Unlike the transparent varieties of Quartz such as amethyst and citrine, Onyx belongs to the group of translucent to opaque stones referred to as polycrystalline. It has been used since antiquity, both for jewellery and as an ornamental gemstone for carvings and statues.
Many cultures have put faith in its protective properties and have worn it in battle, to shield them from the evil eye and even during labour to ensure a safe delivery. Black gems have fallen in and out of fashion over the years, high points include the later half of the 19th Century when Queen Victoria, mourning the loss of her husband Prince Albert, wore a lot of black jewellery, making it very popular.
The following century, during the 20s and 30s it was in vogue once more with the monochromatic look popular during the Art Deco period.
Description: Onyx is the black sheep of the Quartz family, it is an opaque gem that can be cut or carved and polished to a high shine and can be found in Brazil, Sri Lanka and Madagascar.
Hardness: 7 on Mohs Scale