Black Onyx: Meaning, Value & Properties

Black Onyx: Meaning, Value & Properties

You’re at the right place if you’re curious about black onyx gemstone. Keep scrolling!

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about black onyx stones along with answering frequently asked questions about them including:

  • Are all onyx stones black onyx?
  • Is black onyx best suited for engagement rings?
  • Is there any difference between black onyx and black jasper?

Let’s dive right in!

Black Onyx – Meaning, Value and Beneficial Properties

What Are Black Onyx Gemstones?

For starters, not all onyx stones are black onyx. Onyx stones come in many different colors and not just solid black. Now you know!

Black onyx stones are black banded layered chalcedony gemstone variety. Chalcedony, on the other hand, is one of the most common forms of microcrystalline quartz. For the most part, they’re usually characterized as typical pitch black.

However, most black onyx jewelry pieces are usually dyed. In real sense, black onyx stones have white parallel bands on their black body. They can also have blue, white, brown and red banded layers.

Agate Vs Onyx

Most people tend to confuse black onyx stones with black agate stones. It’s quite normal. The latter come in a range of colors and varieties. Plus, they’re characterized by chalcedony banded layers.

The main difference between black agate stones and black onyx is the latter have parallel bands while agates feature curved ones. Plus, agates come in different colors but the bands on onyx stones are white traditionally.

Jasper Vs Onyx

Jasper is also from the chalcedony family. However, most people confuse jasper with agate stones and onyx jewelry pieces. The only thing that these gemstones have in common is that all of them are chalcedony. Besides, they’re quite different in appearance but have the same microcrystalline quartz composition.

Jasper is a piece of translucent chalcedony. This means that it allows some light to pass through the stone when held at certain angles in lighting. However, carnelian is an exception. Any other translucent chalcedony are jasper stones.

It’s confusing because most gemstones that are named jasper are technically not authentic jasper or anything close. Plus, they’re popular s polished cabochons and specimens. Some of these examples include ocean jasper, Dalmatian jasper and bumblebee jasper.

Meaning of Black Onyx and its Healing Properties

People have been using crystals for their healing properties since time immemorial. The interest in crystal healing and modern-day practices has sparked people’s curiosity over the last couple of years with religion and spirituality.

All minerals come with their own healing properties that help impart energy to the user from the earth. For most crystals, these properties are usually derived from different science practices in the olden days.

Lore and History

The use of black onyx stones in ancient times is tied to ancient Greeks. The term black onyx is derived from a Greek word that means claw.

According to ancient Greek mythology, Goddess Venus was sleeping by the river then Cupid, her son used an arrow to clip her fingernails then placed them on earth. The gods turned the fingernail clippings to black onyx gemstones to preserve them.

Save for lore, black onyx stones were equally popular in the Victorian jewelry era. These gemstones were used in form of black onyx rings and to create architecture and cameos.

Metaphysical Properties

Black onyx crystals help in physical healing and also have healing properties from the spiritual realm. Just as the name suggests, the physical properties are how this black stone affects the physical body. The stone is usually associated with Root Chakra that focuses on the abdomen.

Black onyx stones physical healing properties include:

  • Bone marrow issues
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Bladder problems
  • Nervous system issues
  • Muscle tightness especially in lower extremities
  • Pain in the lower extremities like legs, feet and ankles
  • Overtiredness and inability to focus
  • Helps you recover your physical strength especially after being ill

Some people believe that these problems are normally brought about by negative energies which block the root chakra. The negative energies can be dissipated by black onyx’s emotional healing powers. This is because black onyx can absorb any negative energy.

Not only does black onyx crystals help balance energy but also dispel negative energy as it shields the user or wearer. Black onyx doubled up as a protective talisman in ancient times.

Save for dispelling any negative energies, this black gemstone also brings peace and harmony to the mind especially when you’re overwhelmed with emotions. Whether its possessive behavior tendencies, negative emotions, jealousy or anger, black onyx can change it to other alternative positive energies.


In addition, black onyx stones help strengthen your entire well being emotionally like enhancing your self-control, boosting your self-confidence and sharpening your senses.

Using Black Onyx Gemstones

Black onyx stones are still being used in the modern-day world as a protective gem in form of worry stone when it comes to crystal healing. A worry stone is also known as a palm stone. Most people carry polished black onyx gemstones in the pocket as it aids in mental clarity.

Those practicing the art of feng shui believe that keeping a flat piece of black onyx stone in a home attracts financial gain and good fortune.

Onyx Stone Jewelry Pieces


Many people are attracted to black onyx stones for different reasons. For instance, some prefer black onyx engagement rings especially when going for a dramatic look. Besides, sleek faceting can create a dramatic effect even though onyx stones don’t sparkle.

You might come across an onyx ring with a coffin-cut shape – one of the most popular cuts for Halloween and gothic aesthetic.

However, you might want to put into consideration the hardness level of the gemstone in question before settling on a popular gemstone engagement ring as opposed to its diamond counterpart. This is where Mohs hardness scale comes in handy. Each mineral is rated according to its hardness level on the scale.


Diamonds are usually rated at 10 on Mohs hardness scale which makes them the hardest minerals on earth. Sapphire, on the other hand, is rated at 9. Diamond is a lot harder than a sapphire stone and ruby even though they’re typically a number apart on the scale.

However, Mohs hardness scale is anything but linear and can’t be viewed as such. Most people believe that the hardness level of a mineral translates to its durability and breakability. They couldn’t be more wrong!

In this case, hardness means the capability of the gemstone in question to withstand scratches from dust and dirt particle in the air or from blows and bumps. Gemstones are susceptible to scratch from different environmental elements especially when worn every day.

For this reason, it would be best to put the hardness level of the mineral in consideration before making  a purchase. You don’t want to spend hundreds or thousand of dollars on something that might need replacement over the years.

Thankfully, black onyx has a pretty decent scratch resistance level to dust and dirt particles in the air. Black onyx is rated at 7 on Mohs hardness scale. It’s not as hard as diamonds but can stand up to household dust perfectly well.

Any mineral or gemstone that is rated at 7 or beyond on Mohs hardness scale can scratch black onyx stones.


Generally, black onyx stones make durable jewelry pieces. Apart from hardness level, there are other different factors that need to be factored in to determine the durability of gemstones especially when you choose to wear them as engagement rings. This is because some stones are best suited for low impact jewelry pieces like necklaces and earrings.

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However, black onyx stones are ideal for all types of jewelry pieces. They don’t have cleavage planes which means they’re less susceptible to breaking or chipping. Gemstones with cleavage planes are bound to chip and break when hit on the right spot.

Additionally, crystalline quartz gemstones such as chalcedony have great tenacity against accidental hits and bumps.


Natural onyx stones usually come with white bands. Solid black onyx pieces do exist but it’s safe to assume that most, if not all pitch black onyx stones are subjected to different types of treatment unless you’re told otherwise by the seller.

Dyeing is one of the most common forms of treatment that onyx stones are always subjected to. For the most part, these stones are dyed using a concentrated sugar solution. Chalcedony tends to absorb liquid quite fast since it’s porous.

For this reason, you need to avoid soaking or cleaning black onyx stones with water. However, you can carbonize the sugar crystals using sulfuric acid as the crystals get absorbed in the porous rock causing it to turn black. However, this treatment is not reversible. You can also subject onyx stones to heat treatment if you’re looking to change their color to dark black.

Cleaning Black Onyx Stones

How to take care of the stone is equally important when shopping for gemstones since they’re natural minerals. All minerals are different which means they have different levels of resistance to ultrasonic cleaners and cleaning chemicals.

Similarly, you can’t submerge other crystals in water while some hold up pretty well. When it comes to black onyx stones, use a damp piece of cloth to clean them. In this case, dip a soft piece of cloth in a solution of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water and gently rub away any dirt on the surface.


Microfiber also comes highly recommended when cleaning black onyx stones. Rinse off the soap on the gemstone and use a soft piece of cloth to dry it.

Final Thoughts – Black Onyx – Meaning, Value and Beneficial Properties

Black onyx stones are one of the best gemstones on the market since they’re ideal for different types of jewelry pieces. What’s more, they have a pretty decent scratch resistance level to household dust and dirt particles in the air. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that onyx stones cannot be scratched.

On the contrary, all the minerals with a hardness level higher than 7 on Mohs scale can scratch onyx stones.

Onyx stone jewelry pieces make perfect accessories ranging from black onyx bracelets, earrings to rings. Microcrystalline quartz, on the other hand, has great resistance to shattering, chipping and breaking regardless of the gemstone cut.

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