Onyx is a layered rock comprised of bands of chalcedony, quartz and opal. The name of the rock is derived from the Greek ὄνυξ, meaning ”fingernail” – the thin white layers of the rock resembling the edge of the fingernail. Onyx can take on almost every color and is difficult to distinguish from rocks such as obsidian and smoky quartz unless the bands (layers) are visible.
The ancients knew about Onyx as far back as biblical times with references to the stone in the bible (Genesis 2:12). A lot of the Onyx on sale today is actually colored agate or the onyx may have been subjected to heating and drying to enhance its color.
Classical ceremonial magick used to carve the god Mars or the hero Hercules on Onyx and carry it for courage. It also protects against negativity.
Onyx is also good for self control. Scott Cunningham attributed repressing sexual energy to Onyx, in the sense that Onyx could reduce sex drive, i.e control it. This was accomplished by holding Onyx near the groin and visualising reduced sexual desire, allowing the crystal to work its vibrations. Onyx is a ”slow” stone to release energy and therefore any working with Onyx should allow time for the stone”s energies to be felt.
The manner in which the bands cross the stone, layering it, suggest a hidden depth to onyx, one that lends itself to revealing any hidden elements of a situation or story (”peeling back the layers”). It is therefore a good stone to use for discovering the underlying causes of events or situations and directing the focus of an individual inwards. It can help individuals in releasing negative energy and finding peace within themselves. In that sense, it can bring calm to an individual. Onyx that is deep and dark in appearance serves as a useful protection against negative energies and rings and amulets are fashioned from dark onyx for this purpose.
Different colours of Onyx can be placed on matching color chakras.
Mohs hardness: 7
Lustre: silky or dull, deep
Color: Black and white, white reddish brown, banded.
Magickal Uses: Protection, Defense, Insight.