The magic of black is seen in jewelry made from onyx, a black chalcedony quartz with a delicate texture that is often carved into cameos. Though still popular with jewelry designers, onyx was especially popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans.
There’s an old legend about Cupid finding Venus asleep and taking the opportunity to cut her fingernails with an arrowhead. He left the clippings scattered on the sand and the fates turned them into stone so that no part of the heavenly body would ever perish. The stone, as the story goes, was onyx, which brings up an interesting question, “Did Venus wear Vamp?” There may be an explanation. Back in Greek times nearly all colors of chalcedony from fingernail white to dark black were called onyx. Later the Romans narrowed the term to refer to black and dark brown colors only.
Black onyx is used often as a background for color play. Its fine texture makes it ideal for carving and therefore a favored material for today’s lapidaries. Onyx was often used as the perfect foil for carved rock crystal or the ‘drop dead red’ of rubies in art deco designs. It is also popular in marcasite jewelry. Use onyx to add a little black magic to your jewelry design.