Esoteric Library - Black Onyx
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Category : Crystals - - - - Previous Page

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Black Onyx

{written by : Olivia Hoff}

Article word count : 328 -- Article Id : 3520
Article active date : 2014-03-27 -- Article views : 3671


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Article is about :
Black onyx became one of the earliest examples of color enhanced stones over 2000 years ago, when the Romans developed a method for dying chalcedony. This striking black decorative gem has enjoyed a long history of use in various styles of jewelry.





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Pliny the elder, Roman naturalist, soldier, and author of the famous History of Gemstones, describes a process for dying chalcedony to produce black onyx. (This is the same famous Pliny who died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.) His procedure involves soaking stones in sugar water for a prolonged period, then plunging them into acid, which burns the sugar into carbon and producing the black color. This method, certainly one of the earliest color enhancements of natural stone, was used by the Germans at the reknowned Idar-Oberstein twenty centuries later.

The method is used to this day by purists, although the black color is often produced using a cobalt solution. In Europe, the dying of agate to produce black onyx was a trade secret until 1913. Black onyx does occur in nature as well. At various times throughout history, black onyx was held in higher regard than it is today. During the Victorian era and following the example of Queen Victoria, who went into mourning for years following the death of her husband, jewelry set with black stones became widely popular. It was called, appropriately, mourning jewelry.

Other stones such as jet and obsidian were used, but black onyx proved the most economical, durable and attractive. Another time of mourning was experienced in the U.S. following the Civil War, and the phenomenon created a demand for black jewelry stones, including onyx. And black onyx became popular again during the Art Deco era of the 1920’s. Black was a striking contrast to the diamonds used in the jewelry of that period. Black onyx remains popular to this day, as a stone for men’s jewelry. It is the alternate birthstone for February. As a healing stone, black onyx is believed to be useful for enhancing strength, both physical and mental. It is an earthy, grounding stone. Its energy is said to help break bad habits, to improve self-confidence, and to soothe and comfort in times of grief.



Author Bio :
I grew up around gem and mineral enthusiasts, otherwise known as rockhounds. I deal in minerals, crystals, and stones for jewelry makers. My other interests are literature, music, science, nature, gardening, art,ethnic culture, history, cats, collies, and horses. I write web articles, confessions, poetry, short fiction, and blog posts, sometime under the pseudonym Synnove Helgerud. My rock shop website is For videos celebrating birthstones and crystals click here.

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