About Black Onyx: History, Meaning, Value, Uses, Where to Buy

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A little about onyx before we delve into the value of black onyx.

TL; DR: If you are looking to purchase Black Onyx online, our recommended online retailer is the Overstock.com collection here.

What is Black Onyx?

Onyx is a variety of chalcedony, which has bands of white and other colors.

Agate and onyx are similar in that they have bands of white in them. Agate has curved bands while onyx has parallel bands. Black onyx often has stripes of white and black with black being more dominant.

black-onyx-gemstone-with-brown-stripes

Onyx Properties

Onyx comes in a variety of colors like red, yellow or blue. It falls under the category of quartz stones, and has a hardness of between 6 and 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. Most of the black onyx seen in jewelry doesn’t have the white stripe, so some people are not even aware that black onyx has another color to it unless it’s been used for a cameo.

Jewelry Choices and History of Black Onyx

Throughout history, onyx was used in a variety of jewelry pieces, especially cameos, where the carving was in one color and the background was the next layer of color. There are some famous cameo carvings like the Gemma Augustea, which was produced sometime between the years of 9 and 12 AD.

gemma-augustea

Black onyx that isn’t made into cameos to feature its beautiful layering are dyed to give them a uniform color. It’s possible to dye the stones because onyx is porous like other stones in the chalcedony category. Many black onyx stones are dyed today while others are treated with heat and polished to a silky sheen.

Click for our TOP PICKS for affordable Black Onyx Rings

Where is Black Onyx Found?

The stone is found in a variety of places from Yemen to Uruguay to Germany and India. There are a few onyx mines in Arizona like Prescott, Ash Fork and Mayer.

Here is one of the largest Onyx mines in the country of Pakistan.  Hard work, but worth it to get to all of that beautiful onyx!

Black Onyx Charms and Meaning

While some people through history used black onyx for mourning since it’s so dark, it actually is thought to also smother negative emotions from exterior forces. It’s used as a powerful charm of self-protection for that reason.

vintage-avon-ring-black-onyx-jewelry-size-6-womens-ring

The Greek word onyx means the nail of a claw or finger, and the Greek legend is that one day while Venus was asleep, Cupid cut her fingernails. They fell to the ground, but because no part of a god can die, they became known as onyx.

Birthstone for July and December

According to the ancient Italian and Hebrew calendar, the onyx is the birthstone of July. The ancient Tibetan calendar assigned onyx to December as a birthstone. Old astrologers thought the stones would give people power and courage, so they assigned the onyx to Leo and Capricorn, which were though to be the two most ambitious signs according to the Zodiac.

necklack black onyx zodiac sign

Fashion and Style Choices

A person wearing black onyx is thought to be edgy and dark with strong personalities. While it was commonly worn by people who were mourning throughout history, it’s now worn by a variety of people from goths or emos who identify with the stone because of its color to fashion-conscious women who want a stone that will match with any outfit.

goth-wearing-onyx

The affordability of onyx stones means that it can be turned into beads for necklaces and bracelets or used as large stones in rings.

Black Onyx Value – How Much is Black Onyx Worth?

After all this discussion regarding the history and uses for black onyx, it’s time to talk about the value. The value depends on whether it’s been treated or remained natural.

While it won’t go down in price too much when treated, there is a slight decrease in price. If it’s been turned into a piece of jewelry already, you’re going to pay more for the jewelry than you would for individual beads, jewelry pieces or individual stones.

Black Oynx Prices

The price will go up depending on a few factors like the cut and size of the stone. The value will also depend on the craftsmanship of the piece of finished jewelry itself. The black onyx is more valuable than the other colors of onyx available, too.

black-onyx-ring-with-gold

Black onyx can vary in value from $1 to $500 per carat on its own. That varies with the setting of the gemstone itself. With a setting of silver, it’ll be less than a setting of yellow or white gold.

See our choices for black onyx rings for women

Black Onyx Shapes of the Stones

More elaborate stone shapes like the marquise cut or the heart cut will often be more expensive than the round or oval cut. When added to a simple ring, a halo of diamonds can create an amazing centerpiece that can bring the expense of the jewelry a bit higher, but it can be an incredibly stunning ring choice for those who love something a bit out of the ordinary.

princess-black-onyx-14k-yellow-gold-ring-with-diamond

While black onyx is not as rare as a red diamond, it’s a fantastic way to get an original, unique ring that truly speaks to your personality. Finding a way to be memorable and unique in this world can be difficult unless you’re willing to step away from the normal and basic.

Where to Buy Black Onyx

Black Onyx isn’t the most common gem, but there are a variety of good online retailers and collections worth considering. ALL of these options have been reviewed and vetted for quality and superior online experience.

1. Overstock.com 

Shopping on Overstock can feel a bit like rummaging through a flea market, but they do have a surprisingly good collection of black onyx jewelry. Their selection is limited mainly to black onyx rings, but within this category the selections are extensive.

2. Ross and Simmons

Ross and Simmons has a handful of stunning black onyx rings and settings. In particular, their settings stand out above other retailers and make the onyx “pop” in elegant ways. View their collection of black onyx here.

3. Amazon.com

If you just want something simple and affordable, Amazon has a wide variety of black onyx rings and jewelry on the low-end of the price spectrum.

Further Reading

Jeanette Kierstead

Jeanette is an accomplished writer, who has created thousands of helpful articles on many subjects, but she has a special passion and curiosity for gemstones and precious jewelry. She also loves helping brides find new discoveries online and think outside the box when it comes to wedding planning and ideas. She knows how stressful the wedding plans can be, but she's here to make sure you love your ring and your day equally!

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