Striped Onyx

Meaning and Properties


The name onyx was used by the Romans for a variety of stones including alabaster and chalcedony. The name chalcedony comes from an ancient town on the Bosphorus. Striped onyx, a form of chalcedony, was used for cameos in ancient times and was thought to cure depression. Chalcedony was used in Renaissance magic for health and safety. Striped onyx is suggestive of foods that comfort us: mashed potatoes, peppermint tea, ice cream or rich, smooth chocolate.

Metaphysical Properties

Striped onyx (chalcedony) is believed to promote goodwill and brotherhood. The stone absorbs negative energy and then diffuses it. It is thought to bring mind, body, spirit and emotions into harmony while engendering benevolent feelings and removing hostility.

Geological Properties

Onyx, as a form of chalcedony, is a microcrystalline quartz formed in the gas cavities of lava. Its multi-layered structure is similar to that of agates. When the stone has a black base and a white upper layer, it's called onyx. When the base is brown, it is called sardonyx while carnelian-onyx has a red base.

Today it is found primarily in Brazil, India and the Malagasy Republic.

Mineral Information Microcrystalline quartz, chalcedony group
Chemical Composition SiO2
Color Light green, cream, tan with brown banding
Hardness 6-1/2 to 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.58 - 2.64
Refractive Index 1.530 - 1.539

Proper Care of Striped Onyx

Striped onyx is a relatively soft stone and is fairly porous, so it should not be cleaned with harsh chemicals (they can seep in and alter the color of the stone), steamers or ultrasonic cleaners. Even mild detergents are not recommended. The best method for cleaning striped onyx is a soft, dry cloth or brush. The cloth can be moistened with water when necessary. If you do wet the stone, be sure to dry it before storing or wearing.

Put on your onyx jewelry after you've applied makeup, hair products and perfumes so the chemicals do not end up soaking into the gemstone. Store onyx jewelry in a soft cotton or velvet cloth so the stone does not end up scratched by harder stones and metal settings.

To learn more about striped onyx and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Striped Onyx

Combine the richness of cream and a whisper of green, then swirl golden tan and brown tones all through it--you'll have the delectable look of striped onyx. It is used widely in beaded jewelry because it blends so beautifully with green and brown beads, softening them at the same time it "echoes" their color. Wear striped onyx with one of this year's new camel suits or jackets. You'll have a "stranger stopper" so subtle, people who turn to look at you may not even realize it's the combination that makes you look so fascinating.

View more resources featuring striped onyx, including Design Ideas, Videos, Tutorials and more!

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