemstones for carvings, especially in cameos. The stone may not find a place in those pretty portraits anymore, but it's still an incredibly popular stone among jewelers. Black is just a color that everyone loves. It feels enigmatic, powerful, and is just cool. When the white is mixed in, it creates a healthy and beautiful contrast that has been understood for centuries.
Crystals and gemstones are nature's true beauties, but they are not a substitute for seeking professional medical, legal, health, or financial advice. Crystals and gemstones are to be used in conjunction with any professional care you are receiving and do not provide healing, cures, or other remedies modern medicine can provide. The information provided in our listings with regard to the powers of crystals and gemstones are all derived from personal & professional experience with crystals & gems as well as ancient wisdom and texts documenting knowledge gained from civilizations around the world. They are not backed by the FDA or scientific/government resources. Our crystals & gemstones are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or malady. Our crystals and gemstones are also not a replacement for seeking professional legal advice, financial advising, or any other field of professional expertise. Crystals and gemstones are intended to be appreciated for their natural power and beauty, and used alongside modern, professional methods.
Kozminsky, Isidore. The Magic and Science of Jewels and Stones. New York, The Knickerbocker Press, 1922.
Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1913.
Pliny the Elder. The Natural History, Volume VI.