Onyx is a variety of chalcedony and comes in a variety of colors, ranging from white and black to shades of blue and purple. However, the most common form of onyx contains the colors brown and black. Nowadays, you can find that artificial treatments are given to the stone to improve on its color, especially if the stone is being used in decorative or fashion items.
All throughout history, Onyx has been a popular stone used in decorative items. The ancient Greeks and Romans used the stone widely for its aesthetics, particularly in cameos. The Romans and Chinese also used onyx, especially the black variety, in carving seals and stamps. In addition to these decorative items, onyx is also used in household items such as urns, bowls, vases, lamps and pestle and mortars. However, its use as a material for household items became less prominent once other materials were found, because the onyx tends to chip and break easily.
Nowadays, onyx is used mainly to produce fashionable jewelry, especially rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. In fact, many insignia rings for males are made from black onyx because it gives a very masculine touch to the person wearing it. Black onyx is also the birthstone for August and is closely tied to the star sign Leo. That is why it is not uncommon for people born in August or under the astrological sign Leo to purchase and wear some form of jewelry made from black onyx. The facts of its popularity and that a darker black onyx is more precious has led some unscrupulous suppliers and retailers to artificially darken the stone. This is done by soaking it for up to a month in a sugar treatment and then washing it with sulfuric acid.
In additional to the more practical uses, onyx is also said to possess physiological and spiritual benefits, much like a crystal. It is said that onyx can help reduce the pain during childbirth, heal wounds and treat eye and ear issues. Besides that, it is also claimed to be very good in the control or elimination of excess energy, allowing the wearer to concentrate better. Believers in alternative medicine also hail the onyx's power as an amulet that can redirect positive energy and bring good fortune to the person wearing the stone. This is especially true for people with addiction problems, as the stone aids in breaking bad habits.